Lebanon Daily News Brief 08/23/2022

Tuesday, August 23, 2022



Caretaker PM Seeks to Preserve Remaining Section of Grain Silos As Memorial
Following continued structural collapses of the grain silos at the port of Beirut that was the epicenter of the August 4th, 2020 explosion – now considered to be the largest non-nuclear explosion in global history – caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati formally asked caretaker Minister of Public Works & Transport Ali Hamieh to designate the remaining southerly block of the silos as a memorial. [Naharnet]

Lebanese Navy to Attempt Recovery of Wreckage from April Sinking
The Lebanese Navy this week is attempting to recover the wreckage and bodies lost at sea last April when a vessel carrying approximately 80 people sank off the Lebanese coast – approximately three miles away from the northern city of Tripoli. The vessel was part of a smuggling attempt to transport the Lebanese, Palestinian, and Syrian passengers to Italy. [AP News]

Reports of Turkish Gas Drilling Proposal in Lebanon’s Prospective Gas Blocks
According to Naharnet, Lebanon, which is yet to reach a sea border demarcation deal with Israel, has received a Turkish proposal for investment and drilling in the southern oil and gas blocks near Israel’s border, a Lebanese official source said.” [Naharnet]

Deputy PM Urges Approval of Capital Controls Law
In a statement issued yesterday by the caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Saade Chami, the time to pass capital controls legislation is now, as the law is critical to maintaining foreign currency reserves and banking sector liquidity, preventing further exchange rate deterioration, and reducing the balance of payments deficit. [L’Orient Today]


Arab News
Lebanon Faces Judicial Paralysis As Judges Refuse To Work

Najia Houssari

Houssari writes, “Judges in Lebanon continued their protest on Tuesday after a meeting to review their issues proved inconclusive. About 400 out of 550 judges suspended services last week after talks with political leaders failed to secure their minimum demands. The judges include the president of the Supreme Judicial Council of Lebanon, council members, judges from the cassation and appeal courts, public prosecution offices, tribunals, and judicial departments. Judges held a closed general assembly on Tuesday in Beirut’s Justice Palace to discuss the results of the talks. Judges of different ranks and positions are striking, except those from the Audit Bureau and the State Shura Council . . . Judges are calling for a radical solution to their salary increase demand. The salary of a judge is now worth $221 as per the black market exchange rate. It used to be $5,000 before Lebanon’s economic crisis hit three years ago. Justice palaces now lack all work components. Judges complain about the lack of electricity and water, non-functioning elevators, and the absence of basic stationery, such as pens, paper, and ink.”

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The National
Is Lebanon Being Sold Out For A Nuclear Deal With Iran?

Raghida Dergham

Dergham writes, “The West shares Moscow’s view that their collective priority should be to prevent cross-border military activities by Iran or Hezbollah against Israel. Given such a consensus, a prospective deal with Iran could include conceding to Tehran its primacy in Lebanon, in exchange for its assurance that peace on the latter’s border with Israel will be maintained. However, such an agreement would be short-sighted. For allowing Tehran to turn Lebanon into a military base for itself would – from the West’s point of view – benefit the Iran-Russia-China strategic troika, not to mention undermining the sovereignty of an independent state and risking civil war. Furthermore, it’s hard to imagine there won’t be a military clash in the future anyway. And so, it is incumbent upon western ambassadors in Beirut to explain to their respective governments the consequences of such an agreement. Lebanon should press its ambassadors to the concerned countries into diplomatic action. The Lebanese people need to organise and mobilise, and ensure that they are not seen as silently surrendering to such a fait accompli. They should object to a nuclear deal that contains such sweeteners for the Iranian regime.”

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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.