Lebanon Daily News Brief 05/02/2022

Monday, May 2, 2022


Clashes in Akkar During Visit of FPM Leader Gebran Bassil
According to L’Orient Today, “Tensions ran high on Friday and Saturday in the Akkar town of Rahbeh as opposition rose to a tour of the region by the head of the Free Patriotic Movement, Gebran Bassil. Injuries were recorded for both protesters and security forces present at the crossroads leading to Rahbeh, as well as a local FPM official, as Bassil arrived in the area Saturday, while party posters were burned the day before.” [L’Orient Today]

IDF Arrests Two in Connection with Alleged Migrant Smuggling Attempt
Yesterday Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces announced the arrest of two suspects in connection with a thwarted attempted smuggling of migrants to Cyprus via boat. [L’Orient Today]



A Love Story – Lebanon’s Revival
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “The facilities for the elderly occupy a large portion of the activities at Saint Joseph Monastery, with its state-of-the-art nursing home for up to 100 residents, fully serviced by the nuns at a cost significantly less  than other private facilities. The economic situation, the financial instability in the country, the devaluation of the Lebanese currency, the scarcity of job opportunities, and the massive proportion of people living below the poverty line all generate a daily line of folks seeking help and sustenance at the Monastery’s door. Saint Joseph Monastery, however, is also not immune to the economic crisis and yet, still strives to offer in-kind assistance with basic food, clothing, dairy products for children; tuition assistance to deserved and needy students; and financial assistance for medications, especially for chronic illnesses. Sister Raghida and her team continue to extend a helping hand to their less fortunate. One of her objectives is to continue to create job opportunities in the Monastery’s dairy farm and agricultural fields so people can become self-sufficient and partners in the charitable work of the Monastery,  reflecting the Gospel admonition that “whatsoever you do to the least of your brothers and sisters, you do unto me” (Matthew 25:40), as well as the quote that stuck with me from Sister Raghida, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

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The Lebanese Diaspora And The Upcoming Elections: Lessons From The 2018 Voting
Georgia Dagher

Dagher writes, “The 2022 parliamentary elections will be the first electoral test at the national level since the October 2019 mass protests and the August 4, 2020 Beirut blast. The recent and ongoing wave of emigration triggered by the economic crisis has increased the number of eligible Lebanese voters abroad, who have been the target of several mobilization campaigns by diaspora groups. As many Lebanese were pushed to leave their country by a political class that has driven the country into its most severe crisis, a sense of hope about the diaspora helping vote the established sectarian parties out has emerged. This hope is premised in part on a widespread assumption that the Lebanese diaspora is able to vote freely, given that they do not benefit from clientelist services, are not the target of vote buying, and do not suffer from intimidation and pressure to vote in a certain way. However, questions abound whether the diaspora’s political leanings are fundamentally different from that of the population in Lebanon. After all, a large part of the diaspora are emigrants who left during the Lebanese civil war, and many may still support the old sectarian political parties. Other emigrants are individuals who have left their families behind in search for better opportunities, and their families, who are still in the country, may not fall outside clientelist networks.” 

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Lebanon’s Make Or Break Election
Neville Teller

Teller writes, “The World Bank has described Lebanon’s financial and economic crisis as among the worst in the world in 150 years. The IMF requires, among other measures, that the Lebanese government approve a restructuring of the banking system that takes account of the large losses in the sector, while protecting small depositors and limiting their recourse to public resources.  Lebanon’s political and financial elite have been at odds over such a plan for two years, particularly on how to distribute some $70 billion of losses between banks, the state, and depositors.  Lebanon’s banking sector maintains that the government and central bank should bear the lion’s share of losses.  Goldman Sachs has said the most challenging reform would be the restructuring of the local banks, ‘The distribution of losses between the government, bank shareholders and depositors is…unlikely to be resolved easily.’  All the same resolved it will have to be after the election, if Lebanon is to be assisted by the IMF to regain a degree of financial stability.” 

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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.