Lebanon Daily News Brief 11/3/2021

Wednesday, November 3, 2021


Bahrain Urges Citizens to Leave Lebanon
Amid a growing diplomatic crisis between Lebanon and Gulf countries, Bahrain urged its citizens in Lebanon to leave immediately in a statement put out by Bahrain’s foreign ministry. The Saudi-backed government in Yemen also pulled its ambassador from Beirut today, following Gulf countries’ ambassador-recall last weekend. [Reuters]

Lebanon’s FM Encourages Dialogue with Saudi Arabia
In an interview today Lebanon’s foreign minister Abdallah Bou Habib said that Lebanon is seeking dialogue with Saudi Arabia but that the kingdom’s terms for mending the two countries’ relationship is an impossible task. Saudi Arabia said that its decision to remove its ambassador from Beirut was motivated not just by Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi’s comments, but also by increasing dominance of Hezbollah over Lebanese politics. There has been no dialogue or meetings between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia since the new government was formed under Prime Minister Najib Miqati in September, according to Bou Habib. [Reuters] Meanwhile Lebanon’s Cabinet sessions are not set to reconvene until the issue is resolved. Some parties call for Kordahi’s resignation to help mend relations while others insist he should not. [Naharnet]

US Secretary of State Meets with PM Miqati
Yesterday US Secretary of State Antony Blink met with Prime Minister Najib Miqati on the sidelines of the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow. Blinken reiterated the United States’ support for the Lebanese people, further encouraged government reforms, and emphasized the importance of holding free and fair elections in the spring of 2022. [US State Department]

Daily Star Staff Waiting for Unpaid Salaries
Following The Daily Star’s official closure yesterday, former employees are asking for months of unpaid salaries. Lebanon’s Alternative Syndicate of the Press voiced concern over the matter and condemned The Daily Star’s administration for arbitrary dismissal and for withholding information on when employees will be paid. The syndicate’s coordinator said they will continue to pressure the newspaper through press and social media to compensate employees. [Al Jazeera]


Middle East Institute
Lebanon’s Diplomatic Crisis with the Gulf Escalates
Christopher Abi-Nassif

Abi-Nassif writes, “Gulf partners, some of Lebanon’s closest allies historically and the home of hundreds of thousands of Lebanese expats, have grown disillusioned by the Lebanese political establishment’s inability to contain Hezbollah’s ascendency. No matter their political calculus, however, cutting ties with Beirut — a decision they are fully entitled to make — can only further strengthen the party’s grip over Lebanon. Many will argue that the latter is already lost to Iran anyway, and that attempting to reverse its slide toward the Iranian orbit is futile. But this rhetoric discounts the more than half the country that remains staunchly opposed to Hezbollah’s influence yet disempowered to counter it alone domestically. It’s not that the Lebanese can contain Hezbollah’s dominance but don’t want to. They want to but they can’t. Last week’s diplomatic storm will not help them do any better.”

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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.