Lebanon Daily News Brief 05/05/21

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

May 5, 2021

Daily News

Port Blast Investigator Requests Satellite Images
The lead investigator of the August 4th Port of Beirut blast last year has requested images of what happened that day from countries with satellites stationed over Lebanon. Judge Tarek Bitar says they will look to see if the port had been targeted in anyway. The investigation has been carrying on for nine months without any incite into what caused the initial fire that led to the blast. Bitar had taken over in February after his predecessor was accused of negligence. [Associated Press]

President Aoun’s Response to Yesterday’s Maritime Talks 
Lebanon-Israel maritime border talks resumed yesterday, but after the US mediation team requested negotiations begin on the basis of border lines that were already registered with the United Nations, President Aoun took issue with this starting point. In a statement his office said that the talks should “not be tied to any preconditions and should rely on international law.” [Reuters]

Unclear Future for Hariri Ahead of Le Drian’s Visit
Future Movement officials said yesterday that Prime Minister-designate Hariri would consider stepping down if Cabinet selections “opposed to his convictions” are forced on his government formation. These statements come ahead of French Foreign Minister Le Drian’s visit, who is arriving in Beirut today. The foreign minister will be meeting with both President Aoun and Parliament Speaker Berri, but it has not been released if he will be meeting with PM-designate Hariri. [The Daily Star]

Opinion & Analysis

The Atlantic
‘We Want a Nation’
Kim Ghattas

Ghattas writes, “Ten years on, it’s easy to view the Arab uprisings only as a failure. Democracy remains elusive in the Middle East, dictators are further entrenched, and wars have devastated entire countries. But amid the despair and fear, a new cohort of protesters and activists has taken to the streets since 2019…In Lebanon, at least a dozen new opposition groups that emerged from years of protests are actively preparing for legislative elections due next year. Although they are still struggling to present a unified front against an entrenched, corrupt political establishment made up in part of former warlords and Hezbollah, their effervescence is promising and includes the first ever effort at a kind of political action committee in the Middle East, Towards One Nation, which hopes to help bring opposition groups together, back candidates, and mobilize voters, all while fundraising in Lebanon and across the diaspora to support the campaigns.”

Read more here

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.