Lebanon Daily News Brief 6/25/2021

Friday, June 25, 2021


Caretaker PM Approves Fuel Subsidy Reduction
Today Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab approved a proposal to reduce fuel subsidies that had been draining the foreign currency reserves. The proposal will finance fuel imports at a rate of LL3,900 to the dollar instead of the current rate of LL1,507 to the dollar. [Bloomberg]

US and France United in Applying Pressure on Lebanese Officials
In a press conference, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stated their intentions to work together to pressure Lebanese officials to act. Le Drian said, “We have decided to put pressure on those responsible. We know who they are.” [The Daily Star]

Fuel Crisis Takes a Toll on Lebanon’s Migrant Community
Lebanon’s fuel crisis is taking a toll on the country’s migrant community. The gas station association’s spokesperson Georges Brax says gas stations in Lebanon employ more than 10,000 people and most employees are migrant workers from Egypt, Sudan, Syria, and Bangladesh. Employees’ wages have deteriorated since the start of the economic and financial crises. Because of security concerns including physical assault and black mail, gas station owners have asked the Internal Security Forces for protection. [Reuters]


Lebanon: The Staying Power of the Ruling Caste, and the Stalled ‘WhatsApp Revolution’
Samir Daher

Daher writes: “In my view it is because many, beholden not to the state and its institutions but to their respective clan godfathers – who have engrained in the individual and collective psyche a culture of dependency and cronyism over the values of citizenry – blame political opponents for the nation’s woes, and fear that in the absence of their protective godfathers, the alternative to today’s near collapse could be an even more calamitous fate, an ‘Apocalypse’ of sort…Although the various relief measures go some way in easing the pain of many Lebanese households, the political outcome may be disheartening and could come as a shocking disappointment for those who hope to drive the ruling caste out of power at next year’s elections – were they to be held on schedule – especially under the existing made-to-measure electoral law and the fragmented, ineffectual opposition of the ‘WhatsApp mutineers.’”

ٍRead more here

Financial Times
Sanctions Could Force Lebanon’s Politicians to Govern
David Gardner

Gardner writes: “The sectarian mafias that lord [the crises] over Lebanon are insulated by their billions in ill-gotten wealth from the misery and hunger suffered by the poor, or by the sinking middle class whose bank deposits they have for most practical purposes confiscated…The day-to-day political gridlock in Lebanon — without a government since Beirut’s port erupted in a mushroom cloud 11 months ago — is the latest chapter in the sectarian quest for advantage by Sunni and Shia Muslims, Christians and Druze among the country’s 18 recognized sects and their myriad parties…There is growing conviction inside and outside Lebanon that the elites will only start to bargain if their bank accounts and property assets (mostly held abroad) are hit and they are prevented from traveling. Europeans are now preparing sanctions on those obstructing the formation of a government and involved in corrupt practices.”

ٍRead more here

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.