Lebanon Daily News Brief 08/05/2022

Friday, August 5, 2022



Lebanon-Bound Ship Carrying Ukrainian Grain Faces Delays
According to a Lebanese Cabinet minister and the Ukrainian Embassy, the scheduled arrival of the Razoni, a Sierra Leone-flagged ship carrying Ukrainian grain under a wartime deal, bound for the Lebanese port of Tripoli has been delayed due to an unspecified reason and is currently anchored at a Turkish port. [AP News]

Migrants Rescued at Sea in the Eastern Mediterranean
Said to have launched from Lebanon’s Northern coast five days before, more than 75 migrants were rescued Saturday morning off the coast of Turkey after their makeshift vessel sank. [L’Orient Today]

Detainees Escape Beirut Detention Center
Yesterday, more than thirty detainees escaped from the Adlieh detention center in Beirut, near the Palace of Justice. According to the Internal Security Forces (ISF), “[their arrest] was immediately ordered … and an investigation has been opened.” [L’Orient Today]

President Aoun Reportedly ‘Holding Off’ on Banking Secrecy Law
According to Naharnet, “President Michel Aoun is holding back on signing the amended banking secrecy law pending answers from the Lebanese team that is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund, al-Jadeed TV reported on Monday.” [Naharnet]


International Policy Digest
Will The U.S. Abandon The Middle East To Focus On China?

Maya Walborsky and Nader Habibi

Walborsky and Habibi write, “Based on the multidimensional engagement of China with Middle Eastern countries, the region will play an important role in China’s global economic strategy. China’s dependence on Middle East oil is expected to continue, along with the Suez Canal emerging as the main sea passage route for China’s trade with Europe and North Africa. Furthermore, Chinese firms have become the dominant foreign investors in an important industrial and re-export zone (the TEDA-Suez Economic Zone) on the Western banks of the Suez Canal. Economic control of the Suez translates into control of global trade. Consequently, the strategic importance of the region for China will compel the United States to maintain enough military presence in the Persian Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean region. This military presence will enable the United States to disrupt China’s oil imports and global trade in the event of an escalation in U.S.-China tensions. This could potentially turn the Middle East into a battleground for a new Cold War. Rivalry with China will also motivate the United States to maintain its security and diplomatic relations with Middle East oil exporters that supply oil and natural gas to China.”

Read More Here

International Policy Digest
‘The Pain Gets Worse’: Lebanese Mark Second Anniversary Of Beirut Port Explosion

Martin Chulov

Chulov writes, “Almost to the minute of the second anniversary of the Beirut port explosionthat destroyed them and pulverised nearby neighbours, a huge slither of the silos collapsed, showcasing yet again the dysfunction of Lebanon and the failed quest to bring those responsible to justice. Crowds lined adjoining overpasses on Thursday to commemorate the deaths of more than 200 people in one of the biggest industrial disasters in modern history. And in doing so, many were also mourning the ongoing destruction of a country, the demise of which is encapsulated in Lebanon’s inability to hold its leaders to account either for the blast, or the wilful collapse of its economy. Hailed at the time as a galvanising moment that could finally break a corrupt protectorate that had enriched Lebanon’s leaders at the expense of its citizens, the post-explosion era has instead served to reinforce the status quo. Beirut port was a microcosm of Lebanon’s failings, a place where civil war-era leaders all had a stake in various arms of its operations, and took large financial cuts under informal understandings.”

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.