Lebanon Daily News Brief 9/7/2021

Wednesday, September 8, 2021


US Announces Almost $50 Million in Aid for LAF
Today the White House announced in a statement that almost $50 million has been authorized to assist the Lebanese army. Commodities and services from US government inventory and resources will account for $25 million and another $22 million will be accounted for in defense articles and services from the Department of Defense. [Al Arabiya]

Government Formation Talks Continue and New Lineup Circulated
Prime Minister-designate Miqati and President Michel Aoun are expected to meet again tomorrow following their meeting yesterday. While reports say the two are close to an agreement, Aoun has reportedly rejected a candidate proposed by Miqati for the economy portfolio. [Naharnet] A new draft cabinet lineup has been circulating local media reports with names that supposedly have the approval of both Aoun and Miqati. [Naharnet]

BDL Out of Fuel Subsidy Funds
A central bank source reported that the Banque du Liban has “run out” of funds earmarked for fuel subsidies. The source added that BDL has stopped granting permissions for subsidized imports. [Naharnet]


Time to Show Up for Work
Jean AbiNader

AbiNader writes, “With so much at stake, there are many good wishes for Miqati’s success, if the new cabinet is committed to implement change in the right directions. Perhaps two banners might be helpful in focusing the government’s efforts. I would suggest the first being “Time to Show up for Work,” indicating the resolve of the new government to move towards higher standards of accountability in its performance, beginning with electricity, telecommunications, and port reforms that will attract foreign investment into the country and support tourism. Ensuring that the municipal and parliamentary elections take place as scheduled will be a key marker of their commitment. Dealing with the inadequacies of the subsidy regime, by its elimination and replacement with a World Bank monitored cash card system, will pave the way to restore liquidity to the economy and create conditions for a currency board or other facility to reinvigorate the value of the Lebanese lira. None of these are simple, but the legislative and policy guidelines are already in place or accessible to move quickly if there is a will and a commitment to show up for work.”

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New York Times
Lebanon as We Once Knew It Is Gone
Lina Mounzer

Mounzer writes, “Beirut as we once knew it is now gone. Even during the 1975-90 civil war, the city enjoyed a certain cachet. There was shelling but there was also glamour, a zest for life like an electric current. But now the strips of nightlife are mostly shuttered and dark. During the war there were cease-fires that permitted some rest, however fleeting. But in a world run on fossil fuels, what life is possible when they are no longer available? What life without electricity, cars, cooking gas, the internet, drinking water? There’s no break from this kind of economic warfare. Because that’s exactly what this is. Fuel and medicine, though scarce, are not entirely unavailable. They are unattainable, hoarded by politically connected individuals and organizations, likely to be exported or sold on the black market.”

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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.