Lebanon Daily News Brief 10/22/2021
US Mediator Says Next Round of Maritime Talks Should Be Quicker
Yesterday US mediator Amos Hochstein said from Beirut that maritime border talks between Lebanon and Israel should be a shorter process once started again. “I think in these kinds of efforts what we’ve learned is that if you take a lot of time, it doesn’t happen,” he added. When asked about the Arab Gas Pipeline project to flow gas from Egypt through Jordan and Syria to Lebanon, Hochstein said “this kind of transaction” will not receive sanctions from the US and that the US has informed Egypt that it can move ahead. [Reuters]
Geagea Called in For Statement Over Beirut Clashes
Following last week’s deadly clashes starting at Tayyouneh roundabout, Lebanon’s military court summoned Samir Geagea, leader of the Lebanese Forces, to hear his testimony. [Naharnet] Yesterday Geagea denied that the Lebanese Forces has fighters amid Hezbollah accusations that the group has a militia and is seeking civil war. [Reuters]
Ambassador Shea Inaugurates Pop Up Spaces in Saida
US Ambassador Dorothy Shea inaugurated a Pop-Up Spaces program in Saida today. The program lasts one year and will focuse on empowering youth and young professionals in South Lebanon, North Lebanon and the Bekaa. [US Embassy in Lebanon]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
The National Interest
In Beirut Blast Investigation, Lebanon’s Judiciary is Under Siege
Nasser writes, “In Lebanon, getting to the truth is the fastest way to put yourself in danger, especially when showing the political elite that they are not above the law. That is exactly what Judge Tarik Bitar is doing by fighting for the victims of the August 2020 blast in Beirut’s port that left 200 people dead. His requests to call politicians to answer questions on the details of that horrific day are rattling some political parties to the point that it has led to violence…Lebanon’s judiciary needs full solidarity from its people, the international community, and Lebanese leaders who want to save the country.”
Why Can’t Lebanon’s Leaders Fix Its Economic Crisis?
Adeel Malik and Jamal Ibrahim Haidar
Malik and Haidar write, “With the escalating economic crisis reducing opportunities for political players to distribute wealth, oligarchs have had to seek new funding sources. Support from foreign countries comes in handy. So do leaders’ abilities to extract regulatory fees from the country’s private sector. A handful of politically connected firms have historically captured most market share in gas, pharmaceutical and other import sectors in Lebanon, thereby limiting competition, private-sector development, job creation and economic growth.”
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.