Lebanon Daily News Brief 1/20/2022

Thursday, January 20, 2022


Judicial Delegation to Visit Paris on Probe of BDL Governor
Next week a Lebanese judicial delegation will go to Paris to discuss ongoing investigations of Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh, on suspicions of fraud, money laundering, illicit enrichment, and other allegations. Foreign countries like France and Switzerland are sites of external judicial investigations targeting Salameh. The date of the visit has not been specified. [L’Orient Today]


Minister of Health: Healthcare System on Brink of Collapse
Lebanon’s Minister of Health Firass Abiad said, “If this crisis goes on for long without solutions we will of course come closer to a great collapse.” He added, “there is no doubt Lebanon is a sick country now but the main question is whether it’s a terminal disease or a disease that can be cured . . . to recover, as we tell patients, there is a treatment plan they must adhere to.” [Reuters]


Snowstorm ‘Hiba’ Hard on Impoverished Lebanese and Refugees
According to AP News, “A snowstorm in the Middle East has left many Lebanese and Syrians scrambling to find ways to survive, burning old clothes, plastic and in some cases even sheep manure to keep warm as temperatures plummet and poverty soars. [AP News]


FPM Deputy Upholds Strength of Hezbollah Alliance
In an MTV interview, the Deputy Head of the Free Patriotic Movement May Khreish said, “The alliance with Hezbollah is too deep to be dissolved with every difference, and we expressed our dissatisfaction with some issues.” [MTV]


Jailed Depositor Threatened Hostages at Bank
Protesters staged a sit-in outside the Palace of Justice in support of Abdallah al-Sahi who turned himself in to be arrested after taking hostages inside a Bekaa branch of the Bank of Beirut and the Arab Countries, demanding to withdraw the $50,000 he had in his account. In a statement, the association of banks condemned, “all forms of violence [and] . . . the repeated attacks that have recently targeted a number of branches, endangering employees’ lives.” [Naharnet]



Lebanon Continues To Be Plagued By Conspiracies
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “Opposition figures were quick to challenge Amal and Hezbollah’s sudden awakening to their national responsibilities. The original cause of the boycott was their opposition to the investigation over the Beirut Port explosion, which has yet to be completed. The trade-off that seems to be swirling around their latest move prioritized the re-emergence in the cabinet over their campaign of postponing the investigation . . . the elections are the opportunity to change the face of Lebanese politics by reducing the number of MPs in the Amal-Hezbollah alliance. This outcome would give the opposition the necessary votes to reduce corruption, limit the impact of the Amal-Hezbollah alliance on government policies, and secure a reform agenda to redirect Lebanon’s resources and policies toward reconstruction and stability, and away from sectarianism and corruption.” 
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The National Interest 
Are Hezbollah’s Lebanese Allies Turning Against It?
Adnan Nasser

Nasser writes, “Many in Lebanon see Bassil as a man who aspires for the presidency after his father-in-law, Michel Aoun. Further, if Hezbollah loses the largest Christian political party in Lebanon, it will no longer have the cross-sectarian alliance that has legitimized its independent weapons arsenal. Additionally, some citizens support transferring Hezbollah arms to the Lebanese army. Nevertheless, if permanent change manifests between Hezbollah and the FPM, it will be the public revelation of where they do not align politically. Still, if the unthinkable happens and the pact ends, it carries the risk of a breakdown in social cohesion among the Lebanese. At that point, coexistence between different faiths cannot depend on politician dealmaking. Instead, it will require the Lebanese people’s wisdom to live in peace with one another.”
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.