Mountain to Mortar:
Lebanon’s Concrete Conflicts of Interests

March 12, 2021

Beirut’s skyline is in perpetual flux. Constant destruction and reconstruction define the capital’s recent history: ruination in the civil war (1975-1990), reconstruction in the 1990s, expansion during the housing bubble (2005-2010), and destruction in the port explosion of 2020. The persistent demand for cement and other building materials, combined with a class of avaricious politico-business elites, has turned the construction industry into a corrupted melting pot for politics and commerce.

Politicians and their close circles placed themselves at the forefront of this unruly expansion; data obtained by Triangle proves that politicians or politically exposed people (PEPs) have owned at least one quarter of quarries since 1990. Almost all of these quarries exist in zones deemed illegal for quarrying. It is hardly surprising that the same group of politician-businessmen have failed to impose any proper regulation on the quarrying and crushing sector ever since.

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