Lebanon Daily News Brief 12/2/2021

Thursday, December 2, 2021


Registration Open for Lebanon’s Cash Card System
Yesterday Lebanon opened registration for assistance to 700,000 vulnerable families through its new cash card system. The launch comes after months of delay and with only partial funding secured including a $246 million loan from the World Bank. The estimated cost of the cash card program is $546 million to provide up to $126 a month for eligible families. Social Affairs Minister Hector Hajjar said, “these programs are not the solution,” and are only meant to provide temporary relief. [Al Jazeera]

Hezbollah and Amal Ministers Continue to Boycott Cabinet Meetings
Yesterday Prime Minister Najib Miqati met with President Michel Aoun regarding cabinet meetings and told a journalist afterwards, “the government is functioning but the Council of Ministers is not.” [Naharnet] Hezbollah and Amal sources say that their ministers will continue to boycott cabinet sessions until disputes over Judge Tarek Bitar are resolved. [Naharnet]

COVID-19 Prevention Measures Reintroduced This Month
Lebanon’s COVID-19 committee announced yesterday that the country will impose a night-time curfew starting December 17 for non-vaccinated people. The curfew will last for three weeks. Full vaccination will be mandatory for all workers in specified sectors, including health, education, tourism, and public transport as of January 10. [Reuters]


War on the Rocks
Facing Up to Foreign Influence: How Outsiders Helped Create Lebanon’s Current Crisis
Nicholas Noe

Noe writes, “For Western policymakers who claim they want to help the Lebanese people fix their country, acknowledging the failure of previous approaches is the first step toward implementing better ones. A good place to start might be looking back at earlier U.S. wisdom on Lebanon. In the wake of the Eisenhower administration’s 1958 military intervention, the National Security Council recommended that America ‘support the continued independence and integrity of Lebanon’ without becoming too closely identified with individual factions in Lebanese politics. In other words, Washington should ‘provide Lebanon with political support and with military assistance for internal security purposes, stressing our support for the country as a whole rather than for a specific regime or faction.’ There is some evidence that President Joe Biden has started moving in this direction. The administration hasn’t opposed multiple European corruption probes into Salameh or the local case against another longstanding pillar of U.S. policy in Lebanon, former army commander Gen. Jean Kahwaji. Moreover, as of last month, the Biden administration saw fit to sanction businessman and key Saad Hariri backer Jihad al Arab for “endemic” cronyism, the first time Washington has ever taken such a step against a perceived ally in Lebanon.”

Read more here

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.