Lebanese Daily News Brief 7/26/2021

Monday, July 26, 2021


Former Prime Minister Mikati Named Prime Minister-Designate
Today former Prime Minister Najib Miqati was named Lebanon’s Prime Minister-designate after securing 72 votes in parliamentary consultations. Miqati stressed that he would follow the French initiative in the formation of a new government. He said that if he “didn’t have specific foreign reassurances” he would not have moved forward. [Naharnet]

Lebanon Asks for UNIFIL Mandate to Be Extended
Today during talks with the UN Undersecretary-General for Peace Operations, President Michel Aoun asked for the UNIFIL mandate to be extended. He asked that no modifications be made to UNIFIL’s number or its missions in southern Lebanon. [The Daily Star]

MPs Withdraw Support for Beirut Port Special Council Motion
After last week’s parliamentary motion to try officials surrounding the Beirut Port blast through a special judicial council, dozens of MPs have removed their names. The petition was signed by over 50 MPs initially but pressure from activists and the media has led led to MPs to back out. Only 23 names are left in support of the motion. The motion would have opened a parallel investigation to Judge Tarek Bitar’s and legal activists say it would keep certain officials from being held accountable. [The 961]

Tripoli Man Self-Immolates Amid Dire Conditions
A man in Tripoli set himself on fire in desperation to protest the deteriorating living conditions in Lebanon. The Islamic Medical Association rescued the man and took him to Al-Salam Hospital. Food prices have increased 50 percent from ten days ago and Lebanese are struggling to put food on the table. [The 961] Today caretaker Economy Minister Raoul Nehme asked importers to lower their commodity prices. [Naharnet]


Drowning in Corruption, Lebanon’s Water Supply Dribbles to a Halt
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “The availability of water for 1.7 million residents dropped in 2020 by 80% from 43.6 to 9 gallons of potable water a day. This has resulted in an increase of 35% in the price of private sector bulk water supplies, while the cost of bottled water has doubled. And where does the blame lay? There are no dollars to buy chlorine or spare parts for the municipal water systems – suppliers insist on being paid in real money, not Lebanese lira. Hard to blame them. Then there are the intermittent power supplies and blackouts interrupting the treatment, pumping, and distribution of water. That’s the government’s responsibility since it controls contracting and maintenance of the public water supply. And, about 40% of the safe water supply is wasted through faulty, corroded pipes and water being illegally diverted. Bad luck maybe, but more likely negligence on the part of the municipal and regional water authorities for ignoring or avoiding these issues for the past 20 years…Will 40 of Lebanon’s million/billionaires each please transfer $1 million to UNICEF, which is not a Lebanese entity, to enable UNICEF to carry out its commitment ‘to support, particularly as the global pandemic evolves, to ensure that the most basic right to clean water is met for children and families at this critical time for Lebanon?'”

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Middle East Institute
Mitigating the darkest hour: Lebanon’s struggle for power
Jessica Obeid

Obeid writes, “Lebanon is steadily plunging into total darkness. Decades of political bickering, weak governance, and vested interests have taken their toll on the power sector and are developing into economic and humanitarian crises. A long-term strategy focused on improving the sector’s governance is needed. In the short term, however, immediate actions such as distributed renewable energy and out-of-the-box financing mechanisms should be taken to avoid the darkest hour.”

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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.