Lebanon Daily News Brief 11/10/2021

Thursday, November 11, 2021


Court of Appeal Judge Recused from Bitar Case
A judge on Lebanon’s Court of Appeals was notified yesterday of his recusal on the case against Judge Tarek Bitar and his Beirut Port investigation. Judge Habib Mezher reportedly asked Bitar to hand over confidential details of the Port case, a move that violates the probe’s confidentiality according to Beirut-based Legal Agenda. Concerns over the judge’s ties to Hezbollah and Amal have called into question Mezher’s bias as both parties continue to push for Bitar’s removal. [Naharnet]

First Trial for Sexual Harassment Case in Lebanon Begins Today
A new law passed in December of last year criminalized sexual harassment in Lebanon for the first time. Tomorrow, the first trial under this law will begin in what civil society groups hope will set an example of protection and justice for victims of sexual harassment. Before now, sexual harassment was not considered a crime and victims had to sue harassers for threats or defamation. [The 961] The lawyer representing five women who had filed the complaint said, “we want to change the mindset so that victims feel empowered to speak up.” [The National]

Kuwait Investigates Suspects Tied to Hezbollah
After security authorities arrested a group of Kuwaiti citizens accused of working with Hezbollah, Kuwait’s Public Prosecution office is now in the process of investigating them. The group was arrested and held on charges of recruiting people to work with Hezbollah and Hezbollah’s efforts in Syria and Yemen. Kuwait was among the Gulf countries that recalled ambassadors from Beirut over George Kordahi’s Yemen comments. [Al Arabiya]


The National
Lebanon’s Daily Star Paper Should Not Have Ended with a Whimper
Michael Young

Young writes, “The closing this month of the Daily Star, Lebanon’s oldest English-language newspaper, founded in 1952, had a bittersweet feel to it. Bitter, because of the way the publication treated its staff in its final years; sweet, because the Star had built up a noteworthy track record since reopening in 1996, in the midst of Lebanon’s post-war reconstruction, and for a time reflected the optimism in the country’s revival…When political money dried up in the last decade, few Lebanese papers tried to develop an alternative model applicable to the internet age. The Star did attempt to rely on online subscriptions for readers overseas, but the somewhat rigid format it adopted was limited in its appeal. That was a shame, because a restructuring of the paper’s ownership, an injection of cash and a savvy internet and social media strategy might have saved it. The Daily Star should not have ended with a whimper. Many journalists who had drifted through the newspaper expressed nostalgia when they heard the news. That was understandable, but what is less so is how a publication that had, since the early ’50s, chronicled Lebanon’s political and social life should have been allowed to go so unceremoniously.”

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The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies
Transforming Public Procurement: Lebanon’s Path to Efficiency, Social Value, and Transparency
Lamia Moubayed Bissat and Basma Abdul Khalek

Bissat and Khalek write, “July 29, 2021 marked the publication of Public Procurement Law 244/2021 in the Official Gazette. After more than two years of drafting, review, consultation, and parliamentary debate, Lebanon now has a unified public procurement law. With this accomplishment, the country has ticked the first box in a list of structural reforms that are necessary to ensure sound financial governance, foster economic recovery, and improve transparency and accountability. The Constitutional Council’s decision (issued on September 16, 2021) to reject a petition against the law further validated this important reform and the rationale behind it.”

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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.