Lebanon Daily News Brief 10/21/2021

Thursday, October 21, 2021


US Envoy Assures Gas Suppliers Shielded From Caesar Sanctions
Lebanon’s energy minister said yesterday after meetings with US envoy Amos Hochstein that Hochstein assured him those involved in the Arab Gas Pipeline project from Egypt through Jordan and Syria to Lebanon will be shielded from US Caesar sanctions. [Reuters] US Congress members spoke out against any move that would establish ties with Assad, expressing concerns that it would “legitimize cruelty” in Syria. [Al Monitor]

Lebanon Raises Fuel Prices, Lifting Fuel Subsidy
Yesterday Lebanon increased fuel prices by about 25 percent. This latest price raise effectively removes all subsidies on fuel bringing the new price to 312,700 Lebanese pounds per 20 liters. This is almost half of Lebanon’s monthly minimum wage. [AP] Protests across Lebanon have started in response to the price increases including demonstrations that have blocked off roads in Saifi, Karantina, Dora, and Tripoli. [The 961]

Human Rights Organization Concludes Syria not Safe for Return
Human Rights Watch released a report this week titled, “Our Lives Are Like Death: Syrian Refugee Returns from Lebanon and Jordan.” The report concluded that Syria is not safe for the return of refugees. HRW detailed cases of arrest and arbitrary detention, torture, kidnappings, extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and sexual violence for those who returned to Syria. [HRW]


The Washington Institute for Near East Policy
Amid Beirut Clashes, Lebanese Investigators Need Protection
Hanin Ghaddar

Ghaddar writes, “Ensuring that the election takes place on time and under international supervision is vital. This is not enough, however—the international community must also help protect those in Lebanon who have the courage to stand up to the political establishment, taking steps that shield them from violence, arrests, random interrogations, and threats. Shia politicians who are running against Hezbollah need additional protection as well, and the LAF is the only institution capable of providing it. Washington should therefore consider using its security assistance program to the LAF as a means of leveraging such protection ahead of the election.”

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Firefight on Beirut Streets is a Warning to US and Lebanon
Steven Howard

Howard writes, “Onlookers have warned about increasing instability in Lebanon in recent years. While the US has strongly supported security and humanitarian assistance for Lebanon, multiple administrations have attempted to pivot away from the Middle East to East Asia. The October 14 clashes are the latest reminder that proactive action must be taken immediately to alleviate the suffering of the Lebanese people and to reform their political system. The US must prioritize combating corruption and incentivize reform in Lebanon. The clock is ticking.”

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Middle East Institute
Making Sense of the Beirut Clashes
Christophe Abi-Nassif

Nassif writes, “If there’s one key takeaway from [last] week’s developments, it’s that observers, both domestic and foreign, should keep their eyes on the ball: shielding the port blast investigation and ensuring it continues unabated. Lebanon’s political establishment has mastered the art of diversion and manipulation, and Lebanese political parties are once again leveraging religious affiliations, identity politics, and threats of civil war to divert attention away from a publicly supported investigation that may implicate nearly all of them. For years, politicians have cemented their favorite, forcibly imposed tradeoff: civil peace and stability vs. justice and accountability. This approach has generally been successful — more particularly since the general amnesty law was passed in 1991 — and has often resulted in inconclusive or botched investigations as well as political reconciliations that favored maintaining the status quo over finding and acting upon the truth.”

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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.