Lebanon Daily News Brief 6/28/2021

Monday, June 28, 2021


Protests Erupt Over the Weekend
Protests erupted in Lebanon this weekend as conditions continue to deteriorate. On Saturday, protesters tried to storm central bank offices and set fire to the entrance of a government office. [France 24] In Tripoli and Sidon, demonstrators showed up throughout the weekend and set up road blocks with burning tires. [AP] The Lebanese army was deployed in response. Nine soldiers and nine civilians have been injured. [Arab News]

Fuel Subsidy Reduction Starts Today
On Friday, Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab approved a proposal to reduce fuel subsidies that would finance fuel imports at a rate of LL3,900 to the dollar instead of the previous rate of LL1,507 to the dollar. [Bloomberg] Today the central bank announced it would open credit lines to import fuel at the LL3,900 rate. [Reuters] Some experts say the price of gasoline is expected to double as a result of the subsidy reduction. [Al Jazeera]

Lawyer’s Office Partially Destroyed by Blast
Sakhr al-Hashem, a lawyer known for taking on controversial cases and counsel to one of the Beirut port explosion detainees, reported that a blast hit his office in Furn el-Chebbak today. The source of the blast is unknown but some reports say it was caused by an electric water heater. [Naharnet]


Lebanon: The Staying Power of the Ruling Caste, and the Stalled ‘WhatsApp Revolution’
Samir Daher

Daher writes: “In my view it is because many, beholden not to the state and its institutions but to their respective clan godfathers – who have engrained in the individual and collective psyche a culture of dependency and cronyism over the values of citizenry – blame political opponents for the nation’s woes, and fear that in the absence of their protective godfathers, the alternative to today’s near collapse could be an even more calamitous fate, an ‘Apocalypse’ of sort…Although the various relief measures go some way in easing the pain of many Lebanese households, the political outcome may be disheartening and could come as a shocking disappointment for those who hope to drive the ruling caste out of power at next year’s elections – were they to be held on schedule – especially under the existing made-to-measure electoral law and the fragmented, ineffectual opposition of the ‘WhatsApp mutineers.’”

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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.