Lebanon Daily News Brief 1/05/2022

Wednesday, January 5, 2022


PM Miqati Says Will Convene Cabinet Within Days
After a nearly three month standoff since October, Prime Minister Najib Miqati said after a meeting with President Michel Aoun that the Cabinet will be convened as soon as the 2022 budget is received, which he expects to happen, “within the next two days.” [Reuters]

Lebanese Lira Hits Record Low of 30,000 LL to 1 USD
The pound is trading at 30,000 LL on the black market, reaching a new low in Lebanon’s financial history. [Naharnet]

Labor Minister Opens Investigation Into Suspected Abuse of Migrant Worker in Circulated Video
In a statement, the Minister of Labor Moustafa Bayram announced the opening of an investigation into circumstances surrounding a widely-circulated video online depicting a man dragging a woman presumed to be a migrant domestic worker across the ground by her hair. The statement said, “After watching the video that shows a savage offense against a migrant domestic worker, the minister took initiative and opened a special investigation.” [L’Orient Today]

UNIFIL Urges Investigation Be Conducted on Bint Jbeil Incident 
UNIFIL called on Lebanese authorities to investigate a Tuesday night incident in the southern town of Bint Jbeil in which unknown perpetrators attacked a group of UNIFIL peacekeepers. According to Naharnet, “Local media reported that residents of the southern town of Bint Jbeil scuffled with Irish peacekeepers who they said were taking photographs of residential homes. The reports added that the U.N. force was not accompanied by Lebanese troops.” [Naharnet]



L’Orient Today
Building a Modern Republic
Kulluna Irada

Kulluna Irada writes, “In recent months, there has been a debate on whether the optimal election strategy should involve a large “tent” coalition that includes “traditional” political figures that are part of the opposition, or whether it would be best to form smaller but more homogenous coalitions. Our main role is to help resolve divisions and actively engage as a facilitator/mediator while respecting the positions of the stakeholders. To the extent possible, we favor a unified opposition list (in each of the 15 election districts) with a core that includes as many of the new breed of leaders as possible. We believe this formula has historically proven effective including in recent syndicate elections. In that regard, we’ve been working with our partners to elevate the debate across two axes: first, helping articulate a political vision that truly reflects the October 17th spirit; and second using data and analytics to elucidate the regional- and electoral-law complexities to raise the chances of electoral success.”
Read More Here

The National Interest
Solving Syria’s Crisis Starts with Sanctioning Iranian Oil
Andrew J. Tabler & Matthew Zweig

Tabler and Zweig write, “Iran is sending fuel to Hezbollah because Lebanon is in the midst of a historic economic crisis that has led to a national energy shortage. The Biden administration says it wants to provide relief to Lebanon while showing Iran is not a true friend of the Lebanese people. Sanctioning Lebanese imports of Iranian fuel via Syria would cut off one source of supply, incentivize Lebanese imports from legitimate sources, and prevent Hezbollah from using the country’s energy crisis for its political benefit. Enforcing sanctions on Iranian crude and finished product into Syria would be an important first step to deny the regime its energy lifeline and, combined with other measures, incentivize it to make political concessions as part of UNSCR 2254, including the constitutional committee, release of detainees, and holding free and fair elections.”
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.