Lebanon Daily News Brief 04/19/2022

Tuesday, April 19, 2022


US Ambassador Delivers Remarks on 39th Anniversary of Embassy Attack
US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea delivered remarks on the 39th Anniversary of the April 18th, 1983 suicide bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut that claimed the lives of 52 people. She said, “We are pushing back against the negative influences of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, which continues to seek to drive a wedge between us. But we are not daunted . . . For this reason, today we stand united – as we have for every year since 1983 – honoring those who lost their lives, both Americans and Lebanese, and in renewing our commitment to peace and security in Lebanon.” [Al Arabiya English]

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Massive Industrial Fire in Mount Lebanon’s Zaaitriye Kills Three, Injures Two
According to Naharnet via the National News Agency, “Three people were killed and two others injured in a huge blaze Tuesday at a tubs factory in the Fanar neighborhood of Zaaitriye . . . Red Cross and Civil Defense crews are still inspecting the site in search of possible victims.” [Naharnet]

Pharmacist’s Syndicate Calls For Closures Following Murder of Pharmacist Leila Rizk
According to L’Orient Today, “Pharmacists’ syndicate head Joe Salloum called on all pharmacies to close on Tuesday in mourning for the pharmacist Leila Rizk, who was found killed inside of her pharmacy on Monday, the state-run National News Agency reported . . . Salloum asked the Interior Minister to ‘intensify efforts to achieve justice and expose the perpetrators and bring them to trial so that they receive fair retribution as soon as possible, in order to ensure that the pharmaceutical sector continues to carry out its duty towards, and does not have to completely stop working to preserve their security and lives’.” [L’Orient Today]



What’s In It For Lebanon – The IMF Staff Level Agreement
Jean AbiNaderAbiNader writes, “For many in Lebanon, the announcement of the staff-level agreement with the IMF on April 7, prompted rather short-lived sighs of relief. That may be because certain actions are still required before any money flows at this level of agreement, and because the many challenges to its implementation have become clearer only days after the announcement on April 7. Sisyphus had it easy, one could say, in comparison to the anticipated obstructions that the agreement faces including the May 15th elections, as there are limits to what can get accomplished in the few weeks and three holidays between now and the opening of the polls. In particular, the formation of a new Council of Ministers within five months, the election of a president by the new government, and an agreement on a parliamentary agenda must all take place before any reforms can seriously happen.”

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Arab Center Washington, DC
Hezbollah Mirrors a Weak State and a Turbulent Region
Nabeel KhouryKhoury writes, “Put simply, Hezbollah is so engrained inside the Lebanese polity that shaking it loose would involve shaking up the entire country and turning one institution against another and one large segment of the population against the rest. The Lebanese army, the security/intelligence network, and all political and administrative institutions have Hezbollah loyalists. In parliament, the party, allied as it is with AMAL and President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, currently enjoys a majority that may very well endure after the upcoming parliamentary elections on May 15. The state of Lebanon never fully recovered from fifteen years of bloody civil war, but it has been especially suffering from paralysis over the past decade. Trump era sanctions on Hezbollah affected Lebanon as a whole and partly contributed to the collapse of the country’s banking system in 2019. However, it must be said that Lebanon’s corrupt elites bear the most responsibility for the current economic collapse, but sanctions by the United States and boycotts by some Gulf countries led by Saudi Arabia have cut off critical funds and derailed Lebanese exports. The recent return of Gulf ambassadors to Beirut—seen by the Lebanese government as a positive signal—may be due to a realization that the total collapse of Lebanon is in no one’s interest.”

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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.