Lebanon Daily News Brief 03/16/2022

Wednesday, March 16, 2022


UN Secretary-General Stresses Impact of Russian-Ukrainian War on Globe, Lebanon
During a recent brief the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated that Russia and Ukraine supply more than half of the world with sunflower oil and “about 30 percent of the world’s wheat”, adding that  45 African and developed countries import 1/3 of their wheat from both countries. Egypt, Congo, Burkina Faso, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, and Lebanon all import 50% of their wheat supply from Ukraine or Russia. According to The 961, “Lebanon is now negotiating with India and Turkey, as well as with the U.S. to find sources for wheat to prevent a food crisis in its country that has.” [The961]

Cabinet Approves Electricity Reform Plan
The Cabinet approved a plan to reform and restructure the country’s electricity sector, a prerequisite decision for international financing of regional energy deals aiming to increase the country’s power supply. According to Reuters, “Al Jadeed TV reported that the Cabinet had endorsed the plan with amendments from a previous version, including the creation of an electricity regulatory authority in 2022 rather than in 2023, another step demanded by donors.” [Reuters

Joint Statement Released on 11 Year Anniversary of Syrian Uprising 
In a statement released by France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America marking the occasion of the 11-year anniversary of the Syrian uprising, the joint actors said, “The coincidence of this year’s anniversary with the appalling Russian aggression against Ukraine, which constitutes a breach of exceptional gravity to international law and the UN Charter, highlights Russia’s brutal and destructive behavior in both conflicts.  After more than a decade of conflict, the Syrian economic and humanitarian situation is bleak and millions of Syrian refugees hosted generously by Syria’s neighbors, as well as those internally displaced, cannot yet return home in line with UN standards, and without fear of violence, arbitrary arrest, and torture.” [US Department of State]

L’Orient Today Publishes Full List of Candidates
According to L’Orient Today, “The deadline for candidates to register for the May 15 polls closed at midnight last night, with 1,043 having filed, according to the Interior Ministry, representing 77 more candidates than in 2018. Of those who filed, 155 were women, making up about 15 percent of the total, slightly higher than in 2018 when women candidates made up 11 percent of the total registered.” [L’Orient Today]

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Can The Lebanese Feed Themselves? Ask USAID.

Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “According to the US Agency for International Development (USAID), “Lebanon has the highest proportion of cultivable land, per capita, in the Arab world. Approximately 60% of citizens outside greater Beirut rely on agriculture—directly or indirectly—and related industries for some form of household income; yet, the Lebanese agribusiness sector is underutilized. Food insecurity is also a problem.” With poverty now afflicting more than 70% of the population, initiatives to restart the agricultural sector are increasingly being funded by international donors. USAID alone has several types of programs focused on improving agricultural production, marketing, and export . . . The agricultural community is cooperative but there are many steps involved in the export of agricultural products, from strengthening “food safety by upgrading food testing laboratories to comply with export market food standards, to making agribusiness more efficient and demand driven,” hopefully both increasing income generation and attracting new entrants into the sector.”

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Arab News
Lebanon’s Last Chance As Ukraine Fallout Looms

Bahaa Hariri 

Hariri writes, “My father, Rafik Hariri, was a passionate advocate for Lebanon and the Lebanese people. He rose to prominence in the aftermath of the civil war with the sole agenda to rebuild Lebanon and put our nation on the path to prosperity. He fought for a Lebanon free from the sectarian constraints that led to the civil war and wanted to build a country that worked for everyone, not just the elites. In the end, he paid the ultimate price, yet his vision for a better, more prosperous Lebanon shines a light on a potential path to prosperity and a return to the kind of Lebanon my father died trying to build. To honor his legacy, I have been an early supporter of Sawa Li Lubnan, a new political party that is fighting to end the sectarian stranglehold on Lebanese politics and is willing to implement the much-needed reforms to our judiciary, politics and economy. I hope my fellow countrymen and women see in Sawa a chance at a fresh start.”  

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Newslines Institute for Strategy and Policy
Syrian Mercenaries to Ukraine? Why Not?

Frederic Hof

Hof writes, “One need not advocate Western military intervention in Ukraine or play fast and loose with potential nuclear war to see how gratuitous and increasingly promiscuous talk of a potential World War III by U.S. leaders can produce thoroughly unintended but totally destabilizing consequences. There is nothing wrong with thinking and concluding that U.S. boots on the ground in Ukraine or U.S. aircraft in the skies over Ukraine could escalate matters significantly between Washington and Moscow, and perhaps not even produce the desired results in Ukraine. But saying it – publicly and repeatedly – can, given the nature of Hitler’s successor as the threat to global peace, be dangerous.” 

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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.