Lebanon Daily News Brief 8/26/2021

Thursday, August 26, 2021


MTV Interview with Ambassador Edward M. Gabriel
In an interview with MTV yesterday, ATFL President Ed Gabriel reviewed current negotiations with JCPOA and noted that Lebanon will not be addressed in the talks right now. He also referenced efforts that the United States is making to help Lebanon, including $100 million in aid to be distributed through NGOs and multilateral agencies, letters of support and resolutions currently circulating in the US Congress, and added diplomatic pressure from the US and France on Lebanese politicians to form a government. [MTV]

CORRECTION: Part of Ambassador Gabriel’s interview was erroneously translated in Arabic. In his interview he suggested that given the time difference, if LAF Commander General Joseph Aoun had the opportunity to listen to his interview he would confirm what Ambassador Gabriel said, that the US has recently provided important aid to Lebanon. The Arabic translation misconstrues Ambassador Gabriel’s comments with regard to President Michel Aoun. No where in his interview did he refer to the president.

Miqati and Aoun to Meet Today After Postponed Meeting
Prime Minister-designate Najib Miqati planned to visit Baabda yesterday to submit his final cabinet lineup, but his meeting with President Michel Aoun was cancelled. The meeting was rescheduled for today and the two are expected to meet shortly. [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]

Lebanese Army Deployed Troops to the North
Violence in northern Lebanon this week has resulted in the deaths of two men. Heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades were used among rival groups’ fighting between the villages of Akkar al-Atiqa and Fnaidek yesterday. The Lebanese army deployed troops today to the area. [Reuters]

Bitar Issues Subpoena for Caretaker PM Diab
Judge Tarek Bitar, head of the Beirut blast investigation, has issued a subpoena for caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab after Diab failed to show up for questioning. the prime minister’s session is postponed to September 20. In July, Bitar had requested to question Diab and other top officials that have been given immunity. Bitar and other Lebanese protesters are calling for the immunities given to government officials to be lifted. [Reuters]

Emirates to Allow Extra Baggage For Those Traveling to Beirut
According to a statement released yesterday, Emirates airline will provide extra baggage for those traveling to Beirut starting this week until September 30, 2021. The offer is meant to allow customers to bring essential goods and medicines to friends and family in Beirut as Lebanon faces severe shortages. [Emirates]


Renewable Energy in Lebanon Will Save Lives
Adnan Nasser

Nasser writes, “Lebanon is a top candidate for renewable energy. It possesses an abundance of natural resources and is blessed with climate advantages, such as 300 days of sun and enormous wind energy potential. Hydropower is Lebanon’s oldest form of alternative energy, and provided most of its electricity in the pre-civil war years. Most of the hydro plants were constructed during Lebanon’s “Golden Age,” during which the country produced an impressive 75% of its electricity from water. The Golden Age, however, is long gone. In 2010, hydroelectricity made up just 6.1% of Lebanon’s power grid. In response, people have demonstrated outside the energy ministry to protest the incompetence of their government. With no hope in sight, the Lebanese people are taking matters into their own hands by staging street protests…People do not have an infinite amount of time to sit around waiting for change. The Lebanese are in no mood to be told they must be more patient. Ultimately, a new course of action focused on green policy that sidelines the government must be taken to rescue Lebanon from its current state of collapse.”

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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.