Lebanon Daily News Brief 10/7/2021
Iranian Foreign Minister Visits Beirut
Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met with Lebanese officials in Beirut today. In a discussion with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, FM Amir-Abdollahian discussed ongoing talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia and their “positive” effects. He also blamed regional instability on foreign troops based in the Middle East. [AP] He further expressed Iran’s willingness to rebuild Beirut’s port and that Iranian firms are ready to build two power plants in Lebanon within 18 months. [Naharnet]
Miqati Signs Bill to Lift Immunities Surrounding Blast
Yesterday Prime Minister Najib Miqati announced in a Sky News Arabia interview that he has signed a bill that removes immunities from “everyone” who might hold responsibility for the Beirut Port explosion. He added that the constitution dictates that senior government officials must be tried in front of a special tribunal. It has been more than a year after the port blast and no senior official has been held accountable. [Reuters]
Lebanese Government to Officially Communicate with Syria
For the first time since the eruption of Syria’s civil war in 2011, Lebanon’s government appointed one of its members to communicate with Damascus. After industry and agriculture ministers signaled that exports face difficulties because of high costs, Public Works and Transport Minister Ali Hamiyeh added the high costs are due to high fees on Lebanese trucks that travel through Syria to other countries. Prime Minister Miqati then asked Hamiyeh to work with the Syria to find solutions and at Hamiyeh’s insistence it became an “official authorization” to open communications. [Naharnet]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
National Democratic Institute
No More Politics As Usual: Lebanese Unite Behind Major Reforms
The National Democratic Institute recently released key findings from their quantitative and qualitative public opinion research in Lebanon in partnership with InfoPro Research. The key themes include lack of trust in political representatives and governing institutions; urgency placed on economic assistance and structural reform; belief that meaningful change will not come from elections but from systemic change; a review of the 2019 protests; and that civil society, especially women and youth, will be instrumental to reform.
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.