This is not exactly about food, farming and rural society, but I had to link to it: how the gasoline cartel operates in Lebanon, part 1 of 2. Absolutely fascinating. Please read it to see how warlords and merchants of Lebanon are linked.
Listen to this:
"The net income of the gasoline trade in Lebanon is close to $250 millions. It is politically distributed, among a small lobby second in power only to the banking sector lobby.
The handful of importers also own 80% of the retail trade, which allows them to multiply their benefits and control the whole supply chain."