Lebanon Daily News Brief 7/14/2021

Wednesday, July 14, 2021


Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri Submits New Cabinet Proposal
Today Prime Minister-designate Saad al-Hariri submitted a new cabinet proposal to President Michel Aoun in effort to break months of political deadlock. His proposal includes a 24-member cabinet made up of specialist technocrat ministers. President Aoun is expected to respond to the new cabinet line-up tomorrow. [Reuters] Earlier today, Egypt asked Hariri to not give up on forming a government. [Al Arabiya]

IMF to Allocate $860 Million to Lebanon in Special Drawing Rights
The International Monetary Fund will give $860 million to Lebanon in Special Drawing Rights over the next two months according to a statement from President Michel Aoun’s office. Caretaker Finance Minister said in June that the money will go to the Central Bank’s foreign currency reserves and will not subsidize basic goods. The statement from Aoun’s office also said that an economic recovery plan would be implemented after the formation of a new government. [The Daily Star]

Protesters Demand Immunities Surrounding Beirut Port Blast To Be Lifted
Yesterday families of Beirut port blast victims protested outside caretaker Interior Minister Mohamad Fahmy’s residence after Fahmy rejected Judge Tarek Bitar’s request to question General Security Chief Major-General Abbas Ibrahim. Protesters and activists are calling for the immunities given to Lebanese officials surrounding the Beirut port blast investigation to be removed. As some protesters climbed the walls in an attempt to break in, security forces responded with force using batons and tear-gas. [Al Jazeera] Today President Michel Aoun said there would be no political cover for those negligent or guilty but did not address Fahmy’s rejection of Judge Bitar’s request. [AP]


The Hill
The US Should Make a Stand in Lebanon to Push Back Against Iran’s Ambitions
Russell A. Berman

Berman writes, “Lebanon is facing a dangerous combination of accelerating crises — economic, political and societal. Although Lebanon is a small country, important issues for U.S. national interest and geo-strategy are at stake. Yet, currently, American Middle East foreign policy is devoted to the single obsession of the Iran negotiations, leaving little oxygen for other matters. This is a mistake. The Biden administration should develop a more nuanced engagement with the region and especially a robust response to Lebanon’s pending collapse.”

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Now Lebanon
The American University of Beirut, US Soft Power in Crisis
Makram Rabah

Rabah writes, “AUB should not be allowed to become collateral damage to the decrepit political system that surrounds it, and the duty of its preservation rests on its 70,000 alumni, as well as the Lebanese and the international community. What is required is not merely the financial subsidies to ensure the continuity of the educational institution, but above all a renewal to the commitment of protecting AUB from the current Lebanese political turmoil and support the next generation of graduates who will build their future country and prevent it from being governed by people who are politically, and above all, morally bankrupt. However one wishes to read the history of AUB, it confirms how liberal values and Western soft power can be more transformative and rooted tools of change in a region that has unfortunately been forced to get used to conflict as a way of life.”

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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.