Lebanon Daily News Brief 8/11/2021

Wednesday, August 11, 2021


Central Bank Can No Longer Subsidize Fuel Purchases
Today Lebanon’s central bank governor said that the bank can no longer open credit lines for fuel and can no longer subsidize fuel purchases. [Al Arabiya] The announcement comes on the heels of months of fuel shortages in Lebanon and deadly violence surrounding fuel sales and tensions at gas stations. [Al Jazeera]

Government Formation at a Standstill
Lebanon’s government formation process has reportedly yet again hit a standstill. President Michel Aoun has proposed a reshuffle of four key ministries, which would result in control of the interior and justice portfolios. [The Daily Star] Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati recently stressed that he “will not form a government that is similar to the previous ones.” [Naharnet]

US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee Hearing on Security Assistance in the Middle East
Yesterday the US Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism held a hearing on US security assistance in the Middle East. When asked about Lebanon and US support for the Lebanese Armed Forces, State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs Mira Resnick said that “the LAF is one of our most capable partners in the Middle East” and that “without the LAF, Hezbollah fills the void and that is exactly the opposite of what we would like to see in Lebanon.” [US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations]

Saudi Arabia Presses for Reforms Before Aid
Yesterday Saudi Arabia reassured the Lebanese people of its solidarity and support but noted that any assistance to the Lebanese government hinges on “serious and tangible reforms.” They added that there must be assurances that the aid will reach the Lebanese people. [Reuters]


Foreign Policy
Lebanon Is in Terminal Brain Drain
Anchal Vohroa

Vohra writes, “Experts say the current spurt in brain drain will have a lasting impact on a country grappling with myriad crises. The flight of human capital will exacerbate the collapse of an economy already in a tailspin and impede its recovery…As the war ended in 1990, many Lebanese found hope and returned but then fled again during the 2006 war with Israel. As a result, the diaspora today is nearly three times the size of Lebanon’s population of 5 million. For the last decade and a half, however, migration patterns had been relatively stable—until two years ago, when protesters exposed the house of cards on which Lebanon’s central bank built the country’s economy, and it all came tumbling down…To leave or not to leave—that is the question Lebanon’s professionals are asking as most find it challenging to live off their diminishing salaries. The biggest concern for the rest of the world, meanwhile, should be that the most vulnerable sections of Lebanese society will end up resorting to hiring smugglers for boat rides to Greece.”

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.