Lebanon Daily News Brief 6/30/2021
Parliament Approves Ration Cards for Lebanese Families
Parliament approved a cash subsidy for poor families in Lebanon during a legislative session today. The cost falls at $556 million annually. [Reuters] The cash subsidies will be distributed as ration cards to hundreds of thousands of families. The ration cards are meant to support Lebanese as the government lifts essential subsidies. [The Daily Star]
US, France, and Saudi Arabia Discuss Lebanon at G20
Yesterday on the sidelines of G20 meetings, the United States, France, and Saudi Arabia held an impromptu meeting on Lebanon. The three countries discussed the need for pressure on Lebanon’s political leaders to implement overdue reforms as the country faces dire conditions. [Al Arabiya]
Lebanon Might Receive $900 Million From the IMF
Caretaker Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni announced today that Lebanon might receive $900 million from the International Monetary Fund in two months. The funding would come through the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights which is used to supplement official exchange reserves assets of IMF member countries. [The 961] Wazni explained, “This allocation is Lebanon’s share from the IMF and has nothing to do with the negotiations with the fund.” The central bank can use the $900 million for economic recovery but not to subsidize basic items. [The Daily Star]
Turkish Company Resumes Electricity Supply to Lebanon
After shutting down its power ships in May due to late payments, the Turkish company Karpowership said it will resume its electricity supply to Lebanon. Two power ships will be turned back on in a “goodwill gesture.” [Reuters] When the company cut off its electricity supply in May, it said it was owed more than $100 million from Lebanon and had not been paid in 18 months. [BBC]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
The National Interest
Lebanon’s Collapse Risks Wider Regional Strife
Nasser writes: “Lebanon’s collapse could set off a chain reaction of events that further destabilize the region. Just as in Syria, Lebanese groups with outside backing will find themselves on opposite sides of a conflict that will certainly spill into neighboring countries. State fragmentation could fracture domestic alliances founded upon personal advancement within the state—the foundations of which could cease to exist should that state collapse. Essentially, the old approach of blaming opposing parties could regress into violence.This would have a profoundly negative impact on both Lebanese society and regional stability efforts, such as the recent dialogue between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Further, the mass displacement of potentially millions of people would have significant international implications for a world that has already rejected a massive influx of displaced Syrians over the last ten years. In simple terms, the region and world cannot afford the combined shock of state collapse in both Syria and Lebanon, nor the subsequent impact on efforts to stabilize conditions in the Middle East.”
Lebanon’s Finest or Final Hour?
Nasser writes: “Now, facing the worst crisis in its recent history, the Lebanese must ask themselves how they can ensure the mistakes of the Cedar Revolution are not repeated. Lebanon’s October protest movement awakened a cross-sectarian demand for dignity in life and accountability in government. For the Lebanese protesters to achieve victory, they must never allow discredited politicians to return to power based on divisive sectarian politics. The dark days of a Lebanon ethnically and religiously split must be put to rest. Whether or not the Lebanese people will reject those who have looted their country for decades and unite around a common identity remains to be seen.”
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.