Lebanon Daily News Brief 05/21/21

DAILY NEWS


US Congress Members Urge Support for Lebanon
Members of Congress signed a letter to Secretary of State Blinken this week urging the United States to respond to Lebanon’s deteriorating situation. They recommended coordinated aid to the country, support for the Lebanese Armed Forces, and for an independent investigation into last summer’s explosion at the Port of Beirut. [Al-Monitor]

President Aoun’s Letter on PM-Designate Hariri Read in Parliament
Political squabbles continue as the Lebanon enters its ninth month without a government. Today a letter by President Michel Aoun was read during a parliamentary session in which Aoun blamed Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri for the delay and said Hariri is incapable of forming a Cabinet. [Reuters] The session was quickly adjourned after the letter’s reciting and a new session is scheduled for Saturday at 2:00 p.m. [Naharnet]

Attacks on Kataeb Party Offices in Tripoli
Yesterday afternoon Kataeb Party offices in Tripoli were attacked and burned by Syrian regime loyalists. The acts appear to be in response to earlier attacks on Syrian refugees and expats on their way to vote in Beirut, many of whom were said to be voting for Bashar al-Assad. [The 961]

OPINION & ANALYSIS


The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies
Podcast Episode – Anatomy of a Crisis: Controlling Hyperinflation in Lebanon

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.

Lebanon Daily News Brief 05/12/21

DAILY NEWS


EU is Preparing Sanctions on Lebanese Leaders
The EU is preparing sanctions against Lebanese political leaders who are seen as blocking government formation. This would be the first round of sanctions the EU has placed on Lebanon. EU officials are currently working on the criteria for who will be designated. Many Lebanese leaders have homes and bank accounts in the EU. [Reuters]

Seven Lebanese Sanctioned by the United States
Yesterday the US imposed sanctions on seven Lebanese who are linked to Hezbollah. The US Treasury Department called six of the seven Hezbollah’s “shadow bankers” who have transferred about $500 million for the group over the past decade.The seventh person sanctioned is Ibrahim Daher, who is a chief financial executive for Hezbollah. [Associated Press]

Solidarity March Through Beirut for Sheikh Jarrah Residents
On Tuesday Lebanese and Palestinians marched through Beirut in a demonstration showing solidarity with Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah. The protesters started at the Mar Elias refugee camp and marched on to Chatila refugee camp. Activists hope that in addition to showing solidarity with Palestinians in East Jerusalem, their efforts will also raise awareness for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. [Middle East Eye]

Conversation with Henri Chaoul
Former government advisor Henri Chaoul spoke with CNBC about the Lebanese government’s mismanagement. Chaoul advised the government last year during its talks with the IMF. [CNBC]

OPINION & ANALYSIS


Legal Limbo: Who is a Refugee in Lebanon?
Dima Mahdi
The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies

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.

Lebanon Daily News Brief 05/11/21

DAILY NEWS


Maritime Border Talks Paused, Waiting on Lebanon
US-led maritime border talks between Lebanon and Israel were paused last week after President Aoun ordered the Lebanese delegation to halt their participation. Aoun took issue with the mediation’s starting point, which was to begin at the border lines already registered with the UN, namely the dispute over 860 square kilometers. [Reuters] There is a decree in Lebanon however approved by the caretaker prime minister and ministers of defense and public works that would extend the disputed area to 1,430 sq. km. But Aoun has yet to sign and approve the decree therefore it hasn’t been submitted to the UN. Regarding next steps the US says the ball is now in Lebanon’s court. [Al Arabiya]

Government Plans on Subsidies Start Panic Buying in Supermarkets
Government plans to remove subsidies on basic food items such as fuel, wheat, and medicine have stirred panic buying among Lebanese at supermarkets. It has caused prices of meat and chicken to spike and on Sunday cars lined up outside of gas stations to store up. Caretaker Prime Minister Diab has said the government will not lift subsidies before ration cards for Lebanese families are approved. [The Daily Star]

Drug Raid in Baalbek
Today the Lebanese army raided a drug manufacturing plan in Baalbek and confiscated drugs, machins and equipment used for narcotic production. [Naharnet]

Over 40 Tons of Fish Dead in Qaraoun Lake
Over 40 tons of dead fish have shown up on the banks of Qaraoun Lake in southern Lebanon. Activists and locals blame pollution coming from the Litani River that carries waste from industrial factories and sewage systems. The authorities don’t recognize this as the cause and say it may be disease.

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OPINION & ANALYSIS


FOCUS LEBANON: LIFE is Helping the Lebanese Help Themselves
Jean AbiNader

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.

