Lebanon Daily News Brief 11/28/2022

Monday, November 28, 2022


November 28th, 2022

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US Congressional Delegation Visits Lebanon
According to the L’Orient Today,
California representatives Mark Takano and Katie Porter, as well as Colin Allred of Texas — all three of them members of the Democratic Party — visited caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and caretaker Foreign Affairs Minister Abdallah Bou Habib Monday morning, the Grand Serail stated. They were accompanied by the US Ambassador to Lebanon, Dorothy Shea. The group went to Ain al-Tineh in early Monday afternoon to speak with Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri.”
[L’Orient Today]

Caretaker Prime Minister Mikati Reiterates Support for Sleiman Frangieh
According to L’Orient Today, “Following his announcement two weeks ago, [Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati] reiterated on Sunday evening his support for Sleiman Frangieh’s candidacy for the Lebanese presidency, suggesting that the leader of the Marada Movement and Hezbollah’s preferred candidate in the presidential election could even be supported by Sunni MPs.” [L’Orient Today

BDL Completes Audit of Gold Reserves
According to L’Orient Today,
 “Banque du Liban completed an audit of its gold reserves, including “coins and bullion,” by a “specialized” international company, the bank said in a statement Thursday. The audit was part of a slew of International Monetary Fund demands for reform to Lebanon’s economy in exchange for a multi-billion-dollar assistance package agreed upon in April.” [L’Orient Today

Two Newly Elected MP’s Lose Seats Following Constitutional Council Decision
According to AP News, “Two newly elected Lebanese lawmakers, including an activist who had pledged to fight corruption, lost their parliament seats on Thursday following an appeals process before the country’s constitutional council.” [AP News]


Lebanon – A Food Desert
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “A food desert is commonly defined as a geographic area where residents have few to no convenient options for securing affordable and healthy foods . . . At this point, Lebanon has certainly become a beggar state. Remittances from overseas remain the most important lifeline for many, if they can navigate the opaqueness of the banking system and Central Bank rules. Without an executive government and a parliament unable to elect a new president, the country is languishing. While those with means survive, more than 75% of the population remain in poverty, unable to sustain a quality of life with adequate access to food, education, medicines, and social services. State institutions, the banking sector, and public services are all in disarray . . . Given its political structure, the very nature of assistance to Lebanon gets called into question when well-intentioned initiatives and programs – like the ESSN cash-assistance program that is actionable and immediate – prove susceptible to corruption. When Lebanon’s friends outside the country are seemingly more concerned about Lebanon’s future than its current leadership, a deeper dilemma emerges regarding how much change it will take for Lebanon to become a viable, sovereign, and self-sufficient state. We’re still waiting for that answer.”

Read More Here

How Does The Captagon Act Help Lebanon?
Steven Howard

Howard writes, “Captagon is a stimulant popular both in the Levant and in the Gulf. Its effects take about an hour to kick in and it gives one a sense of alertness or euphoria. For this reason, it is routinely used by combatants in the region’s conflicts, partygoers in the wealthy Gulf States, or those struggling to make a living . . . Lebanon’s key vulnerability in this situation is its border with Syria. Recent efforts to establish a shared maritime boundary between the two countries are encouraging.  However, more must be done to secure Lebanon’s land border with Syria as well. The LAF has called for an additional border unit and less political interference to be able to secure more of Lebanon’s borders. Increased support to the LAF is a crucial element to combating regional drug trafficking . . . Hopefully the Captagon Act [introduced by Rep. French Hill (R-AR) with 17 bipartisan sponsors] will become law [and launch an interagency strategy to destroy the Assad regime-backed network]. When it does, Lebanon will be at the centerpiece of US strategy to counter the trade, and the Lebanese people would greatly stand to benefit.”

Read More Here

Newslines Institute for Strategy and Policy
Lebanon’s Security Forces Struggle with Compounding Crises
Anthony Elghossain

Elghossain writes, “Since the October Revolt of 2019, Lebanese security forces have been struggling to manage compounding crises in their country. The Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and Internal Security Forces (ISF) have increasingly stood between Lebanese leaders, factions, militias, criminals, and people. In doing so, they have had to remain loyal to the republic, within which they must operate despite its deep flaws; work under leaders who claim privileges and perks while abdicating duties and responsibilities yet remain powerful; and serve and protect– but also clash with – Lebanese people with whom soldiers and police have much in common.”

Read More Here

The Hill
Can A New President Save Lebanon?
Patricia Karam

Karam writes, Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun recently vacated the presidency after six years in office, leaving behind constitutional chaos and a political vacuum at the top of a collapsing country. Five sessions in parliament have failed to elect a successor due to ceaseless bickering among a fractured ruling establishment and the unabashed obstruction of this vote by Iran-backed Hezbollah, the main power broker in Lebanon . . . Lebanon’s parliament can now do nothing except elect a president; to be successful, a candidate needs to first secure two-thirds of MPs’ support. Lebanon has been without a functioning government since the May parliamentary elections as factions, once again, were unable to agree on its composition. And the past six years are anything if not an indication that no president can be elected without the backing of Hezbollah, which holds a majority of seats in parliament.”

Read More Here


ATFL Internship – Winter 2023

ATFL’s internship program will seek to provide young adults passionate about US-Lebanon relations with the opportunity to serve with the leading US organization promoting closer US-Lebanon relations. The internship will provide adults the opportunity to learn about the US government policy making as it relates to foreign policy. Interns will also be able to gain valuable professional experience working directly with an ATFL staff member.

Interns are expected to work at least 15 hours per week for a minimum of a three-month period. Interns should be based in the Washington, DC metropolitan area so that they can participate in ATFL’s hybrid, remote and in-person, schedule and take advantage of all of the opportunities that this region offers.

This internship is not paid; however, ATFL is prepared to confer academic credit to those who complete the program.

Interested candidates should send their resume and cover letter to steven.howard@atfl.org by December 2nd, 2022. 

Learn More on ATFL's LinkedIn Page
Learn More on ATFL’s LinkedIn Page

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.




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