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More than a hundred dead, thousands injured and hundreds of thousands rendered homeless: The human toll of the massive explosions in Beirut last Tuesday demands an immediate response from the rest of the world. It is no exaggeration to say that many will die, or be permanently maimed, if succor doesn’t come quickly.

But the tragedy also puts the world’s leaders and lenders on the horns of a familiar dilemma: How to help a stricken people without empowering their shady — and sinister — rulers?

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