Lebanon Daily News Brief 7/15/2021

Thursday, July 15, 2021


PM-designate Hariri and President Aoun to Meet Over New Cabinet Line-up
After Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri submitted a new cabinet proposal to President Michel Aoun yesterday, the two will meet today to review the line-up and continue consultations. [The Daily Star] There may be some discrepancies between the two regarding interior, foreign, and defense portfolios. [Naharnet]

General Says the LAF Needs $100 Million to Cover Soldier’s Basic Needs
Brig. Gen. Youseef Haddad recently told CNBC that the Lebanese Armed Forces need $100 million immediately to cover soldiers’ basic needs. He added that by September the army will be in “critical condition.” Because of Lebanon’s currency devaluation, each LAF soldier’s salary of $84 per month is below the poverty line. [CNBC]

Severe Medical Shortages Are Taking a Toll on Lebanese
The medicine shortage in Lebanon is its toll on the Lebanese population. Last weekend, outrage ensued after a 10-month old girl died because of medical shortages at the hospital. All nearby pharmacies were closed. The central bank owes millions of dollars to foreign suppliers while drug importers say Lebanon has exhausted its medicine supplies. [Al Arabiya]

Amnesty Calls For Immunities to be Removed
Following protests by the families of Beirut Port explosion victims, Amnesty International has called for the immunities placed on Lebanese officials to be lifted surrounding the August 4 event investigation. Lynn Maalouf said for Amnesty, “The protesters’ demand is simple: let justice take its course. We stand with these families in calling on Lebanese authorities to immediately lift all immunities granted to officials.” [Amnesty]


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.”

Read more here

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.