Lebanon Daily News Brief 10/25/2021
Sixty-Eight People Charged over Beirut Clashes
Today 68 people were charged over the deadly clashes in Beirut that killed seven people and left dozens wounded earlier this month. Judge Fadi Akiki issued the charges through the military court with crimes including murder, attempted murder, inciting sectarian strife, unlicensed weapons, and sabotage. [AP] Head of the Lebanese Forces party Samir Geagea has also been summoned for a hearing by Army Intelligence over the clashes. Geagea has denied allegations that the gunmen from the shootings are from the Lebanese Forces. [Reuters]
Higher Judicial Council Urges Bitar to Finalize Investigation
The Higher Judicial Council summoned Judge Tarek Bitar to review the Beirut Port blast investigation process resulting in a meeting with Bitar today. In a statement, the Council said that during the discussion it urged Bitar to complete the investigation, stressing that he should “finalize the investigation as soon as possible according to legal norms, in order to fulfill justice and hold perpetrators responsible.” [Naharnet]
Lebanon Says Formal IMF Negotiations to Start in November
On Friday Lebanon’s Economy Minister Amin Salam said that the government is planning to make progress in formal negotiations with the IMF before the end of the year or early next year. He said they are not expecting funds to be distributed before March elections. Yesterday, Lebanon’s foreign minister added that formal negotiations will likely start in November. [Reuters]
President Aoun Sends Electoral Amendment Back
Last week Lebanon’s parliament voted to hold elections on March 27, but at the end of the week President Michel Aoun sent the amendment on election rules back to parliament for reconsideration. Aoun said in a statement, “shortening the constitutional deadline that comes ahead of the elections exposes the electoral process to the voters absence due to climate and logistical reasons.” [Al Arabiya]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
Is It Even Possible to Segment the Lebanon/Syria Files?
AbiNader writes, “Why are Iranian shipments [of fuel] needed since US partners in the Gulf have more than enough export capacity to take care of Lebanon’s needs? Our diplomatic efforts with the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait should have taken precedence over a pipeline deal that raises sanctions issues and won’t be viable until the end of the year. So what happened, and why isn’t Lebanon supported by its fellow Arabs to counter Iran’s ploy to give Hezbollah bragging rights? This is just another indicator that without a regional strategy and country-specific game plans, the understaffed and under-resourced State Department will not be able to keep up with the twists and turns affecting our interests.”
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.