Lebanon Daily News Brief 11/4/2021

Thursday, November 4, 2021


Prime Minister Miqati Calls For Minister Kordahi’s Resignation
Prime Minister Najib Miqati said on Twitter today that he agreed with President Michel Aoun on a road map to solve an escalating diplomatic crisis with Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries. [Reuters] Following that tweet, Miqati urged Lebanon’s Information Minister George Kordahi to step down and that Kordahi’s resignation is a “priority” to help smooth relations in the Gulf. [AP]

US State Department Encourages Open Diplomatic Channels
Yesterday the US State Department’s spokesperson Ned Price said the United States urges open diplomatic channels between Lebanon and Gulf countries. During the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, State held separate meetings with Prime Minister Miqati and Gulf foreign ministers. Price urged open diplomatic channels in effort to seek improvements to humanitarian conditions in Lebanon. When asked if the US would call for Kordahi’s resignation, Price responded that the department is not going to offer a position on his employment. [US State Department]

UN Special Envoy on Poverty and Human Rights Visits Beirut
Earlier this week UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Olivier De Schutter visited Beirut. De Schutter visited neighborhoods damaged by the Beirut explosion and spoke with residents who complained that there was a lack government social protection programs, inconsistent cash distribution from the army, and general mismanagement in the initiatives taken to help residents. Many, especially those who lost their business in the blast, are concerned about paying rent and high utility costs. De Schutter will also visit Tripoli and the Shatila Palestinian refugee camp and present his findings at a press conference scheduled for November 12. [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.