Lebanon Daily News Brief 9/9/2021

Thursday, September 9, 2021


Lebanon’s Cash Card Program Launched Today
Today Lebanon’s caretaker Minister of Social Affairs announced that a cash card program for over 500,000 Lebanese families will be released. The cash cards launch arrives as Lebanon’s $6 billion subsidy program comes to an end. Minister Ramzi Moucharafieh says there is an allocation for the cash card program in the budget, but they are also hoping to secure funding from a World Bank loan and from IMF special drawing rights. The program will give each family in need around $93 per month. [Al Arabiya]

Group of Syrians Who Fled to Lebanon Will Not Be Deported
A group of six Syrians that fled into Lebanon from Syria’s Daraa region last month were at risk of deportation earlier this week if they were unable to secure travel to a third country. [Middle East Eye] After human rights organizations raised alarms that the group would be a risk for arbitrary arrest and torture if departed back to Syria, Lebanese officials said they would not deport the six Syrians. [Al Arabiya]

Hyperinflation and Food Shortage Warnings 
Experts are warning that hyperinflation could come to Lebanon if political leaders do not agree to a government soon. The currency has lost around 90 percent of its value already, and the World Food Program says food inflation has risen by 557 percent since October 2019. Food importers also warn that they cannot afford stock and food shortages could worsen soon. [Reuters]


Middle East Institute
Baghdad, Beirut, and the Politics of Lebanon’s Power Crisis
Yesar Al-Maleki

Al-Maleki writes, “For Tehran and its allies in Beirut, Iraq’s effort gives them little to trumpet. It carries neither their colors nor those of the U.S. and its regional allies. As a result, it is of no domestic political value. This has prompted Hezbollah to launch its own initiative to arrange for Iranian fuel to be sent to Lebanon…There is no quick solution to resolving Lebanon’s energy crisis, but Iran is keen on winning the public relations game. On the other side, Washington and its allies seem to be taking their time. A day before handing his resignation to President Michel Aoun, the U.S.- and Saudi-aligned now former Prime Minister Designate Saad Hariri went to Egypt in an effort to bring Egyptian gas to Lebanon. This has led to many meetings in the last couple of weeks — including with Syria, through which Arab Gas Pipeline (AGP) and power lines transit — but technically this option will take months, if not years, to materialize. And it doesn’t come without political complications either, since Israeli gas exports to Egypt and Jordan dominate flows through the AGP at the center of a future gas deal. For now, Iran is well ahead in the race.”

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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.