Lebanon Daily News Brief 11/17/2021

Wednesday, November 17, 2021


UNICEF Delivers 97 Tons of Lifesaving Medical Supplies
Through funding from the US government, UNICEF has delivered 97 tons of lifesaving medical supplies to Lebanon’s Ministry of Public Health. [US Embassy Beirut] The delivery arrives as medicine prices in Lebanon skyrocket again following a lift on most drug subsidies. [The National]

Riad Salameh Pushes Back on Investigations
Today central bank governor Riad Salameh disputed investigations into his money dealings led by Switzerland, France, and now Luxembourg. He said in a statement that during his tenure he asked for an audit of his transactions and investments and the results show that “not a single penny of public money” was used. [AP]

Iraq Approves 500,000 Tons of Gas Oil to Lebanon
Yesterday Iraq approved an agreement to send Lebanon 500,000 tons of gas oil. The export follows a July deal between the two countries where Lebanon would pay in goods and services for 1 million tons of fuel oil a year. [Reuters]

Protests for Family Members Arrested Following Beirut Port Blast
Following last year’s explosion at Beirut Port, Lebanese authorities arrested the port manager and more than 20 port and customs officials. Today families of those arrested protested outside of Beirut’s Justice Palace with demands to release their loved ones. Those arrested have remained imprisoned meanwhile nobody has yet been convicted for the blast. [Al Monitor]


Poverty as Politics: Lebanon Runs on Empty
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “Despite the repeated warnings and admonitions to Lebanese leaders, they seem immovable in terms of moving ahead with painful yet necessary reforms. PM Najib Mikati’s agenda for pushing the political process forward to launch even simple reforms is in peril as the opponents of change are deliberately obstructing the few steps he is proposing. The indication from the World Bank is that Lebanon may need 12 to 19 years to recover to its pre-crisis per-capita GDP, and that is only one indicator of quality of life. It is indeed the darkest of times for Lebanon and its people.”

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The Lebanese Center for Policy
Tackling Lebanon’s Electricity Crisis: Lessons from Yemen
Neil McCulloh

McCulloh writes, “Lebanon’s electricity system is in a deep crisis. Power from Electricite du Liban (EDL)—the insolvent state-run utility—is now available for barely two hours a day, as the population has to rely on increasingly expensive diesel generators for power. In light of this crisis, it is useful to learn lessons from other countries that have faced similar circumstances. One such country is Yemen. Lebanon’s situation is, fortunately, not yet as dire as that facing the people of Yemen, where war has been raging since 2015. But the very different responses to the collapse of Yemen’s electricity system from the two authorities fighting for control over the country reveal some important and relevant lessons for Lebanon. This brief outlines the Yemeni experience following the collapse of its electricity sector and derives lessons to be learnt for Lebanon. It discusses the approaches taken by the authorities controlling different parts of the country to address a near breakdown in service, notably the Houthi administration in the North, who fully liberalized the market, and the Internationally Recognized Government (IRG) in the South, who maintained a state monopoly on energy production and a highly subsidized tariff.”

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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.