Lebanon Daily News Brief 8/20/2021

Friday, August 20, 2021


US to Assist Lebanon with Electricity
Yesterday President Michel Aoun’s office said that the United States will be assisting Lebanon with electricity provisions as the country faces severe fuel shortages. The assistance includes the provision of Egyptian natural gas to Jordan for generation into additional electricity that can be transmitted to Lebanon through Syria. It also includes the transfer of natural gas to Lebanon. [Reuters]

Aoun Calls on UN to Address Israel’s Airspace Violations
Israel conducted airstrikes on Syria Thursday night that reportedly killed four Hezbollah fighters. [Al Arabiya] In a meeting today with UN Special Coordinator Joanna Wronecka, President Michel Aoun called on the UN to address Israel’s violations of Lebanon’s airspace following the airstrikes on Syria. [Naharnet]

Miqati Reportedly Close to Resignation
Yesterday President Michel Aoun accused unnamed parties of seeking to obstruct the formation of a new government. The president’s office said in a statement, “several forces are working to prevent the creation of a government and are determined to push the country towards chaos in order to fulfill their political aims.” [Reuters]
Sources say that Aoun is still trying to obtain a “block one-third” in the cabinet line-up. Prime Minister-designate Miqat reportedly considered handing in his resignation, but was convinced to stay until after Friday’s parliamentary session. [Naharnet]


Middle East Institute
Lebanon is a tinderbox, and Lebanese politicians have started dropping matches
Christophe Abi-Nassif and Jean AbiNader

Abi-Nassif and AbiNader write, “Left untreated, the situation in the coming weeks will, without a doubt, derail the prospects of a Lebanese recovery for many years, perhaps decades, and have destabilizing regional repercussions…More than ever before, constructive international engagement would warrant the following steps: Double down on humanitarian relief efforts to slow the pace of the collapse, shield the most vulnerable Lebanese citizens and refugee communities, and prevent a massive explosion of violence…Although essential, humanitarian efforts remain only a palliative for Lebanon’s symptoms rather than a cure for its structural and political ailments. Therefore, and as part of a unified and all-encompassing international effort, deploy every possible diplomatic tool and pressure to push toward the immediate formation of a government…Insist, with all means available, on holding the scheduled parliamentary elections in the spring of 2022. As importantly, coordinate a global monitoring and enforcement effort on the ground to ensure that both the elections and the buildup toward them are conducted fairly and freely.”

Read more here

Rusted Radishes: Beirut Literary and Art Journal
The Blast
Eveline Hitti

Hitti writes, “Across the city that night, medical teams had put aside their own loss and fears, gallantly hurling themselves into action. Demolished hospitals were evacuated. Flooded EDs were emptied. Operating rooms ran without reprieve. Decisions were made amidst unimaginable constraints. Physical wounds were closed, and moral ones opened. Today, almost six months post-Blast, the scars on my colleagues’ faces are barely noticeable. The displaced doors of our ED are back up on their hinges. The glass panes of my house have been replaced. Our passports are tucked back in the reachable safety of my bedroom drawers. While some wounds heal, others remain painfully visible. Resignations sit on my desk, leaving the line of medical teams facing the now raging pandemic thinned out and weary. For many, distance is the path to recovery. For others, it is clawing on to the promise of meaningful service in the land they were forced to leave once before.”

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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.