Lebanon Daily News Brief 11/18/2021

Thursday, November 18, 2021


Aoun’s Party Appeals Electoral Law Amendments
After parliament approved amendments to the 2017 election laws last month, President Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement party lodged an appeal yesterday with the Constitutional Court. The party is arguing against the amendments including the removal of the six additional seats for expat voting and magnetic cards that allow voters to cast their vote in their place of residence. [Arab News]

Lebanon Restricts Travelers to Belarus
Lebanon has imposed restrictions on airlines to limit passengers from traveling from Beirut to Belarus. Only those with visas, residency permits or Belarusian citizenship can fly to Belarus. The restrictions follow accusations that Minsk has made a concerted effort to fly in thousands of Middle East migrants to illegally push them across Belarus borders to punish Europe for sanctions placed on the country. [Reuters]

Garbage Has Begun Piling Up in the Streets
In the midst of Lebanon’s economic crisis, garbage has begun piling up on the streets again as the government struggles to pay its waste management company. Last year in the Beirut Port blast, two sorting plants were destroyed and have yet to be repaired. Environment Minister Nasser Yassin says that he has tried to prioritize the waste problem, but that other feuds between government leaders have taken precedent and they have not met in over a month. [Al Jazeera]


Carnegie Middle East Center
Open Invitations
Michael Young

Young writes, “No one should expect clear or rapid outcomes from the foreign countries seeking stakes in Lebanon. Hezbollah and Iran will fight tooth and nail for every inch of terrain—witness the Iranian foreign minister’s recent efforts to torpedo a French plan to rebuild Beirut port, by offering that Iran do the same and more. Change will require patience by states to use their advantages, while accepting that zero-sum expectations will fail: Eliminating Iran’s sway from Lebanon will not happen, given the large Shia community there. With time, a regional consensus over the country may emerge to stabilize things, similar to the Syrian-Saudi understanding over the Taif agreement.”

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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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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.