Lebanon Daily News Brief 05/24/21

DAILY NEWS


US Renews Military Assistance Commitment to Lebanon
Last week the US State Department and the Lebanese Armed Forces virtually held the inaugural US-Lebanon Defense Resourcing Conference. Delegations from both countries highlighted the strength of the US-Lebanese Armed Forces relationship and discussed priorities surrounding counterterrorism, border security, and defense institution building. The United States announced $120 million in foreign military financing assistance to Lebanon for the 2021 fiscal year. [US State Department]

Continued Political Debate Over Government Formation
After President Michel Aoun’s letter was read during last Friday’s parliamentary session in which he blamed Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri for delay in government formation, the session was adjourned and moved to Saturday. During Saturday’s session PM-designate Hariri said he would not form a government that gives preference to a political factions, including the president’s. [Reuters] Today Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri urged political leaders to resolve differences and acknowledge that Lebanon’s political crisis is “100% purely domestic and personal.” [Naharnet]

Water Shortages in Lebanon
Lebanon is facing serious water shortages and some Lebanese are saying that the government’s mismanagement is to blame. In the video above, BBC talks with some of the residents affected. [BBC]

OPINION & ANALYSIS


Standing Up For Lebanon – Recent US Words and Actions
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.

This Week in Lebanon

May 23, 2021
US Congress Members Urge Support for Lebanon
International Support Group for Lebanon Meeting in Beirut
Syrian Voters Attacked on Their Way to Beirut

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]

ANALYSIS

“Chairman Meeks and the congressional co-signers reaffirm Lebanon’s importance on the agenda of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. They understand the multi-dimensional aspects of a strong US policy: firm international diplomacy advocating a government capable of addressing the needs of the Lebanese citizens, international aid for those who suffer from the effects of incompetent governance, and steadfast support for the Lebanese Armed Forces, which is dedicated to the protecting the rights of its citizens. This letter and a companion letter sent by the House US-Lebanon Friendship Caucus keep the Lebanon issue front and center with the Biden administration and offer a roadmap for stabilizing its US interests in the eastern Mediterranean and for curbing the influence of Iran.”
-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel


International Support Group for Lebanon Meeting in Beirut
The International Support Group for Lebanon (ISG) met in Beirut on Wednesday to assess Lebanon’s situation. The group took note of further economic and social decline in the country and called on political leaders to form a government. ISG also called for elections to occur on time and for impacts from any subsidy changes on economic and social well-being to be mitigated. [Naharnet]

ANALYSIS

“Once again the ISG has spoken out in support of the people of Lebanon, calling on the political leadership to undertake the reforms critical to the country’s survival, holding the elections on time, and maintaining humanitarian support for the populace. Is there any responsible world leader or organization that is not calling on the leadership to reform or step aside? It is exhausting to hear time and time again the need for transformation only to watch the oligarchy continue to ignore reality.”
-ATFL Policy Director Jean AbiNader


Syrian Voters Attacked on Their Way to Beirut
On Thursday Lebanese mobs attacked Syrian refugees and expatriates on their way to cast their vote at for the Syrian presidential election at the Syrian embassy in Beirut. The groups attacked were said to be organized to vote for President Bashar Assad and were identified by those chanting slogans in support of Assad and carrying banners with the president’s picture. [Arab News]

ANALYSIS

“The pent-up frustration of the Lebanese is being directed toward Syrians in Lebanon who are voting in the Syrian presidential elections at their embassy in Beirut. This has drawn the ire of opposition leaders and common people who can’t rectify why someone claiming refugee status would vote for Assad whose policies created the exodus from Syria in the first place. While the US and other countries are calling the election a sham, it is puzzling to understand the disconnect between those living on relief provided by the international community, and some who are supporting the regime that made them refugees in the first place.”
-ATFL Policy Director Jean AbiNader

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed 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 04/28/21

DAILY NEWS


BDL Unveils New Currency Exchange Platform
L’Orient Today

Soaring Food Prices During Ramadan
Al Jazeera

Calls for the US and EU to Impose Sanctions
Voice of America

Lebanese Composer Reportedly Missing
Reuters

OPINION & ANALYSIS


Three Reasons the US Must Help Lebanon Avoid Total Collapse
Edward M. Gabriel
The Hill

Why Beirut Beckons
Michael Young
Carnegie Middle East Center

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.

