Lebanon Daily News Brief 1/5/2023

Thursday, January 5, 2023


January 5th, 2023

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On Thursday, January 19, ATFL and MEI will co-host a webinar where panelists will discuss the paper’s recommendations and identify areas of action for US policymakers at this crucial juncture in Lebanon’s history.

Register Here

The Middle East Institute (MEI) and the American Task Force on Lebanon (ATFL), with 20 co-authors, released the latest joint policy brief, “US-Lebanon Relations: Setting a New International Framework for a More Responsive Government.”

Read the Full Policy Brief Here


Lebanese Military Tribunal Charges Seven Suspects in UNIFIL Attack
According to AP News, “Lebanon’s military tribunal on Thursday charged seven suspects in last month’s attack that killed an Irish peacekeeper when a group of armed local residents ambushed his convoy and opened fire, officials said.” 
[AP News]

Striking Judges Reportedly to Resume Work Gradually
According to L’Orient Today, “Having been on strike since mid-August 2022 to demand a readjustment of their salaries, Lebanese judges will resume their activities gradually, a source at the Judges’ Club confirmed Thursday to L’Orient-Le Jour. However, this source did not give a precise date for the judges’ resumption of work [following a general assembly on Dec. 28, which resulted in promises of new financial aid from the judges’ mutual fund — a decision endorsed by the Ministry of Finance].” [
L’Orient Today]

Families of Port Explosion Victims Threaten to Take ‘Severe Measures’ Next Week
According to L’Orient Today, “Gathered under the Statue of the Emigrant near the port of Beirut on Wednesday, approximately 30 relatives of the victims of the Aug. 4 blast threatened to take “severe measures” next week, while Lebanon’s investigation into the tragedy remains stalled due to political interference.” [
L’Orient Today]

International Dialogue Concerning Lebanese President Unconfirmed, Ongoing
According to Naharnet, “Paris attempts to help Lebanon elect a president are ongoing, diplomatic sources in Paris said, adding that they see no breakthrough on the horizon. The sources told al-Joumhouria newspaper, in remarks published Thursday, that there are no signs of a breakthrough in the presidential file in light of the existing divergence between the politicians.” 


Arab News
Power Struggle: Political Row Threatens Lebanon with Total Shutdown
Najia Houssari

Houssari writes, “Lebanon’s only functioning power plant has been shut down as a result of a worsening political dispute between caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and the rival Free Patriotic Movement, which controls the country’s energy ministry. The closure threatens to plunge Lebanon into almost complete darkness. Electricite du Liban, known as EDL, urged the authorities to solve the issue by opening the necessary credits to unload fuel ships after a row over advanced payments led to a delay in gas oil shipments. The company’s plea came as a shortage of gas oil, the fuel used to power the plants, forced it to shut down the Al-Zahrani site. EDL also said that about 6,000 tons of fuel left in the Deir Ammar power plant could only be used for general maintenance work for the installation’s steam turbine. A political source said that a settlement is unlikely amid the deepening political dispute, with further government paralysis and threats to other essential services a growing possibility. FPM ministers have overseen the Ministry of Energy since 2009.”

Read More Here

L’Orient Today
Can European Judges Investigate Riad Salameh in Lebanon?

Claude Assaf

Assaf writes, “European judges are slated to arrive in Beirut next week to investigate financial malpractice involving Banque du Liban (BDL) governor Riad Salameh. The scheduled visit is sparking controversy among local judicial circles. While some pundits consider the investigation to be legal in the sense that it falls within the framework of the United Nations Convention against Corruption — which Lebanon joined in 2009 — others deem it an encroachment on Lebanese sovereignty. The visit was announced by AFP last week via a judicial official who said delegations composed of prosecutors, investigating judges, and financial prosecutors from France, Germany, and Luxembourg, are scheduled to land in Beirut between Jan. 9 and 20, to investigate embarrassment, illicit enrichment, and money laundering claims. According to the same official, the competent authorities of the three countries have informed Lebanon’s chief prosecutor, Ghassan Oueidate, that the investigations will concern BDL officials and bank managers, in addition to Salameh. A source close to Oueidat’s office, who wished to remain anonymous, told L’Orient-Le Jour that the European magistrates’ initiative is in line with the mutual legal assistance decreed by the UN Convention.” 

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.




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