Lebanese Energy Deal: ‘Politics’ Behind Delays Several officials from various sides of a multilateral, overland energy deal between Egypt, Jordan, and Lebanon – brokered by the United States – alluded to some political roadblocks that are preventing the deal from moving forward. The Lebanese Minister of Energy Walid Fayad said that the World Bank is, “tying [the financing] to some kind of political diligence”, while the Egyptian Petroleum Minister Tarek El Molla said, “there is no delay but an important milestone that we need to get through is the American approval plus the financing from the World Bank.” [Reuters]
International Tender Announced for Construction of Beirut’s Second Airport Terminal According to AP News, “Minister of Public Works and Transport Ali Hamie told reporters at the airport that a tender for the $70 million project to build a second terminal at Beirut’s Rafik Hariri International Airport is being prepared. He said Terminal 2 will be for chartered and low-cost flights, as well those carrying Muslim pilgrims.” [AP News]
Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Assumes New Role, Relays Optimism In introductory remarks published today, newly confirmed Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Barbara Leaf, offered sentiments of optimism. She said, “We’re deeply optimistic about the opportunities that lay ahead of us … (but) at the same time, I’m clear-eyed about the challenges that await me, such as finding ways to address Iran’s destabilising activities, and working with our partners to end conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Libya.” [The National]
Major Forest Fire in Northern Dinniyeh Region Today LAF-dispatched helicopters continued efforts to contain a major forest fire that erupted Tuesday evening in the Batramaz pine forest of the Dinniyeh Region of Lebanon. [L’Orient Today] Lebanese Environment Minister Nasser Yassin said that, “it is possible that the fire was sparked deliberately.” [Al Monitor]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
The National How Lebanon’s Civil Society Legislators Can Succeed In Parliament Michael Young
Young writes, “One factor that further complicates the breakdown of Parliament is the confusion over what being an independent candidate actually means. The parliamentarians of the contestation consider themselves independents, but they were elected on lists formed by civil society groups. There are also many self-declared independent parliamentarians, such as Mr. Skaff, but who were elected on lists formed by political parties, or who have clear political allegiances, such as Jamil Al Sayyed, who is close to Hezbollah. In other words, the parliamentarians of the contestation will struggle to define their identity in the legislature, since the public will often wonder what independence from the major political parties entails. This won’t be helped by the fact that the contestation bloc will have to negotiate and make compromises with representatives of those parties over legislation, which may bring accusations that they have betrayed their commitment to combatting the shady dealings of the political class.”
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.