Lebanon Daily News Brief 8/25/2021

Wednesday, August 25, 2021


Miqati to Submit a Final Cabinet Lineup Today
It is expected that Prime Minister-designate Miqati will submit a final lineup of 24 cabinet ministers to President Michel Aoun today [Naharnet]. Miqati said that he will not accept any changes, even if that means he must resign. Reports say that US-French pressure pushed Aoun to give up on insisting on certain “provocative” candidates. [Naharnet]

US House Representatives Urge Temporary Protected Status Designation for Lebanon
House Representatives Debbie Dingell and Rashida Tlaib are urging the Biden administration to designate Lebanon for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS would protect Lebanese people in the US from being deported on humanitarian grounds and allow Lebanese nationals on temporary visas to live and work in the US as Lebanon slips further into chaos. Dingell and Tlaib are circulating a letter in Congress to be sent to President Joe Biden and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. [Al Jazeera]

Lebanon to Release World Bank Loan to Poor Families in US Dollars
On Monday Lebanon’s government agreed to release tens of thousands of cash assistance in US dollars to poor families from the World Bank. The money comes from a $246 million loan from the World Bank that was originally approved by Lebanon in March, but held up because Lebanon’s parliament insisted on issuing assistance to families in Lebanese pounds instead of dollars. The loan is meant to help over 160,000 families in Lebanon. [AP]

Lebanese Government Signs Contract with Alvarez & Marsal
Today caretaker Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni signed a contract with Alvarez & Marsal so that the company can begin a full forensic audit of the Central Bank. The group was paid $150,000 last week by the government to conduct the audit. Upon signing the contract, Alvarez said it would file its first preliminary report in 12 weeks. [The Daily Star]

Illegally Hoarded Medicines Found in Warehouses Near Sidon
Two warehouses full of hoarded medicines were found near Sidon Monday night by officials. Caretaker Health Minister Hamad Hassan and security forces inspected the warehouses and found illegally hoarded medical items including lifesaving medicines and infant formulas. The warehouses were sealed overnight and then opened yesterday morning to local pharmacists and the general public for proper distribution. [The Daily Star]


Momentum Growing to Obtain Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Lebanese Nationals in the US
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “As the World Bank has indicted, Lebanon is experiencing one of the top three worst economic disasters worldwide since the mid-19th century. UNICEF has raised the alarm about the rapid decline in access to safe water, and UNESCO has chronicled the demise of the educational sector. The indicators are clear, but international efforts to pressure the government to reform continue with no impact. Obtaining TPS and DED are tactics to protect those abroad who can, at an appropriate time, return to Lebanon and aid in its healing and reconstruction. Given the asylum demands for Afghans, Venezuelans, Haitians, and many others from China, Hong Kong, Russia, Iraq, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, it is important to mobilize in support TPS and DED for Lebanese in the US if attention is to be paid to this issue. No one can deny that since the first Lebanese immigrants arrived in the US in the late 1800s, the community has made a constructive and worthy contribution to this country. Despite the hardline anti-immigration position held by many in the US, this is still a cause worth supporting.”

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Washington Report On Middle East Affairs
Lebanon in the Midst of an Economic and Political Spiral
Dale Sprusansky

Sprusansky writes, “One year after a deadly blast ripped through Beirut’s port, Lebanon is in a state of disarray. The country has been without an official government for more than a year, and its economy is in shambles, with a critical lack of fuel and food leaving Lebanon’s citizens in a state of desperation and exasperation. On Aug. 5, the American Task Force on Lebanon held a virtual event to discuss the deteriorating situation in the country. US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea noted that Washington recently released $98 million in new humanitarian assistance to the country and is working to foster political and economic breakthroughs. However, she emphasized that only so much can be done by the international community in the absence of a functioning government in Beirut…UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Joanna Wronecka noted that the average household’s food bills now cost five times the monthly minimum wage. Resources are also scarce. ‘None of this is due to war or a natural disaster, the people are paying the price for their leaders’ inaction,’ she said.”

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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.