Lebanon Daily News Brief 11/23/2021
UNICEF Warns Children’s Futures at Stake in Lebanon
UNICEF released a report today that warns that Lebanon’s economic crisis has left some children hungry and without medical care. Some have been forced to drop out of school to help their families. UNICEF’s representative in Lebanon Yukie Mokuo says, “Unless we act now, every child’s future in Lebanon is at stake.” She added, “The government needs to take swift action to safeguard children’s future.” [AP]
Lebanon’s Leaders Meet on Beirut Port Investigation
Lebanon’s top leaders met yesterday to find a solution to issues surrounding the Beirut Port blast investigation and Judge Tarek Bitar. President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Najib Miqati, and Speaker Nabih Berri agreed that the solution should be found through the judiciary and that if the judiciary falls to resolve it, a solution can be found through parliament. [Naharnet]
Russia Sends Beirut Port Blast Images
Following a request earlier this year for satellite images of Beirut’s port before and after the August 4 explosion, Russia has sent the images to Lebanon’s government. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the update after talks with a Lebanese official in Moscow. [Reuters] When asked about the meeting in Moscow, US State Department Spokesman Ned Price reemphasized engagement with France, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf countries. [US State Department]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
Is Hezbollah Overplaying its Hand Inside Lebanon?
Stephanie T. Williams
Williams writes, “As Lebanon prepares for much-needed national elections next year, one can hope that independent candidates representing the cross-sectarian movement that emerged in October 2019 could help change the balance in the parliament. Hezbollah will continue to enjoy substantial support amongst its Shiite base, given the organization’s historical role as protectors of this once-marginalized community, but as their co-religionists recently demonstrated in the Iraqi elections, there are increasing complaints of an overreliance on Iran at the expense of the community’s Arab roots.”
Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington
Why the Gulf States Turned on Lebanon
Ibish writes, “The de facto abandonment of Lebanon by most of the Gulf states has been developing for at least a decade. These countries have long been uneasy with the decisive political power in Lebanon of the pro-Iranian Shia group Hezbollah. Those concerns have been steadily mounting along with the rise of Iran’s regional influence and reach following the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and the successful intervention by Russia, Hezbollah, and Iran in the Syrian civil war beginning in 2015 in support of the Damascus regime. Since the main part of the Syrian conflict has ended with the fall of Aleppo to pro-regime forces, Hezbollah has come to occupy a regional role far beyond its function as a Lebanese political party and militia. It effectively serves as the vanguard of Iran’s extensive network of allied militia groups in Arab countries such as Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, and beyond with a presence and effective role far beyond Lebanon’s borders.”
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.