Lebanon Daily News Brief 10/13/2021

Wednesday, October 13, 2021


Cabinet Session to Discuss Bitar is Postponed
Heightened tensions over the Beirut Port blast investigation led to the postponement of today’s scheduled cabinet session that was supposed to discuss disputes over Judge Tarek Bitar’s probe. An official source told Reuters that a framework is being designed on how the cabinet should address the dispute. [Reuters]

US Reiterates Support for Judicial Independence in Lebanon
Spokesperson Ned Price reiterated yesterday that the State Department opposes “intimidation of any country’s judiciary” and that the US supports Lebanon’s judicial independence. Price added, “judges must be free from threats and intimidation, including Hezbollah’s.” [State Department] Hezbollah lawmaker Hassan Fadlallah responded today by accusing the United States of interfering in Lebanon’s port investigation. [AP]

Lebanese Pound Drops Back Down to 20,500
The Lebanese pound is dropping again after recent events in Lebanon. The pound hit a record low at LL23,000 to the dollar on the black market this summer, but the value was brought up to LL15,000 after Lebanon’s new government was formed following a year of deadlock. Today, the pound is back down to LL20,500 to the dollar on the black market. [Al Arabiya]


Carnegie Middle East Center
Kingdom Come
Michael Young

Young writes, “The maximalist Saudi position with regard to Lebanon is not only a case of political opportunity cost, it is creating a situation that is only bolstering Hezbollah’s and Iran’s hegemony. What is most disturbing is that such an approach hews closely to the line of conservative politicians and think tanks in Washington, who cannot see that their harsh recommendations for Lebanon will lead to the very outcomes they purportedly want to avoid. Politics is about acquiring leverage, not killing the baby. Lebanon’s ties to Saudi Arabia are essential, but Riyadh should recognize that the best way of making this clear is to compel Iran and Hezbollah to give the kingdom a seat at the table.”

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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.