Relatives of Migrants Aboard Ship En Route to Italy Lose Contact with Vessel
After a fishing boat departed from the Lebanese port city of Tripoli about ten days ago, activists as well as relatives of Lebanese and Syrian migrants aboard the vessel have raised the alarm to European Union, Italian, and Maltese authorities regarding their loss of contact with the boat. According to them, the boat was taking on water near Malta, reportedly carrying roughly sixty Lebanese and Syrian migrants on board – all without food, water, and baby formula – in addition to three deceased children. [AP News]
Hochstein to Arrive in Beirut This Week Amos Hochstein – the principal mediator in the ongoing, US-mediated negotiations between the Lebanese and Israeli governments concerning Lebanon’s southern maritime boundary – is returning to Lebanon at the end of the week for another round of talks with key Lebanese leaders and officials. [Reuters]
In Aftermath of Capsized Boat Search Mission, Families File Lawsuit Against the Military According to Reuters, “Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun said on Tuesday that [his communications with] France-based oil and gas company, TotalEnergies (TTEF.PA), could help his country solve maritime demarcation issues with Israel..” [Reuters]
Blom Bank Reports Highest Reading of Private Sector Activity Since 2013 According to the National, “Lebanon’s private sector activity improved in August to the highest levels in more than nine years as output and new orders picked up. The Blom Lebanon Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 50.1 last month, from 49.9 in July, its highest reading since June 2013. A reading above the neutral level of 50 indicates growth, while one below it points to a contraction.” [The National]
Maronite Patriarch: ‘The Intentional Presidential Vacancy Is A Betrayal’ According to L’Orient Today, “The head of the Maronite Church Bechara al-Rai said Sunday that ‘the intentional presidential vacancy is a betrayal,’ while some people fear a total political vacuum in the executive power in Lebanon.” [L’Orient Today]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
A Presidential Role In Saving Lebanon Is Possible Jean AbiNader
AbiNader writes, “Let’s be frank. Lebanon needs a winner who can lead. Usually, we talk about capable leaders and managers as two different – but related – skill sets. In the past, this may have been a way to get by. Before, this may have been a more helpful distinction, now Lebanon needs someone who can channel both skill sets, projecting a vision for the country that both unifies and revives the spirit of resolution needed to win and mobilizes citizens for the challenges still to come. The current situation has two constitutional outcomes: the election of a president within two months or the extended rule of the Council of Ministers who, in presidential absentia, assumes many of the presidential responsibilities. The latter scenario would illustrate the role of managers – a group of professionals who can carry on the day-to-day functions of governing in concert with the Parliament. While not ideal, a train wreck awaits the country if a fully functioning government cannot be assembled by October 31st. Caretaker Prime Minister Mikati is preparing for this team management scenario by pulling together capable ministers who can get Lebanon to move ahead with the IMF deal, reorganize some government functions, keep up sufficient support for the LAF and ISF, and maintain some semblance of a social safety net.”
Arab News Will Maritime-Border Settlement Imply Lebanon’s Indirect Recognition Of Israel?
“Comments recently made by a White House official to Al-Arabiya point to progress in indirect negotiations between Lebanon and Israel to find a solution to their maritime boundary dispute. But any progress raises a host of questions that Hezbollah, the Iran-backed militia which holds sway over the Lebanese government, will find deeply embarrassing. Technically at war since 1948 and with no diplomatic relations, Lebanon and Israel are at odds over an area of 860 sq km of the Mediterranean Sea believed to contain rich deposits of natural gas. They have been engaged in intermittent negotiations since October 2020 over the gas-rich waters they both claim to lie in their exclusive economic zones.”
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.