Lebanon Daily News Brief 06/10/2022

Friday, June 10, 2022




Hezbollah Secretary General Makes Provocative Statements Amid Maritime Border Tensions
In a speech yesterday, Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made inflammatory remarks regarding the latest maritime border tensions between the Lebanese and Israeli governments in response to the recent arrival of a natural gas extraction vessel seeking to produce energy for Israel in a contested maritime zone. Nasrallah said that Hezbollah – which the United States designates as a terrorist organization is ‘not afraid of war’ and is prepared to thwart extraction attempts, itself. [Reuters]

Caretaker Deputy PM: Banks Ought to Absorb ‘First Losses’ in Recovery Plan
Regarding the absorption of losses from the draft economic recovery plan that was recently approved by the outgoing PM Mikati government, caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Saadeh Al Shami said that, “banks should go first in terms of their capital before we can touch any depositors . . . We are not going to do a Robin Hood principle in reverse, taking from the poorer to give to the richer – this is not acceptable.” Al Shami further elaborated on the merits of this economic recovery plan that he put forward as head of the economic advisory team to PM Mikati. [Reuters]

Public Administration Employees to Strike Monday
According to L’Orient Today, “Public administration employees in Lebanon are set to go on an open strike, starting Monday, June 13, to demand an increase in salaries and for the caretaker government to take other measures to help them cope with deteriorating living conditions.” [L’Orient Today]

Local Investigation Against BDL Governor Moves Forward
In a corruption investigation of Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor, Riad Salameh, which has been developing over the last year, the lead public prosecutor Ghassan Oueidat ordered Salameh, alongside several unnamed associates, to be investigated for, “embezzlement, money laundering, illicit enrichment, forgery and tax evasion,” by a Beirut court. This investigation is separate from ongoing, international probes into his alleged financial misconduct by several European governments. [Reuters]


Amnesty International
Lebanon: Authorities Should Lift Immunity And Allow Interrogation Of MPs Into The Beirut Port Explosion
Responding to the news that two members of parliament, Ghazi Zeaiter and Ali Hassan Khalil, who had both refused to cooperate with the investigation into the Beirut blast, have been elected to the parliamentary committee for administration and justice, Diana Semaan, Amnesty International’s Acting Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: ‘The current investigative judge is still unable to question or prosecute Ghazi Zeaiter and Ali Hassan Khalil as they both enjoy parliamentary immunity. We reiterate our calls to the Lebanese authorities to immediately lift all immunities granted to officials, regardless of their role or position, in order to comply with its obligation to ensure redress for violations of the right to life. Lebanon continues to fail to uphold its human rights obligations in holding perpetrators of the Beirut port blast, which killed more than 200 people, to account. Given the months of stalling, inaction and lack of political will, it remains obvious that an international, independent, and impartial investigative mission, such as a UN fact-finding mission, is essential in upholding justice to families of victims and survivors’.”

Al Arabiya English
Lebanon Has Seen The Unhappy Return Of Nabih Berri
Makram Rabah
Rabah writes, “For over three decades, Nabih Berri has survived as the high priest of the Lebanese archaic client list system. It’s one which saw the warlords who fought through the civil war (1975-1990) claim legitimacy through elected office and freely abuse the resources of the state. It has resulted in its total collapse. Yet this time around, Berri did not have enough leverage or votes to be elected by an absolute majority. His win is frail as he was only able to garner 65 votes which is embarrassing for this veteran politician who in the past was able to win by a landslide. In addition, many opposition MPs used their voting ballots to send a clear message to Berri and the establishment he protects, by writing symbolic statements such as Justice to the victims to the Beirut port explosion and justice to the slain activists including Lokman Slim, confirming that they won’t accept to be silenced anymore. This symbolic win for the anti-establishment faction will pave the way for the next crucial democratic showdown, which is slated in September when the term of President Michel Aoun is set to expire. In the past, Berri has violated the constitution by refusing to convene the parliament for over two and a half years, until the Iran axis were able to broker a deal with Aoun elected President. Thus, the humiliating vote for Berri has weakened the chances of repeating the aforementioned scenario. Hezbollah as always will again need to use its weapons to derail the election of a president that can lead the Lebanon political and economic resurgence.”

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.