Lebanon Daily News Brief 11/2/2021

Tuesday, November 2, 2021


US Senators Urge Sanctions Framework for Lebanon
US Senators in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urged the Biden administration to further develop a sanctions framework on Lebanon. Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Jim Risch (R-ID) wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen that the United States should be clear that it supports the Lebanese people by “ensuring that Lebanese leaders work on behalf of all Lebanese and that they will face accountability if they do not.” The letter supported sanctions placed on two Lebanese businessmen and an MP last week, but called for more. [Al Arabiya]

Macron Urges Gulf Countries to Recommit to Lebanon
After Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait pulled their ambassadors from Beirut, French President Emmanuel Macron has called on the Gulf countries to “recommit to Lebanon” in aim of pressing the country forward toward reforms. Macron reiterated his support for Prime Minister Najib Miqati and said he hopes Cabinet sessions will resume soon despite Lebanon’s diplomatic crisis with the Gulf. [Naharnet]

US Ambassador Overseas Medication Donations
US Ambassador Dorothy Shea oversaw a donation to the Hôpital Psychiatrique de la Croix made possible by Direct Relief International, People to People Aid, and the American Task Force on Lebanon. The donation included medications that were part of a $1 million shipment of psychotropic medications sent from the United States. [US Embassy Beirut]


Associated Press
Why Saudi Arabia is Upset, Lashing Out at Lebanon
Sarah El Deeb

El Deeb writes, “The Saudi measures are a huge blow to Mikati’s new government. The import ban means the loss of millions of dollars in desperately needed foreign currency. Any further escalation could undermine jobs of more than 350,000 Lebanese in Gulf Arab states who send home millions in remittances. Mikati and other officials have appealed to Kordahi to resign from the Cabinet, but it’s uncertain that would resolve the rift. Hezbollah has stood firmly behind the minister, saying his resignation won’t resolve what they called “extortion” to force Lebanon to change its foreign policy. It all portends more internal divisions in a government already paralyzed over the investigation into last year’s massive Beirut port explosion that killed more than 200 people.”

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L’Orient Today
Protecting Justice From Political Interference
Aya Majzoub

Majzoub writes, “We have found no evidence to suggest that Bitar is politicizing the Beirut blast probe. Yet, Hezbollah and the rest of the political establishment have upped the ante by demanding nothing less than Bitar’s removal from the case in a bid to undermine the investigation. The question is why. Yes, the investigation has implicated some Hezbollah members and their allies, as well as individuals from many of the major political parties in the country. But the course of this investigation also has implications for the future of justice in the country – which is why it must continue. Public, fair trials of those responsible for the Beirut blast could shatter the reigning culture of impunity in Lebanon. Fundamentally, the success or failure of the investigation will make clear if Lebanon is a country with rule of law, including against senior political and security officials who belong to powerful and previously untouchable political parties.”

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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.