Lebanon Daily News Brief 1/04/2022

Tuesday, January 4, 2022


President Aoun, PM Miqati, Others Respond to Hezbollah’s Criticism of KSA
In a speech commemorating the death of Iranian Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani, Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah addressed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia disparagingly as he said, “King, the terrorist is the one who has exported … Daeshi ideology to the world, and it is you.”  [Reuters] Not long after the remarks were made, Prime Minister Najib Miqati issued a statement saying that they, “do not represent the Lebanese government and the majority of the Lebanese and it is not in Lebanon’s interest to abuse any Arab country and Gulf countries in particular.” [L’Orient Today] A day later, President Michel Aoun also issued a statement, assuring his, “keenness on Lebanon’s Arab and international ties, especially with the Arab Gulf nations, topped by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” [Naharnet]

Lebanese Lira Reaches New Low: ~29,000 LL to 1 USD
“According to apps monitoring the black market rate, the pound was trading at 29,000 to the dollar on Monday afternoon, a record low.” [Naharnet]

National Head on COVID-19 Vaccines Not in Favor of Lockdown
Following Sunday’s statements made by Minister of Health Firass Abiad in which the possibility of another country-wide lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic was raised, Rahman Bizri – the head of the national committee on COVID-19 vaccines – urged everyone to take the vaccine instead, adding that a lockdown would only provide a temporary public health solution at the expense of serious economic and educational consequences. [L’Orient Today]



Foreign Policy
The Human Cost of Normalizing Assad
Alex Lederman

Lederman writes, “Nine out of 10 Syrian refugee households in Lebanon now live in extreme poverty, with roughly half of all families food insecure, according to the United Nations. The COVID-19 death rate for Syrian refugees is four times Lebanon’s national average, as refugees struggle to access medical care. Refugees have been victims of hate crimes and their camps targets of arson attacks. Larger geopolitical dynamics are out of refugees’ hands, who just struggle to get by day to day. But they’re the ones who most bear the costs of these changes on the ground. Stuck between a bad situation and a worse one, some have decided to risk the journey home to Syria. That so many double back to Lebanon, however, is testament to their harrowing experiences.”
Read More Here

Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies & Analyses
Lebanon: A Country Stuck in Multiple Crises
Jatin Kumar

Kumar writes, “Thus, in order to resolve these economic, political, diplomatic and humanitarian challenges, the Lebanese government needs to introduce reform measures immediately, without any further delay. These include restructuring the economic order, ensuring fiscal prudence, reforming the financial sector and recalibrating the monetary policy. Only with such measures in place, the country will be able to attract assistance from international organisations such as the IMF. On the diplomatic front, it is difficult to ascertain whether the resignation of Kordahi will aid in ending the diplomatic crisis, considering the influence of Hezbollah on Lebanese politics as a major source of condemnation by the Gulf countries. Furthermore, the extent and magnitude of the sectarian divide shall also have a major impact on the country through its direct implications for peace and development, thus having domestic and regional ramifications.”
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.