Lebanon Daily News Brief 06/24/2022

Friday, June 24, 2022


June 24th, 2022


Prime Minister Designate Expected to Meet With Parliamentary Blocs, MPs Next Week
According to L’Orient Today, Incumbent Najib Mikati, who was assigned as the prime minister-designate on Thursday after receiving a plurality of votes, is now tasked with forming the next government and will be carrying out consultations, starting Monday at the Parliament where he will be meeting with parliamentary blocs and members of Parliament according to the following program, the state-run National News Agency reported.” [L’Orient Today]

Lebanese Bankers Divided Over IMF Staff Agreement
In a statement yesterday, the Al Mawarid Bank announced its suspension of its membership with the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL), following a recent letter sent by the ABL disparaging the staff-level agreement brokered between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the government of Lebanon which seeks to address the country’s financial recovery. Bankers representing two other Lebanese banks also publicly shared their perspectives on the matter. [The National]

UK Court Orders Disclosure of Beneficiary Owner of Rhosus Ship in Beirut Port Explosion File
The High Court of Justice in London ordered Savaro Ltd., which is registered in the United Kingdom, to disclose the identity of its beneficiary owner in the matter of the Beirut Port Explosion, which occurred on August 4th, 2020 – killing over two hundred people and injuring several thousand. The UK court put forward this order against the chemical trading, shell company in order to ascertain who was exactly responsible for sending the ammonium nitrate material onboard the Rhosus. [Naharnet]


Lebanon’s Dilemma – Syrian Refugees Are Not Going Away
Jean AbiNader
AbiNader writes, “Despite misinformation claiming that Syrian refugees in Lebanon are better off than their Lebanese counterparts, in fact their deprivations exceed that of the Lebanese.  They share the same misery in inflated food costs which have now exceeded more than 400%, ‘while [the costs] of diesel for electricity and petrol for automobiles has skyrocketed. Bread and vegetable oil – two key staples in Levantine cuisine – have especially become more expensive because of both the country’s spiraling economic crisis and the war in Ukraine.’ While more than 75% of the Lebanese live below the poverty line, 90% of the refugees live in extreme poverty, according to the United Nations. As of April, the UN’s refugee agency in Lebanon has only been able to secure 13% of its $534m budget for the year. Yet, since 2015, over $9 billion in assistance has come from all over the world and international donors. Currently, the UN works with 15 international, 9 national, and 3 UN agencies on the ground. The latest surveys indicate that 97% are food insecure with many not buying enough food due to a drop in aid. The refugees are reporting that 72% are in debt and 57% have lost their income entirely, exceeding the high levels punishing Lebanese families. The story for the poor Lebanese and the Syrian refugees is similar. Whether it is comparing food insecurity, the lack of available health care and education, or human and civil rights abuses, both populations are suffering. Although the Lebanese have their homes, families, communities, and citizenship – which affords them some quality of life and access to support – they are all being deprived of their dignity and their hope.”

Read More Here

United States Institute of Peace
Amid Historic Crisis, Has A New Hope Emerged In Lebanon?

Adam Gallagher
Gallagher writes, “One reason some observers find hope in the election results is that Hezbollah and its allies lost their parliamentary majority. Hezbollah, a powerful Shia militia-cum-political party, has been an impediment to change — for example, they have sought to block inquiries into the Port of Beirut explosion — and source of foreign influence in Lebanon, as it is heavily backed by Iran and largely viewed as its proxy. With an electoral system designed to favor Lebanon’s powerholders, independents winnings 10% of the seats in parliament is “no joke,” said [Middle East Institute President Dr. Paul] Salem. Still, traditional parties hold 99 seats in parliament and will likely continue to dominate Lebanon’s politics. “Hezbollah still exists and, along with its allies in the country, are not known for their support for reform,” said [Director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute forNear East Policy David] Schenker. One example of the staying power of the old guard is Nabih Berri, who leads the Shia Amal party that is closely allied with Hezbollah. Berri has been re-elected as speaker of parliament, a position he’s held since 1992.” 

Washington Institute for Near East Policy
How To Avoid Another Lost Year For UNIFIL

David Schenker and Assaf Orion
Schenker and Orion write, “the UN Security Council will once again debate the renewal of UNIFIL’s mandate this summer before it expires August 31. Among other missions, the mandate defines UNIFIL’s role per Security Council Resolution 1701 (2006) as helping the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) ensure that the area south of the Litani River is “free of any armed personnel, assets, and weapons” other than those of the LAF and UNIFIL. This mission has never been fulfilled—in fact, the security situation in UNIFIL’s area of responsibility has degenerated since the last Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006, and its peacekeepers have curtailed their role under ongoing violent pressure from Hezbollah, whose military presence in the south now far exceeds its prewar levels. Absent a concerted U.S. effort to reengineer the force’s mandate and operational conduct, the security situation along the Israel-Lebanon border will continue to deteriorate, and the war that all parties seek to avoid will draw nearer.” 

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.