This Week in Lebanon

April 25, 2021
Maronite Patriarch Calls for International Conference
New Plan to Rebuild the Port of Beirut
UK Signs MOU with Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces

Maronite Patriarch Calls for International Conference
In an interview with CNBC, Maronite Patriarch Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi emphasized his call for an international conference in addition to asking the Security Council for resolutions on arms and militias in Lebanon. The request for a UN-sponsered conference is actively denounced by Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah. The patriarch further requested a meeting with Hezbollah to discuss Lebanon’s neutrality. [CNBC]

ANALYSIS

“In recent meetings with political leaders in Lebanon, the Maronite Catholic Patriarch stated that “The issue of Lebanon’s sovereignty over its full territory, put forward at the UN in previous resolutions, should be addressed on a multilateral level.” He called for an international conference and challenged Hezbollah to embrace the concept of neutrality, a worthwhile idea which echoes the dissociation policy of former PM Najib Mikati. An international conference, while a solid idea, should be preceded by the US, France, and other countries, including Russia, the Gulf, and Iran, working in collaboration to formulate a workable plan that has multi-stakeholder buy-in. An international conference would then have a better chance of producing a successful outcome.”
-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel


New Plan to Rebuild the Port of Beirut
On Tuesday Lebanese contractors proposed a plan to redevelop the Port of Beirut in a project titled, “Amatouri – Helou for the Reconstruction of the Port of Beirut.” It is meant to be a three-year plan that would not cost the state any expense, but be funded by the Port’s income. [The 961]

ANALYSIS

“Love it. A home-grown solution to rebuild Beirut Port. If this can be done in a transparent and open process, it can set the standard for how the government does business and how public-private partnerships can lead to the revitalization of the capital. There is plenty of talent in Lebanon, with the right environmental and human-centered development values to make this work. Hope a strategy to make this a reality as a reform-based business showcase happens.”
-ATFL Policy Director Jean AbiNader


UK Signs MOU with Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces
On Thursday the British Embassy in Lebanon announced the signing of an MOU with Lebanon’s Internal Security Forces (ISF) which confirmed the UK’s support for the forces including continued cooperation through the British Policing Support Program worth 18.5 million euros. [Naharnet]

ANALYSIS

“Although the UK has cut its overall assistance to Lebanon, the government will maintain its special relationship with the ISF and its training efforts to build ‘a modern, transparent and accountable police force.’ Given the increasing pressure on human rights and disproportionate responses to protestors by some security services this is welcome news. Lebanon can ill-afford to punish those who demonstrate for reforms while coddling those who have created this mess in the first place.”
-ATFL Policy Director Jean AbiNader

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed 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 04/23/21

DAILY NEWS


Lebanese Agriculture Ministry Teams On Alert As Locust Swarms Approach
Hussein Yassine
The 961

Judge Ghada Aoun Appears Before Head of Judicial Inspection Authority
Naharnet

Consumer Prices Up 155 Percent in February 2021
The Daily Star

OPINION & ANALYSIS


Lebanon Could Use a Currency Board
Jacques de Larosiere and Steve H. Hanke
Wall Street Journal

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 04/21/12

DAILY NEWS


Government Formation Deadlock Persists
Naharnet

Government Risks Delaying Transfer of $246M World Bank Loan
Rosabel Crean
The Daily Star

Lebanese Contractors Have Plan to Rebuild Beirut Port Without State Expenses
Hussein Yassine
The 961

Lebanon-Syria: Smuggling and Sanctions, the New Front Line
James Andre
France 24

OPINION & ANALYSIS


Let’s Imagine – A Fantasy About Lebanon’s Resurrection 1.0
Jean AbiNader

The Christian Priest Who Wants to Redeem Lebanon’s Sins
Amir-Hussein Radjy
Foreign Policy

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 04/16/21

DAILY NEWS


Judge Orders Release of 6 Detained Over Lebanon Port Blast
Associated Press

Lebanon Energy Minister Blames Fuel Shortage on Syria Smuggling
Reuters

Eight Universities to Acquire Pfizer Vaccine
The Daily Star

OPINION & ANALYSIS


Supporting Syrian Refugees Amidst Lebanon’s Crises
Will Todman
Center for Strategic & International 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 04/14/21

DAILY NEWS


US Urges Lebanese Leaders to Break Political Impasse
Associated Press

Lebanon’s Central Bank Calls for Swift Action to Curb Subsidies
Reuters

Foreign Firms Vie to Rebuild Ravaged Beirut Port
Naharnet

Swiss Money Laundering Probe Eyes Lebanon Central Bank
France 24

OPINION & ANALYSIS


No Government, No Reforms, No Recovery For Lebanon
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 04/12/21

DAILY NEWS


Minister Najjar Signs Maritime Claim Decree
The Daily Star

Hale Expected on Wednesday in Beirut
Naharnet

German Firms Put Forward Proposal to Rebuild Beirut Port
Bassem Mroue
Associated Press

Lebanon Needs New Government, Radical Change of Direction – IMF
Reuters

How Much Do Basic Necessities Cost in Lebanon?
Mohammed Hussein
Al Jazeera

OPINION & ANALYSIS


American Values Shine Brightly in Lebanon
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 04/07/21

DAILY NEWS


Conflicting Reports on Government Formation Progress
Naharnet

Lebanon’s Central Bank Agrees to Give A&M Info for Audit-Finance Ministry
Reuters

Lebanon: Refugees, Migrants Left Behind in Vaccine Rollout
Human Rights Watch

Lebanon’s Ancient Roman Baalbek Temples Reborn
Robert McKelvey
Al Jazeera

OPINION & ANALYSIS


Nobody Knows What Lebanon’s Currency is Worth Anymore
Anchal Vohra
Foreign Policy

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.