Lebanon Daily News Brief 8/17/2021

Tuesday, August 17, 2021


Gas Station Goes Up in Flames After Gunfire in Beirut
A gas station in the southern suburbs of Beirut went up in flames after being hit by heavy gunfire. Reports say that the group that opened fire on the Jabal Amel gas station were trying to refuel at the station before violence broke out. The Lebanese army was deployed to manage the situation and arrested some of the shooters. [The 961]

Hospitals in Northern Lebanon Face Power Outages
Hospitals in the northern Lebanon region of Akkar are struggling to operate while they face electricity cuts due to the ongoing fuel shortages. The critical power outages come only two days after a fuel tank exploded in the area, killing at least 28 people and injuring around 80 people more. The hospitals have been forced to scale back operations while power cuts last as long as 22 hours a day. [France 24]

Berri Calls for Parliamentary Session on Fuel Subsidies
Today Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri called for a parliamentary session on Friday to respond to Lebanon’s severe fuel shortage. [Reuters] At the request of President Michel Aoun, Parliament discussion should focus on a “position, action, or decision” on fuel subsidization following last week’s decision by Central Bank governor Riad Salameh to halt fuel subsidies. [Naharnet]

Continued Government Formation Talks
Following talks with President Michel Aoun today, Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati described the discussions as “positive,” but that there are still obstacles to work through. He did not give a timeframe for when a cabinet would be formed. [The Daily Star]


Arab American Institute
The Lebanon I Love is Dying
Dr. James J. Zogby

Zogby writes, “I recall Gibran’s love poem to Lebanon as I see horrors that even he could not have imagined: widespread poverty; corrupt, feudal, sectarian elites dancing on the grave of the country in a vain effort to sustain their privileged roles; and an armed militia functioning as a state within a state — willing to use force to maintain its position. In the future, I want to write about the political situation in Lebanon. For now, I just want to remember what there is to love about the Lebanon that was (and I hope will be again) and damn those who are hell-bent on burying it.”

Read more here

Middle East Institute
Lebanon’s upcoming allocation of IMF Special Drawing Rights
Christophe Abi-Nassif

Abi-Nassif writes, “Unlike what is inaccurately reported in most Lebanese media, Lebanon’s share of the allocation is neither a grant nor a loan by the IMF. It is instead an asset that belongs to the Lebanese people. Fairly and transparently using this newfound liquidity can alleviate Lebanon’s explosive food and medical insecurity at a time when four in five Lebanese live in poverty and shortages of medication and critical medical supplies are threatening the entire health care system. Proceeds from a potential SDRs exchange can indeed help finance a targeted and direct cash transfer program to shield Lebanon’s most vulnerable citizens. The World Bank has been advocating for such a program for months and had developed a $246 million emergency social safety net project back in January. This project could be further expanded and complemented by increased, SDR-generated funding, a direction that many Lebanese civil society and diaspora organizations have been calling for given Lebanon’s rampant humanitarian disaster.”

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.