Lebanon Daily News Brief 10/11/2021

Monday, October 11, 2021


Lebanon’s Electricity Grid Comes Back On After Emergency Fuel Supply
On Saturday, Lebanon’s electricity completely shut down after two main power power plants, Zahrani and Deir Ammar, ran out of fuel. The Lebanese army provided emergency fuel and the electricity grid came back on yesterday. The emergency supplies are expected to only last a few days so Banque du Liban has released $100 million for fuel imports. [New York Times] Today an oil storage tank caught fire when gasoline was being transferred from one tank to another in Zahrani. Firefighters were able to put out the blaze after 66,000 gallons of gasoline burnt out. [AP]

Lebanese Court Rejects Lawsuits Against Judge Bitar
After former Lebanese ministers filed lawsuits against Judge Tarek Bitar requesting his removal, the Court of Cassation rejected the lawsuits. The Court said removing Bitar is not within its authority since he is not one of the Court’s judges. This is the second time the Court has rejected recent lawsuits agains Bitar based on “legitimate suspicion.” The former ministers who filed the complaints did so days before they were scheduled for questioning in the Beirut investigation. [Naharnet]

Prime Minister Miqat Visits Amman
On Sunday Prime Minister Najib Miqati visited King Abdullah II in Amman to discuss regional affairs. Very little about the conversation was released afterwords but King Abdullah was quoted as saying that “Jordan will always stand by the side of Lebanon and its brotherly people.” [AP]


Latest NDI Poll Results Show 45% of Lebanese Don’t Intend to Vote in 2022
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “A key instrument of change that is mentioned in any analysis of Lebanon’s current set of crises and prospects for recovery is the holding of free and fair elections. With the recent rescheduling of the upcoming 2022 elections, shifted from early May to late March, there is an even greater sense of déjà vu that the results will maintain the status quo and not auger a better future for Lebanon. In fact, one analyst suggested that the March date was chosen to thwart an unfavorable shifting in voter registrations, due to take place on March 31. There are many initiatives going on at the same time. Opposition groups are working on a common strategy; old line parties are angling to produce joint lists in order to frustrate the opposition; and indicators show that most people perceive the elections, under the current leadership and system, to be a waste of time.”

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Human Rights Watch
Lebanon: Planning Lapses Endanger School Year

Human Rights Watch warns that Lebanon’s education system is at risk of collapse. HRW suggests that international donors channel aid more directly to schools, teachers, and school-children’s families. Researcher Aya Majzoub said, “The Lebanese government is abandoning schools, teachers, and parents to muddle through the acute economic crisis and the pandemic on their own, exacerbating the inequalities between the few children whose parents can afford a quality education and the many who cannot. There needs to be an all-hands-on-deck response from the government, donors, and the UN to avert a disaster for children and the country.”

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Atlantic Council
Why Israeli Gas and Syrian Sanctions Relief May Turn On Lebanon’s Lights
Matthew Zais

Zais writes, “Before the US and World Bank throw a lifeline to either Assad or Lebanon, they should demand concessions that reduce Iranian and Russian influence in the region. Concessions should include decreased Iranian presence in Syria, a rollback of Hezbollah influence and economic reforms in Lebanon, and the allowance of in-kind gas subsidies rather than cash transfers to Assad. Ideally, the US avoids another regional mistake where the US again forfeits more regional influence and reputation rather than demanding concessions that align with US interests.”

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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.