Lebanon Daily News Brief 08/12/2022

Friday, August 12, 2022



LADE Releases Final Report on 2022 Parliamentary Elections
Yesterday, the Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections (LADE) released its final report reviewing the integrity of the 2022 Parliamentary Elections that took place in May. The NGO’s report  brings to light several kinds of violations to the democratic process, such as vote buying, unbalanced media coverage, and abuse of power on the part of electoral authorities. [L’Orient Today]

Armed Bank Depositor Arrested After Holding Beirut Branch Hostage
After a standoff lasting several hours, an armed Federal Bank depositor named Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein was arrested after breaking into the bank’s Hamra branch with the intention of forcibly withdrawing his money, holding several people hostage under the threat of self-immolation. The bank reportedly handed over $35,000 of Hussein’s $210,000 trapped by the bank to a family member, who clarified to media outlets his intention to cover the family’s medical and other living expenses. [AP News]

Iraq Renews Fuel Deal with Lebanon for Another Year
Today the caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced the Iraqi government’s approval of a one-year renewal to an agreement signed in July of 2021 to give Lebanon one million tonnes of fuel oil for its electricity production in exchange for ‘in kind services’. [France24]

LAF Receives Servicemen Support from Qatari Government
Today the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) announced that it received financial support from the Qatari government, which aims to support the livelihoods of Lebanese service members amid the ongoing economic crisis. [Naharnet]


Mourning In Lebanon
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “These past two weeks succinctly reflect the nature of Lebanon’s demise – a six-week old public sector strike, desperately needed grain being refused by the buyer after a five month delay, another threatening speech by Hassan Nasrallah. Another day spawns another disaster in Lebanon, or another threat of hostilities and civil disorder, or another rise in the cost of essential goods and services – if they are even available. It’s a never-ending marathon of man-made tribulations, mostly made in the case of Lebanon. On the government side, continued parliamentary impasses, an uncertain move towards a government formation, and the upcoming presidential elections all coincide with new members of parliament learning what it is like to govern in a vacuum of collaboration. The reality in Lebanon is that the state is in desperate need of triage, starting with the government owning up to its responsibilities to reform and recover. It has so far not come to terms with its own history over the last thirty years, out which this debilitating economic crisis has emerged, even if the outcome of the recent elections has offered hope to various opposition figures, emboldening them to make sure that presidential elections occur on time, the reform process goes ahead, and Lebanon’s road to survival becomes more than a fleeting hope.”

Read More Here

Washington Post
A Man Took Hostages At A Bank In Lebanon. People Came To Support Him.

Sarah Dadouch, Nader Durgham, and Suzan Haidamous

Dadouch, Durgham, and Haidamous write, “An armed man took hostages at a bank branch in Beirut on Thursday, quickly becoming a folk hero for a tired and angry nation. A man identified as Bassam al-Sheikh Hussein entered the Federal Bank of Lebanon in the Hamra neighborhood with a can of gasoline, threatening to set himself on fire if he couldn’t access the money in his account, amounting to about $210,000. He later brandished a rifle, leading to hours of tense hostage negotiations . . . The incident reflected a deep frustration in Lebanon over an ever-worsening economic crisis. Since 2019, there have been ad hoc limits on the amount of hard currency depositors can withdraw, an effort to avoid a run on the banks and a collapse of the financial system. The policy has led to waves of nationwide protests, demanding accountability for the country’s dynastic political class and an end to endemic corruption.”

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.