Lebanon Daily News Brief 06/23/2022

Thursday, June 23, 2022



June 23rd, 2022


Najib Mikati Named Prime Minister Designate
After consultations between Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun and several Members of Parliament, Najib Mikati was named Prime Minister Designate by the President after serving the country as Caretaker Prime Minister for the last few weeks. This will be the third time in Lebanon’s history in which he will have been called upon to form a new government as Prime Minister. In public remarks, he said, “We have wasted enough time and lost many chances of support from brotherly and friendly countries whose stance has always been clear: ‘help yourselves so we can help you’.” [Reuters]

Deputy Speaker of Parliament on Maritime Boundary: Hochstein Has Communicated Lebanese Position to Israel
According to Deputy Speaker of Parliament Elias Bou Saab, US Senior Advisor for Energy Security Amos Hochstein has relayed Lebanon’s official proposal regarding the demarcation of its Southern maritime border with the Israeli government. Bou Saab indicated that a response is expected to return back to Lebanon via the US mediator next week. [Naharnet]

Fury, Three Arrests in Reaction to Video Depicting Violent Abuse Against Lebanese and Syrian Workers
According to Al Arabiya English, “videos showing a group of Lebanese and Syrian workers being assaulted and tortured by their employer in the Lebanese town of Majdel al-Aqoura sparked fury on Wednesday, according to local media reports . . .Videos of the incident stirred an uproar on social media with people demanding security forces launch an investigation and hold the perpetrators accountable.” [Al Arabiya English] Three of the five alleged assaulters were arrested. [L’Orient Today

Water Shortages Around Beirut, Mount Lebanon
According to L’Orient Today, “Water supplies in several areas of Beirut and Mount Lebanon have been interrupted due to ‘power shortages, major malfunctions and cable thefts,’ the Beirut and Mount Lebanon Water Establishment announced in a statement Thursday.” [L’Orient Today]


Lebanon’s Dilemma – Syrian Refugees Are Not Going Away
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “Despite misinformation claiming that Syrian refugees in Lebanon are better off than their Lebanese counterparts, in fact their deprivations exceed that of the Lebanese.  They share the same misery in inflated food costs which have now exceeded more than 400%, ‘while [the costs] of diesel for electricity and petrol for automobiles has skyrocketed. Bread and vegetable oil – two key staples in Levantine cuisine – have especially become more expensive because of both the country’s spiraling economic crisis and the war in Ukraine.’ While more than 75% of the Lebanese live below the poverty line, 90% of the refugees live in extreme poverty, according to the United Nations. As of April, the UN’s refugee agency in Lebanon has only been able to secure 13% of its $534m budget for the year. Yet, since 2015, over $9 billion in assistance has come from all over the world and international donors. Currently, the UN works with 15 international, 9 national, and 3 UN agencies on the ground. The latest surveys indicate that 97% are food insecure with many not buying enough food due to a drop in aid. The refugees are reporting that 72% are in debt and 57% have lost their income entirely, exceeding the high levels punishing Lebanese families. The story for the poor Lebanese and the Syrian refugees is similar. Whether it is comparing food insecurity, the lack of available health care and education, or human and civil rights abuses, both populations are suffering. Although the Lebanese have their homes, families, communities, and citizenship – which affords them some quality of life and access to support – they are all being deprived of their dignity and their hope.”

Read More Here

Center for Strategic and International Studies
The Politics of Lebanon’s Gas Deal With Egypt And Syria

Will Todman
Todman writes, “Even if this deal is fully implemented, most Lebanese homes will still endure 18 hours per day without government-supplied power. Also, the deal is a short-term fix that does little to address the corruption and dysfunction of Lebanon’s electricity sector. It will add to Lebanon’s debts, and it could actually ease pressures on the state to reform electricity supply. Still, many will welcome the additional electricity, especially during the hot summer months, and the gas burns cleaner than the diesel, which Lebanon’s power stations and generators otherwise rely on . . . The agreement is a win for the Assad government. The deal represents the first major move toward Syria’s economic integration with the region since Arab Spring protests shook Syria in March 2011, halting previous integration efforts. Although Syria will not receive direct payment, it will receive a portion of the gas, which will help the country tackle its own energy problems. Damascus will also gain the ability to shut off Lebanon’s gas supply, enhancing leverage over Beirut. Syria’s inclusion in the deal also confers legitimacy on Bashar al-Assad and represents a step towards Syria’s international rehabilitation.”

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.