Lebanon Daily News Brief 7/21/2021
President Biden Extends Executive Order 13441
In a letter to Congress yesterday, President Joe Biden said he will continue a declaration of national emergency with respect to Lebanon in accordance with Executive Order 13441. He added that Iran’s arms transfers to Hezbollah continue to undermine the country’s sovereignty and contributes to regional instability. This is the fourteenth year that a national emergency for Lebanon will be extended. [Al Arabiya]
Lebanese Families Spend Five Times Minimum Wage on Food
A report for the Crisis Observatory at the American University of Beirut found that Lebanese families are spending around five times more for food than the minimum wage. The report estimates that a family of five spends more than 3.5 million Lebanese pounds per month on food alone, not including water, electricity or cooking gas. The national minimum wage in Lebanon stands at 675,000. [France 24]
Speaker Berri Seeks Out Former PM Najib Miqati For New Government
Media reports say that Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri is working to convince former Prime Minister Najib Miqati to step in as prime minister once again. Miqati previously refused the position citing cooperation challenges with President Michel Aoun after former PM-designate Saad Hariri suggested Miqati’s nomination. [Naharnet]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
SDRs: For The People Or For The Government
AbiNader writes, “While it is attractive to use the SDRs to alleviate the humanitarian needs of the Lebanese, it does not excuse the caretaker government or parliament from taking responsibility for economic reforms. This appears to be a calculated move by politicians to gain traction in the upcoming elections by rewarding their constituents with cash cards purchased at the cost of the country’s longer term economic stability and financial integrity. They are literally holding the cards at this point and the Lebanese people will only really win by changing the game in the spring elections.”
A Country in Freefall: What Future for Lebanon?
Bishara writes, “The way forward cannot be the way back. In fact, there is no viable alternative for a radical Lebanese solution to Lebanon’s debilitating debacle. This entails the people in the streets and civil society activists turning their popular and civic power into political power by organising non-sectarian political parties, and helping democratically change the despicable sectarian system that is at the centre of the country’s woes, in favour of a true Republic of Lebanon. This may be hard and may take long to accomplish, but there are no shortcuts and no easy magical solutions to building a functioning democracy.”
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.