Lebanon Daily News Brief 11/5/2021

Friday, November 5, 2021


Lebanon and IMF Begin Preliminary Discussions
The International Monetary Fund said yesterday that preparatory discussions on financing for Lebanon have begun. IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice reiterated that “strong policies and reforms” are needed to address Lebanon’s economic and social crises. [Reuters]

Saudi Arabia Import Ban Hits Lebanese Industries Hard
Last week when Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassadors from Beirut it also introduced a full ban on Lebanese imports, having already banned fruits and vegetables. This week businesses across Lebanon are already feeling the impact. Deputy head of the Association of Lebanese Industrialists said in the midst of the country’s economic crisis, industries were oping to boost exports to Saudi Arabia from $240 million to $600 million. “Now, it’s zero,” he says. To get around the ban, some Lebanese companies have already begun moving factories to Oman, Turkey, or Cyprus. [Reuters]

General Joseph Aoun Meets with DOD and Washington Officials
Commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces General Joseph Aoun met with US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark A. Milley yesterday at the Pentagon. Milley and other Department of Defense officials reaffirmed their strong support for the LAF. Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Dr. Mara Karlin also spoke with Aoun and commended the LAF for its role in Lebanon’s internal stability and facilitation in humanitarian efforts. Discussions also covered the importance of respecting the Lebanese people’s right to protest peacefully. Aoun also met with White House and State Department officials as well as members of Congress this week. [Al Arabiya]


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.