Former Lebanese Minister Wiam Wahhab advocated for foreign stewardship over Lebanese institutions such as airports, water works, the electrical grid and garbage collection. He made his remarks in an interview that aired on Sawt Beirut International (Lebanon) on August 2, 2021. Wahhab said that the Lebanese people are incapable of doing so, because: "We are crooks" and "Whatever (aid) they send us, we steal." He further said that the opposition of top Lebanese leaders is not because they care about national honor or sovereignty, but because they are "under the foot" of a foreign ambassador. Wahhab added that it does not matter if Iran assumes the position of steward if it can do so. He continued to say that Lebanon is run like a small-time farm, but in a farm the chickens are fed, unlike the Lebanese people, who have no food. Wahhab referred to a tweet he posted suggesting that the four military-trained dogs France sent to Lebanon should have been swapped for four or five of Lebanon's "dogs." He furthers said that calling the Lebanese leaders "dogs" would be insulting for dogs.
Wiam Wahhab: "I support [foreign] stewardship."
Interviewer: "What stewardship?"
Wahhab: "French, whatever... European. I'm in favor of the French taking over some institutions..."
Interviewer: "So you support [foreign] stewardship now?"
Wahhab: I support [foreign] stewardship over the airport, the seaport, the bridges, the electricity, the water, and the garbage removal. Where's the problem? We are incapable of doing this. We are crooks. We won't do it. Whatever [aid] they send us, we steal. What else do you want? I am in favor of the Europeans having direct supervision over those things. I am in favor of the French coming and taking over the airport, in favor of Siemens coming and taking over our electrical grid... Why not?"
Interviewer: "What about Iran? Do you want to exclude Iran?"
Wahhab: "If Iran can do this, why not? Where's the problem? Why not? I don't understand you people. Why not? Because citizens oppose the idea of stewardship. If a French management team takes over the seaport and pays us taxes, if Siemens comes and takes over our electrical grid, and pays Lebanon taxes... What is this lie? Do you really believe this is about national sovereignty? The top [Lebanese] traders are under the boot of [a foreign] ambassador."
Interviewer: "But if we become economically-dependence, wouldn't it lead to political dependency as well?"
Wahhab: "Yes, it will influence Lebanon's position on the American-Chinese conflict, as well as Lebanon's position on the transatlantic relations, and its position on Russian-American relations... You call this a country? It is run like a small-time farm. We live in a farm, not in a country. Do you believe this is a real country? You live in a small-time farm, man.
"Even in a farm, the chicken are well-fed. People here have no food."
Interviewer: "[You tweeted:] 'We thank France for sending Lebanon a gift of four [military-trained] dogs, but we don't wand gifts. We want it to be a swap deal, so we could send France four of our dogs. This will resolve most of our crisis'."
Wahhab: "Well, if we send them five, we'll be fine."
Interviewer: "The dogs are our leaders? "
Wahhab: "Some of them are. Absolutely."
Interviewer: "So the dogs are our leaders?"
Wahhab: "No. why are you humiliating the dogs? A dog is an honorable creature, why insult it?"