Lebanon Daily News Brief 12/15/2021

Wednesday, December 15, 2021


Lebanese Public Prosecutor Orders Arrest of Ali Hassan Khalil Next Year
Lebanon’s public prosecutor on Tuesday instructed the security forces to arrest Ali Hassan Khalil, a former finance minister and right hand man to Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri. As one of several current and former officials charged in connection with the August 4th Explosion, the arrest warrant referred by Judge Tarek Bitar to the security forces on Tuesday called for Khalil, who is also an MP, to be detained once parliament is out of session, which will happen after January 1st according to the constitution. [Reuters]

Gulf Cooperation Council Calls on Lebanon to Curtail Hezbollah, Smuggling
Secretary General Nayef Falah Mubarak al-Hajraf said Lebanon should strengthen its military, prevent Hezbollah from conducting “terrorist operations”, and ensure that arms are limited to “legitimate state institutions.” [Reuters]

Deputy PM Puts Forward Official Figure of Losses, Between $68-69 Billion
Lebanese officials have put forward a figure of losses in the country’s financial sector which are somewhere between $68 billion and $69 billion, according to Deputy Prime Minister Saadeh al-Shami, who cautioned that the figure was based on some assumptions that could change. Agreement on the loss figure is seen as a crucial preliminary step for Lebanon’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). [Reuters]



Lebanon Continues To Leak Talent And Hope
Jean AbiNader

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.”
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Intel: Egypt seeks US sanctions assurance in gas plan for Lebanon

Elizabeth Hagedorn

Hagedorn writes, After a decade of international isolation, Syria’s participation in the four-country gas deal underscores the gradual resumption of ties between Damascus and some Arab states. In recent months, President Bashar al-Assad has hosted Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Damascus and held a phone call with King Abdullah II of Jordan.”
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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.