Lebanon Daily News brief 8/2/2021
Cabinet Formation Still Stuck on Interior and Justice Portfolios
Today Prime Minister-designate met again with President Michel Aoun in Baabda to discuss the cabinet line-up and warned that this will be an “open-ended” timeframe. He further stated that he was hoping the formation process would be faster. [Naharnet] Aoun is reportedly still demanding the interior and justice portfolios while Miqati is attempting to assign the interior portfolio to a “neutral” and “reliable” person whether or not they are Sunni or Christian. [Naharnet]
Gunmen Kill Two During Hezbollah Commander Funeral
Yesterday gunmen opened fire and killed at least two people at the funeral of a Hezbollah commander in Khaldeh, a Lebanese town along the coast of southern Lebanon. The Lebanese military were deployed in Khaldeh and said in a statement they would shoot anyone carrying a gun in the streets. Media reports say that the violence is rooted in personal and sectarian vendettas. [Al Jazeera] Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah warned of impending strife if the gunmen don’t come forward. [Reuters]
One Year After the Port Blast Mental Health is a Concern
One year after the August 4 Beirut Port blast experts are concerned about mental health in Lebanon. The head of public relations at the Institute for Development, Research, Advocacy and Applied Care says that the center has seen a fourfold increase in patients for free mental health care since the Lebanon’s financial crisis began spiraling in October 2019. Many patients that come into the center are dealing with mental trauma directly related to the port blast. [Reuters]
USAID Launches Five-Year Program in Lebanon
The US Agency for International Development recently launched a five-year program in Lebanon called “Promoting Sustainable Livelihoods.” The program will put $10 million toward efforts to improve the livelihoods of 126,000 residents across more than 130 municipalities in Lebanon. It will be implemented by a consortium of eight organizations and headed by the Rene Moawad Foundation. [RMF]
OPINION & ANALYSIS
A Year After Beirut Port Atrocity, Time for a New Sovereign Lebanon
Alamuddin writes: “The lesson of the Aug. 4 atrocity is that accepting the Nasrallah-Aoun regime means accepting leaders who think nothing of murdering their own citizens. If we allow Lebanon to continue fragmenting, it opens the door to catastrophes of an infinitely greater magnitude than the port explosion. This disaster must be our wake-up call for inaugurating a new Lebanon. There is no salvation for a system that is rotten to the core. Our only salvation is through collectively banishing those who colluded in Lebanon’s downfall and who remain wedded to a medieval and inherently corrupt sectarian system.”
ATFL will hold a virtual webinar on Thursday, August 5 from 11:30am to 1:00pm ET to mark the one-year anniversary of the August 4 Beirut Port explosions. The presentations will focus on four themes:
The threat of the rapidly declining socio-economic conditions on Lebanese society including the brain drain and social services;
Assessing the role of the international community in bringing pressure to bear on economic and political reforms;
The status of US-Lebanon relations and challenges to building relations with a potential new government;
And lessons from post-conflict stabilization strategies in developing survival options for Lebanon as a sovereign state.
US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea and President of the Lebanese American University are among our guest speakers. Others to be determined include EU and UN officials and other Lebanon experts and advocates.
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.