Lebanon Daily News Brief 02/25/2022

Friday, February 25, 2022


Lebanon Condemns Russian Invasion of Ukraine
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Emigrants, “Lebanon condemns the invasion of Ukrainian territory and calls on Russia to halt its military operation immediately and withdraw its forces… and return to dialogue and negotiations as a better means of finding a solution.” [Al Arabiya News]

Interior Minister To Submit Study On Megacentres To Cabinet Tomorrow
Yesterday, Minister of Interior and Municipalities Bassam Mawlawi announced that he will submit a study to the cabinet on the implementation of ‘megacenter’ polling centers regarding the upcoming May 15th parliamentary elections. President Michel Aoun’s twitter indicated that the two officials discussed, “the final preparations to organize the parliamentary elections with precision, fluidity and transparency, so that all Lebanese can go to the polling stations in the country and abroad.” [L’Orient Today]

Ministry of Transport: Spanish Funds For Railway Revival Plan
Public Works and Transport Minister Ali Hamie announced his anticipation of a deal that Lebanon will sign with the Spanish government regarding a comprehensive master plan for the revival of Lebanon’s 407 kilometer, 252 mile railway system, which has been out of commission for several decades. [France 24]




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.”

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L’Orient Today
The Beirut Port Silos: A Memory The State Wants To Tear Down Despite Myriad Preservation Proposals
Rana Tabbara

Tabbara writes, “Last month, Economy Minister Amin Salam announced in a press conference that the government intends to tear down the silos and construct new ones in a different area. Salam said that the economy and environment ministries have been collaborating on this file since as soon as it was found that the ‘silos need immediate action in terms of cleaning them to reach the stages of demolition and reconstruction’. . . The Beirut Urban Declaration initiative started a petition two weeks ago calling on the government not to proceed with a plan to demolish the Beirut port silos. The petition states that ‘the fate of the silos lies within the public interest,’ adding ‘we demand that it be considered a vital space and a public right of the city.’ Adding their voices to those opposing the silos’ destruction, relatives of the blast victims gathered Sunday afternoon in front of the port to protest the state’s proposed demolition.”

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Al Arabiya News
Colombia Is Tackling The Threat Of Hezbollah In South America
Alissa Pavia and Joze Pelayo

Pavia and Pelayo write, “Hezbollah has always posed as a terrorist threat in the region. The attacks on the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires in 1992 and the 1994 AMIA bombing indicate the group’s work. Together, they left 114 people dead and hundreds more wounded. Despite evidence suggesting Hezbollah’s involvement, no one has been held accountable . . . Hezbollah’s overseas operations have often reflected domestic politicking in Lebanon and targeted Israel. Since the Beirut Port explosion, Hezbollah has been aware that it has entered a new chapter in Lebanon, where living conditions are poor. Hezbollah’s hands could be tied, but the Iranian-backed group could decide to escalate through violence both in and outside the Middle East should, among other things, the JCPOA talks fail to produce an agreement. As of February 2022, a nuclear deal is getting closer.”

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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.