Lebanon Daily News Brief 12/16/2021

Thursday, December 16, 2021


Miqati Reiterates Cabinet Won’t Convene without Prior Agreement
Prime Minister Najib Miqati said, “it is true that the governmental work is continuing through the ministerial meetings we’re holding, or through the competent ministries and administrations, but the absence of Cabinet meetings represents a gap that we’re seeking to address calmly and patiently.” He added that, “calling for a Cabinet session amid the current tense circumstances, and without securing the minimum level of understanding, would stoke the dispute and make things more complicated.” [Naharnet]

Ministry of Interior Orders Deportation of Bahraini Opposition Members
Minister of Interior Bassam Mawlawi on Wednesday ordered the deportation of non-Lebanese members of al-Wefaq, Bahrain’s dissolved opposition group, after some criticized the Bahraini government in a Beirut news conference. Bahrain’s Interior Minister, Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa, called his Lebanese counterpart on Wednesdayto tell him that events such as the al-Wefaq news conference, or Kordahi’s comments, “harm Lebanon and its people.” [Reuters]

Public Transport Drivers Strike Across Lebanon, Blocking Roads
Taxi and public transportation drivers on Thursday staged a strike, blocking several vital roads across Lebanon to press authorities on fulfilling promises of economic support. All roads were reopened around noon local time. [Naharnet]


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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L’Orient Today
Between Aoun And Mikati, Has Paris Made Its Choice?

Salah Hijazi
Hijazi writes, Mikati is obviously the main person to speak to about everything related to the enactment of reforms. French diplomat Pierre Duquesne, who is in charge of coordinating international support for Lebanon, abstained from meeting with the president yesterday, as he has done in previous visits. He did, however, head to the Grand Serail for an encounter with the prime minister. ‘Mr. Duquesne is in charge of a humanitarian and technical dossier, not a political one. He does not have any reason to visit the president,’ said Randa Takieddine, a France-based journalist who closely follows French policy on the Lebanese file. Theoretically, this is entirely logical. Yet, in the Lebanese context, sidelining the president on such an important matter can be seen as problematic. This is true particularly since the head of state has reiterated his willingness to assume a role in this dossier.”
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Al Arabiya English
US Watching Closely As Lebanese Military Court Tries Civilians

Joseph Haboush
Haboush writes, Governments should protect the rights of all persons to voice their views without fear of intimidation, even in cases where we do not agree with those views,’ a State Department official told Al Arabiya English. In Lebanon the Publications Court is where journalists are supposed to face any legal actions. The Military Court was formed to bring legal action against security personnel, but it has often been used against those accused of endangering national security or terrorism…’The use of courts, particularly military ones, to prosecute defamation cases against civilians undermines freedom of expression,’ the State Department official said.”
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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.