Lebanon Daily News Brief 11/15/2021

Monday, November 15, 2021


Luxembourg Opens Criminal Case into Riad Salameh
A spokesperson from Luxembourg said today that the country’s judicial authorities have opened a “criminal case” into Lebanon’s Banque du Liban Governor Riad Salameh. This is at least the third European investigation of Salameh after Swiss and French inquires opened up earlier this year over money laundering issues that Salameh denies. [Reuters] The central bank governor was also criticized by UN Special Rapporteur Olivier De Schutter for the central bank’s practices of offering unsustainable high interest rates to depositors throughout the years. [Al Jazeera]

Saudi Arabia FM Says No Engagement with Lebanon Right Now
Calls for the restoration of diplomatic relations between Lebanon and Gulf countries have gone unanswered following a recall of ambassadors from Beirut. Over the weekend Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan-al Saud said that the kingdom does not plan to engage with the Lebanese government at this point in time. He added, “we think that the political class needs to step up and take the necessary actions to liberate Lebanon from the domination of Hezbollah, and through Hezbollah, Iran.” [Reuters]

Digital Currency on the Rise in Lebanon
Digital currency is gaining traction in Lebanon as Lebanese continue to reel from the country’s economic collapse. Several million dollars are exchanged for bitcoin every day in Lebanon, according to data reported by Reuters. Some view crypto-currencies as a safer investment than the Lebanese pound. One professor of finance said, “Yes, bitcoin can lose 30 percent of its value, but the pound has lost 100 percent.” [Middle East Eye]


Eurasia Review
Lebanon is Falling Apart
Neville Teller

Teller writes, “The ruling cliques, dominated by Iran-supported Hezbollah and its allies, are mired in venality, corruption and self-interest…If disaster is to be averted, Lebanon has to find a way to throw off the chains that shackle it to the proxy of a foreign power. The vital question is, can it rid itself of the oppressive dominance of Hezbollah and achieve a corruption-free, democratic future without descending into a new civil war?”

Read more here

The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies
Raising the Alarm: Pervasive Poverty and Vulnerability in Lebanon
Fadi Nicholas Nassar, Sarah Hague, and Walid Sayegh

Nassar, Hague, and Sayegh write in support of UN Special Rapporteur Oliver De Schutter’s visit to Lebanon, “Persistent failures by the Government of Lebanon (GoL) to put the country on the path of recovery have been disastrous. The World Bank has described this lack of action as deliberate, given that interventions to halt the economic decline would have entailed major financial losses by influential individuals and institutions. As a result, the burden of the crisis has been highly imbalanced, falling the hardest on those who were already poor or suffering from previous lifecycle vulnerabilities. With a deeply flawed social protection system, healthcare, education, electricity, clean water, adequate housing, transportation, and decent jobs have become only accessible to the few.”

Read more here

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.