Lebanon Daily News Brief 12/14/2021
French Court Orders Lebanese Saradar Bank to Pay $2.8 Million to French-Based Client
“The Nov. 19 ruling, not yet published but seen by Reuters, orders Lebanon’s Saradar Bank to pay the Syrian claimant all the funds she had deposited in two accounts at the bank in 2014.” The court order pertaining to deposits worth $2.8 million is the first-known international ruling against informal capital controls undertaken by Lebanese banks since 2019. [Reuters]
TotalEnergies Agrees to Preliminary Study for Zahrani Power Plant
According to the Lebanese Energy Ministry, French energy group, TotalEnergies, has agreed to conduct a technical and financial preliminary study, a major initial step to building a floating regasification unit in Lebanon’s Zahrani power plant. The Ministry added that the plant’s annual gas capacity of 650 million cubic meters will rise to 1.4 billion cubic meters should the new unit be built. [Reuters]
President Aoun Calls for Cabinet Session, ‘Even if It Gets Boycotted’
“The (government’s) paralysis cannot persist,” President Aoun said, adding that, “there are matters that need to be addressed.” The President also said, “the elections will take place,” claiming that, “there will be an agreement on holding the elections in May.” [Naharnet]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
Lebanon Continues To Leak Talent And Hope
AbiNader writes, “What is different about the latest waves of emigration are the low levels of those wanting to leave who say they are not interested in returning. It will be illuminating to break down this data by sectarian affiliation as the number of Sunni wanting to leave is increasing which may ultimately change their demographic in Lebanon. According to the Gallup World Poll cited earlier, ‘The desire to leave Lebanon cuts across major Lebanese communities. Notably, more Muslims than Christians in Lebanon tell Gallup they would like to leave the country (67% vs. 57%). The exodus of Middle Eastern Christians from the historical cradle of Christianity has accelerated in recent decades because of conflict and instability in countries that held significant Christian populations in the not-distant past.”
Will Lebanon’s Economic Crunch Stir Demographic Change?
Hamdan writes, “The emigration of Lebanese, especially Christians, raises concerns in Lebanon in terms of the demographic change that it may lead to, in light of the economic crisis that the Lebanese have been experiencing for nearly two years.”
Macron, MBS, Hezbollah: Behind the Scenes of a Play in Three Acts
Rabih writes, “For MBS, however, Lebanon is under Hezbollah’s thumb, which poses a threat to the security of Arab countries and plays a role in captagon trafficking to the Gulf. Yet, Macron was able to push him to make a concession: A phone call to Mikati from the French president’s personal phone. Macron reportedly exchanged a few words with the Lebanese premier before passing the phone to MBS. The rest of the story has two contradictory versions.”
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.