Lebanon Daily News Brief 05/10/21

DAILY NEWS


Central Bank Looks Into Mechanism for Dollar Withdrawals
After a civil society group submitted a legal complaint against banks who have frozen Lebanese depositors out of their accounts and blocked withdrawals, the Banque Du Liban announced yesterday that it will be looking into a mechanism that would allow Lebanese to have access to their funds. Many depositors have been locked out of their accounts since 2019. [Reuters]

Turkish Company Warns It Will Cut Power to Ships in Lebanon
After Lebanese Financial Prosecutor Judge Ali Ibrahim ordered two Turkish power ships to be detained last week, the Turkish company Karpowership is urging the Lebanese government to engage in talks. Karpowership served a final notice that it will suspend services while Lebanon struggles to pay over $100 million owed to the company. [Bloomberg] The judge ordered to detain the ships on suspicion of corruption in dealings of the ships production. [The 961]

Friends of President Aoun and PM-Designate Hariri Seek to Revive Talks
After French Foreign Minister Le Drian’s visit to Beirut last week, local mediators and common friends of President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri are reportedly conducting behind-the-scene efforts to resume talks between the two government leaders to find a solution to Lebanon’s cabinet formation. Lebanon is now rounding its ninth month without a government. [Naharnet]

Developing Cross-Border Cartels in Syria and Lebanon
Concern is growing over Syrian and Lebanese developing drug networks. Saudi Arabia recently imposed a produce ban after it seized millions of Captagon pills being smuggled into the country from Lebanon. Over the last two years, at least 15 other shipments of Captagon have been intercepted in the Middle East and Europe. Some officials report that these shipments originate from Syria and Lebanon cross-border cartels, made up of networks of crime families, militia leaders and political figures. [The Guardian]

Hezbollah Leader’s Support for Recent Iran Talks
Hassan Nasrallah’s latest televised speech revealed the Hezbollah leader’s support for Iran talks with the United States and Saudi Arabia. This support comes after mediated talks between Tehran and Riyadh in Baghdad and between Tehran and Washington in Vienna. [Associated Press]

OPINION & ANALYSIS


The Value of a ‘Seat at the Table’: How Elites Interfere in Lebanon’s Infrastructure Procurement
The Lebanese Center for Policy Studies
Mounir Mahmalat

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.

Lebanon Daily News Brief 05/05/21

DAILY NEWS


Port Blast Investigator Requests Satellite Images
Associated Press

President Aoun’s Response to Yesterday’s Maritime Talks
Reuters

Unclear Future for Hariri Ahead of Le Drian’s Visit
The Daily Star

OPINION & ANALYSIS


‘We Want a Nation’
Kim Ghattas
The Atlantic

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.

Lebanon Daily News Brief 05/06/21

DAILY NEWS


French FM Le Drian Meets with President Aoun and Speaker Berri
Al Jazeera

59 Containers of Chemical Waste Shipped From Port of Beirut
The Daily Star

Lebanese Judge Orders Asset Freeze of 14 People Connected to Major Banks
Reuters

OPINION & ANALYSIS


Freedom of Speech in Lebanon is Under Attack
Aya Majzoub
Human Rights Watch

Martitime Border Negotiations – Is It A Family Business?
Tracy Chamoun

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.

Lebanon Daily News Brief 05/04/21

DAILY NEWS


Diab Calls On Parliament to Pass Draft Law on Ration Card Funding
The Daily Star

French FM Le Drian to Arrive in Beirut Tomorrow
Naharnet

Locust Swarms Now Under Control
The 961

Lebanon and Israel Resume Maritime Border Talks
Reuters

OPINION & ANALYSIS


We Want a Nation’
Kim Ghattas
The Atlantic

As Lebanese Cry for Justice, Politics Paralyzes the System
Bassem Mroue
Associated Press

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.

Lebanon Daily News Brief 05/03/21

DAILY NEWS


Two Brothers Suspected in Smuggling Attempt Arrested
Al Arabiya

NGO Submits Legal Complaint Against BDL Governor
France 24

Maritime Border Talks Set to Resume Tomorrow
Reuters

OPINION & ANALYSIS


Breaking the Cycle: A New American Approach to Lebanon
Nicholas Noe
European University Institute

A Failing State: What’s Next For Lebanon?
JINSA National Security Digest Podcast

Lebanon’s Disabled Community is Dying
Adam Nasser
Diplomatic Courier

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.

Lebanon Daily News Brief 04/30/21

DAILY NEWS


France Imposes Sanctions on Lebanese Political Leaders
France has begun imposing sanctions on Lebanese politicians for their role in obstructing government formation and/or their involvement in corruption. The list of names has not been released publicly yet, but French diplomats say people on it are being made aware. [Al Jazeera] French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian will travel to Beirut next week for a two-day visit. [Naharnet]

Christian Parties Call for Parliament’s Resignation
Several Christian parties are calling for the resignation of Parliament. Leaders of the Independence Movement, Lebanese Forces, Kataeb Party, and the National Liberation Party have reiterated the need for Lebanon’s sovereignty to be upheld, and accused the Hezbollah-run Parliament of dominating Lebanon. [Arab News]

BDL Gives 95 Percent Of Required Material to Alvarez
Today is Banque du Liban’s deadline to handover data and information requested by Alvarez & Marsal to conduct a forensic audit. A source close to the government said that BDL has given 95 percent of the information required. The remaining 5 percent is said to hold information on Lebanese commercial bank accounts. [The Daily Star]

OPINION & ANALYSIS


The Future of the Bekaa Valley, Up and Coming CBD Capital
Jean AbiNader

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.

Lebanon Daily News Brief 04/29/21

DAILY NEWS


Lebanon-Israel Maritime Border Talks Expected to Resume
Reuters

Prime Minister-Designate Hariri Returns to Beirut
The Daily Star

New COVID-19 Lockdown Imposed This Weekend
The 961

OPINION & ANALYSIS


The Unfolding Struggle for Political Survival in Lebanon
Christophe Abi-Nassif
Middle East Institute

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.