Governments of Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt Hold Signing Ceremony For Overland Gas Deal In a signing ceremony held at the Lebanese Ministry of Water and Energy, the governments of Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt agreed to an overland energy deal amounting to 650 million cubic meters of natural gas imported from Egypt via Syria to Lebanon. Though the ceremony was presided over by the Lebanese Energy Minister Walid Fayyad, as well as his Egyptian and Syrian counterparts – among others – the World Bank has not yet approved the deal, nor has the US government confirmed assurances that the deal would not violate Caesar sanctions. [Reuters]
Opposition MP Paula Yacoubian Replaced on Parliamentary Committee Without Consent According to L’Orient Today, “In the first meeting of the Parliament’s Media and Communications Committee, opposition MP Paula Yacoubian, who was originally elected to the committee, discovered she was replaced with MP Hani Qobeisi, who belongs to the Amal Movement, according to al-Nabaa online channel.” [L’Orient Today]
ABL Letter on IMF Staff Agreement: ‘Unlawful’, ‘Unconstitutional’ In a letter sent to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL), the ABL expressed its ‘very serious reservations’ on the staff-level agreement between the IMF and the government of Lebanon that was announced earlier this year. According to Reuters, “The letter says sharing out the losses in such a way would be unfair because it would shift the burden onto commercial banks despite the vast majority of the losses being incurred at the central bank.” [Reuters]
Minister of Social Affairs References To-Be-Announced Initiative Addressing Refugees in Lebanon At an event yesterday, on World Refugee Day, announcing an appeal for $3.2 billion in additional international funding to assuage the effects of the Syrian conflict on Lebanon, Social Affairs Minister Hector Hajjar said, “The situation is no longer bearable, and the Lebanese state is no longer able to bear the burdens of this crisis. For many years, the Lebanese state has incurred multi-dimensional losses, not to mention the security chaos and the burden of controlling the borders to combat illegal immigration . . . I will not go into more details, because we are about to launch an initiative in this regard. We have consulted with the delegations that visited us during the past weeks regarding its main points and we will announce more details in the coming days.” [L’Orient Today]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
Middle East Program, Wilson Center Kinopolitics And The Myth Of Borders: How Ukraine Shapes Lebanon’s Refugee Landscape Jasmin Lilian Diab
Diab writes, “Since the onset of the economic crisis, and the exacerbation of the crisis since the war on Ukraine, Lebanon has been hesitant to permit humanitarian organizations to increase the value of transfers to refugees, citing concerns that such an increase could fuel social tensions between refugee and host or local communities. The average monthly salary of Lebanese workers stands at just LBP 650,000 (amounting to less than USD 30 at the time of writing). Only in September 2021, as the cash transfer response to vulnerable Lebanese households was scaled up, were humanitarian agencies able to increase the value from LBP 100,000 to LBP 300,000 (amounting to approximately USD 85 at the time of writing). Tensions between Syrian and Lebanese communities have steadily worsened since 2020. The food security crisis continues to fuel humanitarian agencies’ dilemma whilst navigating between the provision of meaningful transfers and concerns over national security and stability. Shifting to in-kind food parcel deliveries is not an easily implementable alternative, as the WFP procured more than 50 percent of its food supplies from Ukraine prior to the war.”
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.