Lebanon Daily News Brief 07/06/2022

Wednesday, July 6, 2022
July 6th, 2022







Protests Over Economic Circumstances, Telecom Tariffs
Following recent spikes in the cost of phone and internet services amid already dire economic circumstances for the vast majority in Lebanon, hundreds of protesters expressed their anger in front of the headquarters of several institutions and companies around the Lebanese capital, including Électricité du Liban (EDL), the Association of Banks in Lebanon (ABL), and the telecom company, MTC Touch. [The National] Protests occurred outside of the capital, too, in particular near MTC Touch’s offices in Tripoli and Baalbek. [L’Orient Today]




Air Traffic Controllers To Stop Working Nights in August
Late last night, Lebanese air traffic controllers announced a halt on night shifts starting in August amid labor shortages due to the worsening economic situation. [L’Orient Today]




Caretaker Minister of Displaced Announces Intention to ‘Repatriate’ Syrians Without Blessing of UNHCR
According to L’Orient Today, “Caretaker Minister of the Displaced Issam Charafeddine confirmed Wednesday that ‘Lebanon will follow the plan to return Syrians refugees to their country, regardless of the UNHCR’s position,’ after the UN refugee agency said it was not part of any negotiation to repatriate refugees to their strife-stricken home country . . . Charafeddine announced Monday that Lebanese officials are working on a plan to repatriate 15,000 Syrian refugees to Syria every month.” [L’Orient Today]




‘Forces of Change’ Bloc of 13 MPs Submits Legislation in Parliament Aiming to Strengthen Protection of Gold Reserves
The “Forces of Change” parliamentary bloc, made up of 13 MPs, submitted legislation to the Lebanese Parliament aiming to, “[strengthen] the protection of gold reserves at Banque du Liban.” The submission of the 13 MPs stipulates that the original 1986 law, upon which their legislation is based, prohibits BDL from using the gold reserves without Parliamentary approval, but does not protect against the gold being swapped for other commodities, or used in ways other than directly selling it. [L’Orient Today]








Viewpoints Series, Wilson Center
President Biden’s ‘Abraham Accords’ Trip: Five Key Issues

James F. Jeffrey

Jeffrey writes, “Joe Biden’s first presidential visit to the Middle East is shaping up as a potential game-changer in American actions and attitudes towards the region.  Just a few months ago, the cover of Foreign Affairs proclaimed, “The Middle East Moves On: In Search of a Post-American Order.” Well, a fair interpretation of the run-up to the July visit is that much of the Middle East would actually prefer to stick with Washington. And the administration, at first hesitant about engagement there beyond returning to the JCPOA nuclear agreement with Iran, clearly is listening. The president’s ambitious program between Israel, the West Bank and Saudi Arabia will culminate in a meeting between him and leaders of nine Arab states, four of which (UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt) already have relations with Israel. He will also meet with Iraq, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, and hold an innovative virtual summit with US, Israeli, Indian and UAE leaders, which underscores the administration’s ‘by-with-and-through’ security relationships with key regional players, while ensuring that Israel is included in them.”




Middle East Eye
Lebanon Should Drill For Gas Regardless Of Maritime Deal With Israel, MP Says

Sean Matthews

Matthews writes, “Lebanon must prepare to drill for gas regardless of whether or not it strikes a maritime demarcation deal with Israel, as its window to exploit Mediterranean energy is rapidly closing, Lebanese MP Neemat Frem told Middle East Eye. ‘I’m worried that the most likely outcome is that talks with Israel will stall,” Frem said in an interview with MEE in Washington . . . We [Lebanon] need to prepare very quickly for ‘plan B’, which means drilling in non-contested areas as soon as possible,’ he added. Lebanon and Israel have been engaged in US-brokered talks to resolve a festering maritime dispute over the potentially gas-rich territory since 2020. Negotiations have been complicated by the fact that the two countries lack diplomatic relations and are technically in a state of 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.