Lebanon Daily News Brief 02/23/2022

Wednesday, February 23, 2022


Minister of Interior: Three Suicide Attacks Foiled 
Bassam Mawlawi, the Minister of Interior and Municipalities, announced that three separate attacks by members of the Islamic State group – which would have inflicted a large number of casualties in Beirut’s southern suburbs – were thwarted. Mawlawi specified that attackers were planning shootings and suicide attacks in the Ouzai and Lailaki areas, among other southern suburbs of Beirut and praised the Director General of the ISF Major General Imad Osman for operation. [AP News]

Annual Democracy Index Classifies Lebanon As ‘Authoritarian’ For First Time
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) updated Lebanon’s classification from a “hybrid regime” to an “authoritarian regime” in its 2021 Annual Democracy Index. According to L’Orient Today, “EIU’s analysis of Lebanon’s deteriorated score attributed the country’s 2021 score to the growth of “the power of interest groups related to Lebanon’s sectarian political system” amid a further deteriorating economy and “fuel shortages [that] worsened the cost of living crisis.” The report also indicated that the score factored in ‘the worsening perceptions of democracy and rising support for military rule’.” [L’Orient Today]

EU Observers To Monitor May Elections
The European Union will send observers to Lebanon in order to monitor the upcoming May 15 Parliamentary elections. The EU’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said, “The holding of elections is first and foremost a right and an expectation of the people of Lebanon, as well as a sovereign responsibility that the Lebanese government must follow through.” [Naharnet]



Lebanon, The IMF, And The Parliamentary Elections – What’s The Story?
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “The IMF identified five main areas of achievable, short- and medium-term measures that would provide a framework for future reforms. According to Byblos Bank, this includes ‘reforming state-owned enterprises starting with the energy sector and improve delivery services without additional public financing [subsidies]; enhancing transparency and accountability by strengthening the governance, anti-corruption, and the anti-money laundering, and combating financing of terrorism frameworks; reforming public finances to ensure debt sustainability and to provide space for social spending and reconstruction; restructure the financial sector to restore confidence and support the recovery; as well as establishing a credible monetary and exchange rate system.’ The IMF had other recommendations regarding the sequence of reforms suggesting that the government move immediately on energy sector and public procurement laws and take steps to build credibility with the Lebanese people as well as international donors. The approval of a proactive 2022 national budget will send a strong signal that the government intends to move in the right direction as the bottom line remains the same: it’s up to the Lebanese Parliament and political leadership to take the necessary first steps on the pathway of reform.” 

Read More Here


Al Monitor
Lebanese Seniors Get Second Chance At Education
Rabih Damaj

Damaj writes, “The University for Seniors at AUB is the first of its kind in Lebanon and the region. It has been a great success since it was founded in 2010 by Health Sciences PhD Abla Sibai and her colleague Cynthia Mintty. And even today, despite all the frustrating economic and social conditions in Lebanon, the elderly are still eager to learn. But after the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, most of the lessons are now remote. Studies have shown that remaining intellectually and physically active helps people age more healthily, program manager Maya Abi Chahine told Al-Monitor. Also, 11% of Lebanon’s population is over the age of 65, and the number is growing, and many elderly people in Lebanon live alone while their children and grandchildren live abroad.” 

Read More Here


The Heritage Foundation
2022 Index of Economic Freedom: Lebanon

“Lebanon’s economic freedom score is 47.3, making its economy the 162nd freest in the 2022 Index. Lebanon is ranked 12th among 14 countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, and its overall score is below the regional and world averages.”

Read More Here



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.