Lebanon Daily News Brief 04/18/2022

Monday, April 18, 2022


President Aoun, Maronite Patriarch Al-Rahi Speak on Elections
On Easter Sunday, the Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi remarked that, “the Lebanese do not want a substitute or partner in the state. They are waiting for the moment when control of the country will be lifted and hegemony will be surrounded. They expect that the politicization and blocking of the judiciary and administration will end…and that the national interest will take precedence over personal and electoral benefits.” Participating in Easter Sunday celebrations in Bkerki as well, President Michel Aoun assured, “The elections will happen, and all preparations are ready.” [L’Orient Today]

Amal Movement Supporters Said to Have Disrupted Oppositionist Conference in Sarafand
The supporters of the Amal Movement were reported to have blocked a road leading to a location in Sarafand where a rally to announce the program of the “Together For Change” electoral list would have been held. Together for Change is promoting a list of opposition candidates running in the South III district. [Naharnet]



What’s In It For Lebanon – The IMF Staff Level Agreement
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader 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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Foreign Affairs
The Ponzi Scheme That Broke Lebanon
Sam Heller

Heller writes, “Lebanon’s predicament poses a unique challenge for the Biden administration, which hopes to prevent the total collapse of the country and has declared fighting corruption a national security priority. In line with President Joe Biden’s global anticorruption agenda, U.S. officials have pushed Lebanese leaders to rein in corruption and make the reforms that would enable an international bailout. But few in Lebanon take the United States at its word, since Washington has long tolerated corruption among its partners in Lebanon and weaponized anticorruption measures against its enemies. Even now, American messaging on corruption and reform suffers from a conspicuous—and deadly—omission: U.S. officials have remained largely silent on the grandly corrupt scheme that precipitated Lebanon’s national bankruptcy, and in which key U.S. partners are implicated. When it comes to corruption in Lebanon, the United States has a credibility problem—one that the Biden administration will need to remedy if it wants to be a useful partner in reform. The administration’s approach to Lebanon, where fighting corruption and preventing state collapse necessarily go hand in hand, is a vital test of its commitment to combating corruption globally.”

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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.