Lebanon Daily News Brief 7/19/2021

Monday, July 19, 2021


US Treasury Delegation Visits Beirut
Starting today a US delegation from the Department of Treasury’s Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes offices will begin a three-day visit to Beirut to meet with financial sector interlocutors and civil society groups. The delegation will focus on corruption, illicit finance, and counterterrorism issues. [US Embassy in Lebanon]

French Judges Take Over Riad Salameh Case
French anti-corruption judges are now overseeing the investigation into the personal wealth of Riad Salameh, Lebanon’s central bank governor. The investigation will look into criminal allegations including laundering millions of dollars through Swiss banks to France buy purchasing high-end real estate properties. [NYTimes] French judges will now have the ability to call in Salameh for questioning and confiscate his assets. Their investigation will also look into claims that Salameh transferred large amounts of money abroad during October 2019 protests in Lebanon. [Naharnet]

Source Says IMF Could Commit Billions If New Government Formed
On Sunday a Daily Star source revealed that the IMF told caretaker Finance Ministers Ghazi Wazni that it is willing to commit $3 to $4 billion to any new cabinet that carries out economic reforms. $860 million in Special Drawing Rights is expected to come in the next few months from the IMF regardless if a new government is formed. [The Daily Star]

Riots on Friday Following Hariri Resignation
Following Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri’s resignation last week, the Lebanese pound reached a new record low at LL23,400 to the dollar. Riots ensued in Tripoli on Friday where Lebanese have gathered for protests over rising prices and extended electricity cuts. Nineteen protesters and ten soldiers were injured. [AP] General Joseph Aoun of the Lebanese Armed Forces said that Lebanon’s situation is worsening and he urged chaos prevention. [Reuters]


The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies
Should I Stay or Should I Go? Understanding Refugees’ Intentions to Return to Syria
Daniel Garrote Sanchez

Sanchez writes, “Even though the conflict in Syria continues to rage on, UNHCR estimates that about 250,000 Syrian refugees have already returned to their country since 2016—60,000 of them from Lebanon. Although security conditions in Syria are still not safe for a large return of refugees, some have been forcibly returned to Syria by the Lebanese state. Yet, there are others that have chosen to do so voluntarily. This brief sheds light on refugees’ past experiences of return in post-conflict countries as well as the current intentions to return among Syrian refugees in Lebanon. By using the LCSRHCL (2018)—a large survey of Syrian refugee and Lebanese individuals and households in Lebanon—this brief examines the multivariate reasons refugees choose to return to Syria or remain in Lebanon. We conclude with an assessment of the main drivers that lead to such decisions and what implications those drivers have for policymakers in Lebanon and internationally

Read more here

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.