Lebanon Daily News Brief 6/21/2021

Monday, June 21, 2021


French and EU Officials Visit Lebanon to Pressure Cabinet Formation
On Friday French Envoy Patrick Durrell visited Beirut to push Lebanon’s political leaders to form a cabinet. The visit comes ahead of sanctions that the EU and France are preparing against those that have obstructed government formation. [Naharnet] This weekend EU High Representative Josep Borrell also travelled to Lebanon to urge the formation of a government and implement key reforms. Yesterday he identified political leaders’ fight to secure power as the source of Lebanon’s government crisis. [Reuters]

France Hosts World Powers Meeting to Raise Funds for LAF
Last week France hosted a meeting with world powers with the aim to raise tens of millions of dollars for the Lebanese Armed Forces. LAF Commander General Joseph Aoun appeared at the virtual event and warned that soldiers salaries are being significantly cut. [The 961] Participants in the meeting were not asked to provide LAF salaries directly but to provide food, medical supplies, and spare parts for military equipment. Most of the participants pledged they are ready to offer support. [France 24]

Lebanon’s Energy Minister Says Gasoline Subsidy to Come to an End Soon
Lebanese Energy Minister Raymond Ghana’s warned that Lebanon’s gasoline subsidy would soon come to an end, noting that the system is unsustainable. The subsidy program costs Lebanon about $6 billion a year, and around half of that is spent on fuel. [Al Jazeera] The statement comes as Lebanese spend hours in car lines outside gas stations throughout the country. [Reuters]


Foreign Policy
The Lebanese Army Needs Cash
Bilal Saab

Saab writes: “The policy debate in Washington, intensified during the Trump administration, over whether the United States should increase or even continue its support of the Lebanese army misses a fundamental point: For the United States, the force – whose commander, Gen. Joseph Aoun, just this week was desperately asking for assistance at a French-led donor conference – is the only game in town that can preserve the United States’ position and influence in the country.”

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Carnegie Middle East Center
Building on Lebanon’s Ruins
Michael Young

Young writes: “A new Lebanon is emerging on the debris of the old, and Hezbollah wants to fashions the country in its own image. Three words are notably absent today: ‘International Monetary Fund.’ Lebanon will not soon resort to the IMF’s conditions and reform its public finances to secure a bailout. Hezbollah does not want Lebanon to submit to an institution in which Western states have a major say. In this the party will have the backing of contemptible Lebanese political class that refuses to make any concessions that diminish its power.”

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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.