Lebanon Daily News Brief 1/03/2022

Monday, January 3, 2022


Parliamentary Elections Set for May 15, Minister of Interior Decrees
According to an interior ministry statement on December 27, Lebanon’s parliamentary elections has been set for May 15, 2022. Expatriate voters will cast ballots on either May 6 or May 8, depending on their country of residence. [Reuters]

President Aoun Calls for National Defence Dialogue, Mar Mikhael Alliance Called Into Question
Lebanese President and founder of the Christian Free Patriotic Movement Michel Aoun last Monday called for an “urgent national dialogue” targeting the country’s defense strategy, widely thought to be in reference to Hezbollah’s weapons. [Reuters] “Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri has announced that he would attend national dialogue if invited by President Michel Aoun, as he warned against the postponement of parliamentary elections.” [Naharnet] Ali Hassan Khalil – Amal Movement MP, former Finance Minister, and close political ally to Berri – defended the national partnership with Hezbollah, which came after FPM head Gebran Bassil criticized the role of Hezbollah-affiliated ministers in the current cabinet standoff and called the Mar Mikhael alliance between FPM and Hazbollah into question. [L’Orient Today] Hezbollah General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah said that his party, “is committed to the Mar Mikhael agreement and is willing to improve it in line with the national interest.” [L’Orient Today]

Lebanon Seizes Millions of Amphetamine Pills in Citrus Fruit Shipment 
Lebanese Authorities last Wednesday intercepted nine million captagon pills, thwarting a smuggling attempt involving citrus fruit bound for the Gulf, which is the latest high profile counter-narcotics operation publicized by the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities. “We want to send a message to the Arab world about our seriousness and our work to thwart evil from harming our Arab brothers,” Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi said. [Reuters]

Lebanon Ranked 1st In The Middle East In EF English Proficiency Index
EF Education, a Swedish international education company founded in 1995, released its yearly report on the English Proficiency Index as part of the company’s mission to promote English language education around the world. Within the Middle East region, Lebanon scored first out of 12 countries, measuring the most fluent English speakers in 2021. Additionally, the Index placed Lebanon in the 34th position worldwide for moderate proficiency with an EF EPI score of 536. [The961]



The National Interest
How Turkey Can Be a True Ally to Lebanon
Adnan Nasser

Nasser writes, “When Turkish foreign minister Cavusoglu met with his Lebanese counterpart, Abdallah Bou Habib, they discussed ways to strengthen their bilateral relationship by developing economic sectors such as tourism, energy, and agriculture and by resolving the diplomatic crisis with Riyadh … Indeed, Lebanese politicians have shown a readiness to resume a state of normal relations with Riyadh and the other Gulf nations. However, recalibration of diplomatic ties must not mean Lebanese leaders should be let off the hook for corruption, nor should any international institution be forgiven for allowing years of economic mismanagement without any accountability.” 
Read More Here


Al Monitor
Lebanon Campaigns to Revive Tourism amid Economic Crisis
Hanan Hamdan

Hamdan writes, “The Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar, in cooperation with Lebanon’s Economic and Social Council, launched Nov. 30 the #GiveLebanonABreak campaign, calling on Lebanese officials to stop their political bickering and give the Lebanese people a break in December to spend the holidays in peace…Some Lebanese were pleased with the campaign, sharing the promo video and using the hashtag, demanding a holiday ‘break.’ However, many criticized it, as they believed it was a naive and superficial campaign. Some even said it only targeted well-off families that have the luxury of overcoming the crises, and they have become very few in Lebanon.”
Read More Here


Violent Beginnings: Children Growing Up in Lebanon’s Crisis

Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid, the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) on Violence against Children, emphasizes, “Lebanon’s crisis threatens the present and the future of millions of children. Ensuring their protection from abuse, harm, and violence and safeguarding their rights are needed more than ever.”

Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Lebanon Representative says, “Children’s safety and wellbeing are intricately connected to every pillar of a well-functioning society … it takes a village – food, housing, healthcare, regular schooling, thriving families and functioning social services and institutions – to help children grow up free from harm. When society begins to crumble, children are left extremely vulnerable to abuse, violence and exploitation.”
Access the Full Report 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.