Qatar Announces LAF Salary Support of $60 Million The government of Qatar has pledged $60 million to support the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), which will reportedly be used to support soldiers’ salaries. According to Aram Nerguizian of the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Center, “it is the intention of the LAF to deploy the full amount of the Qatari grant to enable a $100 cost-of-living adjustment per LAF household over the next six-to-seven months.” [Reuters]
ISF Uncovers Warehouse Of Subsidized Flour In North Lebanon Yesterday, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF), alongside the Ministry of Economy and Trade announced the discovery of an illegal warehouse containing 27 tons of subsidized flour. Located in Zahriye, Tripoli, one affiliate of the warehouse was arrested as the flour is suspected to have been accumulated there for the purpose of selling it on the black market at a higher cost. [The961]
World Bank Official: Lebanon Among Worst Food-Insecure Countries in Region At a virtual event hosted by the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) today, Haneen Sayed, Lead Specialist on Human Development and Social Protection at the World Bank, said that Lebanon is among the worst food-insecure countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, alongside Syria and Yemen. [Al-Monitor]
New Telecommunications Tariffs in Effect Tomorrow According to L’Orient Today, “The new telecommunications prices come into effect Friday. That means all subscriptions must be paid in dollars using Banque Du Liban’s Sayrafa rate, which as of Thursday stands at LL25,200 to the dollar. In its final session before entering caretaker mode on May 20, Cabinet decided to increase the telecom tariffs for Ogero, Alfa and MTC starting 1 July.” [L’Orient Today]
Lebanese Psychiatric Association: ‘Homosexuality Cannot Be Considered A Disease’, While Hezbollah & Amal Bloc Publicly Condemns Tolerance Following last Saturday’s letter issued by the Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi to the General Directorate of General Security and the General Directorate of the Internal Security effectively banning gatherings that work to ‘promote homosexuality’, the Lebanese Psychiatric Association released a statement saying, “as psychiatrists, we would like to clarify that homosexuality cannot be considered a disease that requires treatment . . . [and encourage] respectful debate [without putting] the welfare and safety of individuals at stake.” [L’Orient Today] While the Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc issued a public statement ‘rejecting any tolerance,’ a Lebanese human rights NGO issued a statement last Saturday stating, “[it is] perplexing why, in a country whose citizens have no electricity, no medication, no access to clean water, and no social security, and 30% unemployment the minister thought to prioritize LGBTQ events as the biggest threat to national security.” [Reuters]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
To Deal Or Not To Deal – The Maritime Boundary Negotiations Adnan Nasser
Nasser writes, “Reports from international media indicate that Lebanon may be ready to consider compromising with Israel over resolution of the disputed areas to achieve a final deal over their shared maritime gas resources. The information was leaked to Reuters by three Lebanese officials with knowledge on the matter. American Senior Energy Advisor, Amos Hochstein is mediating on behalf of the United States since, technically, Israel and Lebanon are still at war and have not participated in direct negotiations that would bring about an acceptable settlement.”
Reuters Analysis: Political And Banking Deadlock May Plunge Lebanon Deeper Into Crisis Timour Azhari and Maya Gebeily
Azhari and Gebeily write, Lebanon’s untamed financial crisis is gathering new menace as it heads into a fourth year, with political paralysis dampening hope of reforms that could unlock foreign support and stave off social turmoil, according to analysts, lawmakers and former officials. The emergency gripping the small country squeezed between Syria and Israel could snowball in the autumn if political rifts deprive the state of an executive authority to enact reforms or agree a deal with the IMF and donor countries, they said.
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.