Lebanon Daily News Brief 12/22/2021

Wednesday, December 22, 2021


Aoun Addresses Cabinet Boycott, Calling it ‘Unacceptable’, While Miqati Cautions Against ‘Worsening Rift’
In a meeting of the Higher Defense Council, President Michel Aoun addressed the boycott of Cabinet sessions by Hizbullah and the Amal Movement, calling it “unacceptable.” [Naharnet] The meeting aimed to address the current crisis, and the recent increase COVID-19 infections in particular. [NNA] Prime Minister Najib Miqati said, “there is fear that calling for a Cabinet session would lead to a rift which we must cooperate to avoid.” He added that, “we’re all negatively affected by its failure to convene and we hope to be soon able to call for a meeting aimed at addressing the urgent issues.” [Naharnet]

Salameh: $12-15 Billion Needed to Kickstart Economy
In an interview with AFP, Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh said, “our quota in the International Monetary Fund is 4 billion,” and elaborated that, “if countries add to it, we could reach 12 to 15 billion, an amount that could help start Lebanon’s recovery and restore confidence.” [France 24]

Gebran Bassil Responds to Constitutional Council, Calling Lack of Decision Politically Motivated by ‘Shiite Duo’
In a press conference yesterday, Free Patriotic Movement leader Gebran Bassil disparaged the Constitutional Council’s recent move to not move forward on an appeal that Bassil’s parliamentary bloc submitted in which they sought to repeal recently approved amendments made to the electoral law in October. According to L’Orient Today, “The council’s failure to reach a decision means the amendments remain effective. The amendments include allowing expatriates to vote from abroad in whichever of the 15 electoral districts in Lebanon from which they hail. If the amendments had been overturned, as the FPM wanted, expatriates would have voted for six MPs in their own, 16th, constituency.” [L’Orient Today]


Washington Awash With Middle East Policy Scenarios
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, The Baghdad Conference brought together major regional players, including Iran, to discuss common economic development opportunities and needs. The US did not participate, but agreements and accommodations emerged from evolving trust among the participants. It is a beginning, and doesn’t rely u the whims of US presidential politics which, in recent years especially, has changed significantly from administration to administration. This has been a consistent weakness in US foreign policy as it is often dependent on policy directives that are prematurely reset with the installation of new Congresses and Presidents, depending on the election cycle. On the other hand, the Abraham Accords require a continued US military presence in the region in order to fulfill its underlying Anti-Iranian platform, since the economic benefits are secondary in the policy priorities. There are credible reasons to condone a militarized US presence in the region as hard power maintains necessary pressure on parties to be supportive or face consequences. This approach, however, must be exercised with careful consideration of US credibility since no president wants to return to a ‘boots on the ground’ scenario anywhere in the Middle East.”
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Violent Beginnings: Children Growing Up in Lebanon’s Crisis

Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid, the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) on Violence against Children, emphasizes, “Lebanon’s crisis threatens the present and the future of millions of children. Ensuring their protection from abuse, harm, and violence and safeguarding their rights are needed more than ever.”

Yukie Mokuo, UNICEF Lebanon Representative says, “Children’s safety and wellbeing are intricately connected to every pillar of a well-functioning society … it takes a village – food, housing, healthcare, regular schooling, thriving families and functioning social services and institutions – to help children grow up free from harm. When society begins to crumble, children are left extremely vulnerable to abuse, violence and exploitation.”
Access the Full Report Here


Israel Knows Attacking Iranian Nuke Program Will Bring War With Hezbollah
Ben Caspit

Caspit writes, “The issue of Iranian or Iranian-proxy retaliation, is crucial. According to Israeli assessments, Hezbollah would respond to an attack on its sponsor by letting fly everything it has in its arsenals, causing unprecedented damage to Israel’s economy and national morale. This weighty question arose previously when Israel was considering whether to strike in Iran almost a decade ago. Netanyahu is remembered as having pushed for a strike with the support of his then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak. But at the moment of truth, Barak changed his mind and ordered the air force to shut down its engines. We are now back at that same point.”
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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.