Lebanon Daily News Brief 09/22/2022

Thursday, September 22, 2022



United States, France and Saudi Arabia Issue Joint Statement of Support for Lebanon
“Our three countries expressed their continuing support for Lebanon’s sovereignty, security, and stability.  As Lebanon’s Parliament prepares to elect a new President, we stress the importance of timely elections in compliance with the constitution.   It is critical to elect a President who can unite the Lebanese people and work with regional and international actors to overcome the current crisis.  We call for the formation of a government capable of implementing the structural and economic reforms urgently needed to address Lebanon’s political and economic crises, specifically those reforms needed to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund.”

Read the Full Statement Here

Caretaker PM Mikati Address UN General Assembly
According to Arab News, “[Caretaker Prime Minister Najib] Mikati, who represented Lebanon at the UN General Assembly, addressed the country’s social and economic crisis in a speech on Wednesday night. He said the crisis was threatening all institutions, driving most of the population below the poverty line, and causing a brain drain among the country’s young.” [
Arab News]

Boat Carrying Migrants Sinks in Eastern Mediterranean, 34 Dead
According to AP News, “A boat carrying migrants from Lebanon capsized off Syria’s coast Thursday afternoon leaving at least 34 people dead, Syrian state media reported.” [AP News]

A Draft Maritime Border Deal Reported to Be Sent Soon
According to Naharnet, “U.S. mediator Amos Hochstein is working on an amended draft for the demarcation of the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel and is supposed to finalize it within a week.” [Naharnet]


Taking Cash In Hand – Are There Any Options?
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “Lebanese are doing the inevitable: holding up banks to get their funds. In the latest of eight incidents, the person is now on strike within the bank branch having turned in his weapon. The story is a familiar one. With the onset of the current financial crisis in 2019, banks issued informal capital controls to limit the depositors’ access to their dollar accounts. Withdrawals in dollars or Lebanese currency are limited, which effectively means that as the devaluation of the Lebanese currency continues, the depositor gets a free haircut that is not so free considering there are few constraints on how the banks act. A haircut refers to the depreciation in the value of the money being held due to a loss of value in the currency. Although this is part of the larger issue of the national debt crisis, the lack of a capital controls law has disabled options for those whose savings are in the banks. Legal recourses do not exist. The banking association has not faced up to the reality that its sector is broken. And the depositors are forming organizations to fight for their access.”

Read More Here

Nasrallah Reminds Lebanon Who Calls The Shots 

Zvi Bar’el

Bar’el writes, “The Hezbollah leader has a full plate of issues. Even before a new president is selected, he will have to approve the composition of a new cabinet and give his consent to the maritime border agreement that is taking shape, under American mediation, between Lebanon and Israel. According to reports from Lebanon, Nasrallah has proposed that the current prime minister, Najib Mikati, who was appointed in a caretaker capacity, continue to serve in the position and that instead of a new cabinet, the current one would also remain in place . . . There is no need for any more explicit explanation of the balance of deterrence that Nasrallah has set regarding the maritime border. The Lebanese government is only playing the role of the clerk who is required to sign the agreement that will have been approved in advance by the chairman of the board of directors. Since, according to Nasrallah, Israel has received the message and has responded as expected, one can assume that the drafting of a final text of an agreement is in its final stages.”

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.