Lebanon Daily News Brief 12/7/2021

Tuesday, December 7, 2021


IMF Delegation Arrives in Lebanon
The International Monetary Fund sent a delegation to Lebanon to meet with Prime Minister Najib Miqati today. The delegation will also meet with Lebanese officials and the ministerial committee that negotiates with the IMF to discuss strategies going into 2022. The delegation is led by Ernesto Ramirez. [Reuters]

Parliament Approves World Bank Loan Amendments, Delays Regulating IMF Special Drawing Rights
Today during a session at UNESCO Palace Lebanon’s parliament passed bills that amend the country’s loan treaty with the World Bank. One will support the government’s social aid plan and the other will make banks transfer $10,000 to every Lebanese university student studying abroad. Also during the session Parliament postponed the approval of a draft law that would regulate funds Lebanon received from IMF Special Drawing Rights. [Naharnet]

Beirut Blast Investigation Cleared to Resume
A string of lawsuits filed against Judge Tarek Bitar by those who Bitar had summoned for questioning had suspended the Beirut Port blast investigation for more than a month. Today a judicial source says the last of the suits have been rejected and Bitar is cleared to resume the investigation. Nizar Saghieh from Legal Agenda warns that the resumption of Bitar’s investigation could only be temporary if more legal complaints are filed. [Al Arabiya]


Economic Bits of Interest
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “I am an avid reader of ‘Lebanon This Week,’ a weekly, English-language report published by the Byblos Bank Economic Research and Analysis Department headed by our colleague Nassib Ghobril…There are several items of interest from the November 27, 2021 edition that are worth sharing and analyzing, given what it tells us about the state of ‘resilience’ in the Lebanese economy and whether or not that descriptor is even appropriate. The first note comes from the Milken Institute’s Global Opportunities Index (GOI) which identified the investment climate in 143 countries to help foreign investors decide on where to place their money. In 2021, Lebanon has slid down 19 places, from 87th to 106th worldwide, as well as down two places among Arab countries, now in 10th place…”

Read more here

Arab News
Will Lebanon’s Energy Crisis by solved by Israeli Gas?
Dr. Dania Koleilat Khatib

Khatib writes, “The deal has many dimensions. One is an indirect normalization with Bashar Assad — could that lead to an effort to rehabilitate Assad and push him to break from Iran? Another would be Israel’s indirect normalization, just as it is trying through economic and development projects to break its isolation from the Arab world. The third dimension is preventing a total collapse of Lebanon, as the US does not want to handle the repercussions of such a collapse. Despite all these aspects, one important point remains yet to be highlighted: How can Hezbollah and the Assad regime, whose entire legitimacy is based on resistance to Israel, accept a deal that involves Israeli gas?”

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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.