Lebanon Daily News Brief 1/06/2022
Reconvening of Cabinet In Question, Not for Certain Say Sources
According to Naharnet, several local newspapers and media outlets report that a new settlement regarding the resumption of Cabinet sessions may be underway, potentially even resolved, which could involve an ‘extraordinary legislative session’ in the Lebanese Parliament. “Speaking to Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, Shiite Duo sources said the phone call between Aoun and Berri took place at Miqati’s request and exclusively tackled the issue of launching an extraordinary legislative session. The sources also ruled out a ‘bargain’ between the port probe and government files while describing the Aoun-Berri-Miqati talks as “important.” [Naharnet]
Lebanese Schools, Universities to Reopen
During a joint press conference yesterday between the Health Minister Dr. Firass Abiad and the Minister of Education Abbas Al Halabi, they made an announcement confirming that schools and other educational institutions including universities will reopen on January 10th. Al Halabi added that the ministry will publish the numbers of Covid-19 in each school and education institution and distribute rapid tests to them. [The961]
Family of Amer Fakhoury Suing Lebanon and Its Intelligence Agency
The family of Amer Fakhoury, who worked with an Israeli-backed militia in southern Lebanon until 2000, is suing the government of Lebanon, the General Directorate of General Security and its chief, Abbas Ibrahim, who is known for negotiating prisoner swaps and freeing captives, including US citizens. “By attempting to intervene and appear in the proceedings against Iran, the Lebanese government has become a full-fledged party and has subjected itself to the US Court’s jurisdiction. Thus, the plaintiffs have filed a supplemental complaint naming the Lebanese government as a defendant,” said Amer Fakhoury’s family in an official statement, as cited by Joseph Haboush. [Al Arabiya English]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
What A Mess In Lebanon As Elections Bring Out The Best And The Worst!
AbiNader writes, “In a sign of his frustration, President Aoun has called for an urgent dialogue centered around a financial recovery plan, administrative and financial decentralization, and a national defense strategy, which he said was the state’s responsibility to implement alone. This move hints at emerging friction between him and his allies within the heavily armed Hezbollah . . . At the same time, FPM head Gebran Bassil criticized Hezbollah-affiliated ministers for their role in the continued cabinet stalemate and called into question the viability of the Mar Mikhael agreement linking FPM, Amal, Marada, and Hezbollah. Others within that alliance were quick to defend the agreement but Bassil’s gesture exposes a liability in the current arrangement that may create opportunities for the opposition to take some seats away from the members of the alliance this May.”
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Lebanon’s President Has Leverage But His Alliance With Hezbollah Isn’t Over
Young writes, “After 2005, when Syria’s army was forced to withdraw from Lebanon, those seeking Hezbollah’s negotiated disarmament were frustrated because the party had allied itself with Mr Aoun’s and Mr Bassil’s Free Patriotic Movement. This created a political stalemate in Lebanon that prevented progress in pushing the party to surrender its weapons. It would be premature today to assume that the Aoun-Hezbollah alliance is over. If anything, Mr Aoun is opportunistically holding up the possibility of a divorce to avoid such an outcome by ensuring that Mr Bassil can succeed him. However, for the first time the president has placed the formula for a defence strategy on the table – based on a Hezbollah that must be subordinate to the state, and therefore whose weapons, implicitly, must be integrated into a larger entity that retains paramount responsibility for defending the nation. The party, which is keen on preserving an independent military capability outside the confines of the state, mainly to benefit Iran, is unwilling to enter into a serious national discussion on the matter.”
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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.