Lebanon Daily News Brief 10/8/2021

Friday, October 8, 2021


Three Former Ministers File Lawsuits Against Bitar Before Their Scheduled Questioning
Three former ministers filed lawsuits requesting Judge Tarek Bitar’s removal days before they were scheduled for interrogation in Bitar’s port blast investigation. The three former ministers argue a new judge should replace Bitar due to “legitimate suspicion” and violations of the constitution. These complaints follow the Court of Cassation’s rejection of two other recently filed lawsuits that resulted in the suspension of Bitar’s efforts for a week until the court reached its decision. This new round of lawsuits will likely require the suspension of the port investigation again. [The Daily Star]

Central Bank Denies Swiss Report on 2016 IMF Paper
The Swiss newspaper Le Temps recently reported that 14 pages of information indicating Lebanon’s coming financial collapse was removed from a 2016 IMF report at the direction of Banque du Liban governor Riad Salameh. Today BDL denied the allegations. IMF rules say that deletions are permitted for information that has not already been made public and that is highly sensitive to the market. [Reuters]

Iranian FM Announces Continued Fuel Shipments
Today Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian announced that Iran will continue to send fuel shipments to Lebanon through coordination with Hezbollah. He added that Tehran is ready to send essential items including medicine. [Naharnet]


Atlantic Council
Why Israeli Gas and Syrian Sanctions Relief May Turn On Lebanon’s Lights
Matthew Zais

Zais writes, “Before the US and World Bank throw a lifeline to either Assad or Lebanon, they should demand concessions that reduce Iranian and Russian influence in the region. Concessions should include decreased Iranian presence in Syria, a rollback of Hezbollah influence and economic reforms in Lebanon, and the allowance of in-kind gas subsidies rather than cash transfers to Assad. Ideally, the US avoids another regional mistake where the US again forfeits more regional influence and reputation rather than demanding concessions that align with US interests.”

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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.