Lebanon Daily News Brief 03/09/2022

Wednesday, March 9, 2022


Megacenters to Be Discussed Tomorrow
After March 4’s cabinet session, acting Information Minister Abbas Halabi said, “Cabinet decided to form a committee comprised of the ministers of justice, culture, interior, finance, tourism, communications and education to draft a vision for the megacenter.” This comes amid an ongoing back and forth among various political leaders involving the Free Patriotic Movement’s support for implementing megacenters in addition to the criticism that this support is a ploy to delay the elections, itself. [L’Orient Today]

 Hezbollah Secretary General Denounces Lebanon’s Condemnation of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, Blames US
In a televised speech, Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah commented scathingly on the Lebanese government’s stance regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, claiming that the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s statement was “written at the American embassy.” [Naharnet] L’Orient Today reported that “referring to the ‘neutral position’ of Lebanese foreign policy, which Hezbollah’s rivals in politics call for, Nasrallah said ‘where was it when Lebanon was voting on the UN resolution.’ He added that Lebanon ‘should not take this position [of neutrality], but should deal with foreign policy matters case by case’.” [L’Orient Today] Hezbollah is openly tied to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and has been a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States since 1997.

LBP Black Market Value Drops
After a number of commercial Lebanese banks stopped selling US dollars at the central bank’s Sayrafa rate, the Lebanese Lira to US Dollar black market exchange rate decreased to 24,000 LL to 1 USD. L’Orient Today reports, “Banque du Liban issued a statement saying that the central bank is still selling US dollars in unlimited quantities to the banks. BDL reiterated that it will continue to provide dollars “without a ceiling” through its currency exchange platform, Sayrafa.” [L’Orient Today]



Lebanon In The Middle Of The Russia And Ukraine Conflict
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “As Amin Salam, the Minister of Economy and Trade indicated, ‘The war in Ukraine has forced the Lebanese state to consider stepping in for the first time in three decades to buy millions of dollars a month of wheat as they seek alternatives to Ukrainian and Russian markets given the ongoing crisis. There is no capacity at the central bank to pay higher prices. It’s now subsidizing wheat at a cost of $390 or $400 a ton, but if international prices increase to $500 a ton then the central bank’s costs increase because it subsidizes wheat 100%.’ This means that at current prices, Lebanon’s central bank is spending around $20 million a month. Customs figures show that in 2020, Lebanon imported 81 per cent of its wheat from Ukraine and 15 per cent from Russia. Salam said that he hoped that the US and others would provide up to $20 million to help Lebanon stockpile its wheat reserves. He said he hoped to reduce the price of bread if a foreign country stepped in to support Lebanon’s food security. ‘We want prices to go down or remain stable. If they go up, it’ll be a disaster.”

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Women In Lebanon Have Still A Long Way To Go For Their Rights
Yasmin Tariq

Tariq writes, “Women in Lebanon have proven their strength and value all through history by fighting for their rights and their country and making Lebanon a better place to live and endure. They had to endure wars, revolutions, blasts, and destructions while working in rebuilding towards a peacebuilding society and lifting those in need across countless humanitarian causes. They were actively present in the aftermath of the Beirut Blast and have been actively demanding reforms since the recent revolution, a Thawra that wore their female gender as widely acclaimed.” [The961]

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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.