Lebanon Daily News Brief 11/9/2021
Arab League Envoy Backs Calls for Kordahi’s Resignation
Yesterday Arab League envoy Hossam Zaki met Lebanese political leaders in effort to explore resolutions to the escalating diplomatic crisis between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. [AP] Zaki supported calls for Information Minister George Kordahi’s resignation adding that “from the very beginning, the resignation could have defused the crisis.” [Al Arabiya] Sources say today that Kordahi will not submit his resignation over “a mistake he did not commit while being information minister.” [Naharnet]
First Trial for Sexual Harassment Case in Lebanon Begins Tomorrow
A new law passed in December of last year criminalized sexual harassment in Lebanon for the first time. Tomorrow, the first trial under this law will begin in what civil society groups hope will set an example of protection and justice for victims of sexual harassment. Before now, sexual harassment was not considered a crime and victims had to sue harassers for threats or defamation. [The 961]
PM Miqati Says IMF Talks Advancing Well
Yesterday Prime Minister Miqati reported that Lebanon’s preliminary talks with the International Monetary Fund were advancing and going well. He said that a revised financial recovery plan will be ready by the end of the month adding that “for the first time we have handed over unified financial figures.” [Reuters]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
Doing Business in Lebanon – On the Ropes
AbiNader writes, “A business asks itself two questions when looking for new markets: what are my risks, and how do I get my money out? There are no easy answers to these questions when it comes to Lebanon. It all begins with the money: the Lebanese pound. What is it worth, can it be used for purchasing overseas supplies, can it be exchanged favorably with other currencies, and is there a banking system that is reliable and ready to help build businesses? While the Commerce Department Report touches on opportunities for US companies in many areas, they are conditioned upon several fundamental ‘ifs’. For example, if they can get the needed licenses, customs clearances, financing, etc., and if the country adopts the reforms needed to perform as a functioning member of the global economy.”
Carnegie Middle East Center
Beirut for Ma’rib?
Nagi writes, “While Qordahi’s remarks were a pretext for the Gulf states’ actions, their moves appeared to be premeditated and reflected growing Saudi displeasure with Hezbollah’s dominant position in Lebanon, as well as the group’s regional role on Iran’s behalf…The key question today, then, is why did Saudi Arabia escalate the crisis with Lebanon, when Hezbollah’s hostility toward the kingdom was known? A principal reason appears to be Hezbollah’s assistance to the Houthis in their ongoing offensive against oil-rich Ma’rib Governorate, the last stronghold of the Saudi-backed government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi. In recent weeks, the Houthis have taken over districts in the southern part of the governorate and have advanced towards the city of Ma’rib. Saudi media outlets have accused Hezbollah of providing military support to the Houthis. For Riyadh, if Ma’rib were to fall it would pose two major threats. First, it would greatly strengthen the Houthis and, therefore, make them far less likely to accept political compromises that fall short of recognizing their full control of Yemen. And second, the consolidation of Houthi rule on Saudi Arabia’s southern border could potentially allow the Houthis, and beyond that Iran, to use Yemen as a pressure point against the kingdom in the future.”
Uproar Over ‘Hezbollah Pressure’ on Lebanese Military Judiciary
Houssari writes, “The families of those arrested in the Tayouneh violence that occurred on October 14, along with the families of those arrested in the Khalde incident that took place in early August, are up in arms over what they allege are the “biased actions” of the judicial authorities. The families have in recent days been reacting angrily about the lack of arrests of anyone associated with Hezbollah regarding either incident, ‘although the party and its gunmen were clearly involved in both.’ [They] are questioning whether the Lebanese military judiciary is turning a blind eye on those involved in the violence, or if the institution was shaken by the pressure Hezbollah exerts on every aspect of the state.”
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.