Lebanon Daily News Brief 7/20/2021

Tuesday, July 20, 2021


Parliamentary Consultations for PM to Begin Next Week
Following Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri’s resignation last week, President Michele Aoun announced yesterday that parliamentary consultations to name a new prime minister will begin on Monday, July 26. [Naharnet] The consultations will begin with a meeting between President Aoun and former Prime Minister Najib Mikati. The full consultation schedule can be viewed on The 961 link. [The 961]

Lebanese Prosecutor to Question Riad Salameh
A Lebanese prosecutor has called in central bank governor Riad Salameh for questioning on August 5 on allegations of embezzlement, money laundering, and tax evasion. [Reuters] Yesterday it was also announced that anti-corruption judges in France will take over a French investigation of Salameh to look into criminal allegations including laundering millions of dollars through purchasing high-end real estate in France. The judges would have the ability to confiscate his assets. [NYTimes]

Israel Fires Artillery Shells After Rockets Fired From Southern Lebanon
In response to two rockets that were fired from southern Lebanon, Israel fired 12 artillery shells at the Wadi Hammoul area. The Lebanese army said it found three launching pads for grad rockets there and disabled a rocket that had been prepared for firing. There were no casualties or injuries reported on either side. [Al Jazeera]


Middle East Institute
Hariri has (finally) stepped down. Here’s what happens next.
Christophe Abi-Nassif

Abi-Nassif writes, “Lebanon today faces one of three options. The base case absent any political breakthrough — or imposed solution — consists of a dangerously accelerating socio-economic collapse, social unrest, and security threats. Under this option, the impotent caretaker government led by Hassan Diab will continue operating in a political vacuum with no agency, ability, or credibility to counter the multiple crises…The second option entails the nomination of a consensus candidate in line with Lebanon’s destructive post-2008 consensual democracy. In this case, establishment parties will scramble to find a bland candidate that is acceptable by Hariri, President Michel Aoun, Hezbollah, and the myriad foreign players involved in the Lebanese political stalemate. This attempt would nevertheless recreate a Diab 2.0 government, unable to carry out much-needed reforms…the third and only viable option remains a truly independent and competent transitional government (head and members) with exceptional legislative powers, able and willing to implement reforms and manage the collapse. Entertaining other options will continue to waste more precious time.”

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Foreign Policy
In Lebanon, the Wheels of Justice Do Not Grind
David Schenker

Schenker writes, “16 years after the Hariri assassination, the work of the tribunal is done. It is now time for those states that underwrote this titular exercise in accountability to actually hold the killers to account. Europe has long been reticent to designate all of Hezbollah as the state-capturing terrorist organization it is, so this will undoubtedly prove a heavy diplomatic lift for Washington. Still, as the tribunal concludes, it’s difficult to imagine a better time to press the issue. If the Biden administration can’t convince its European partners to act, perhaps it could persuade these states to at least direct their tribunal contributions to a cause that would better help Lebanon—such as that of the World Food Program, which (along with the World Bank) is currently feeding a considerable portion of the Lebanese population suffering, in large part, due to Hezbollah.”

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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.