This Week In Lebanon: 01/08/2022

Saturday, January 8, 2022

January 8, 2022

Lebanon’s PM Miqati issues rare criticism of Hezbollah
PM Miqati Says Will Convene Cabinet Within Days 
Building a Modern Republic

Lebanon’s PM Miqati Issues Rare Criticism of Hezbollah
On Monday, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah delivered a speech where he labeled King Salman of Saudi Arabia as a terrorist and attributed the spread of Islamic extremism to the king. Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Miqati rebuked these comments and stated they do not reflect the sentiment of the Lebanese government or the Lebanese people.  [I24 News]

“PM MIkati’s response to Nazsrallah’s speech was, ‘For God’s sake, have mercy on Lebanon and the Lebanese people and stop the hateful sectarian and political rhetoric.’ It is clear that the Prime Minister and the Lebanese people have had enough. Hezbollah claims they are  part of the political fabric of Lebanon. If that is the case then they should act on it then and prove through their actions that they support the IMF negotiations, allow Judge Bitar to do his job, and find a solution to the maritime border issue rather than antagonizing countries in the region.”

-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel

PM Miqati Says Will Convene Cabinet Within Days

After a nearly three month standoff since October, Prime Minister Najib Miqati said after a meeting with President Michel Aoun that the Cabinet will be convened as soon as the 2022 budget is received, which he expects to happen, “within the next two days.”  [Reuters]

“Why has PM Miqati waited so long to call for a cabinet meeting? Two motives are clear: he delayed attempting to cajole Amal and Hezbollah into dropping their opposition to the investigation of the Beirut Port blast and the need to pass a national budget. The latter is  a requirement of the IMF negotiations which Lebanon is desperate to complete. This dysfunctionality among the political elites does not serve Lebanon or the Lebanese people. Better to call out those opposed to moving forward so that the Lebanese will know who the true patriots are.”
-ATFL Vice President for Policy Jean AbiNader
Building a Modern Republic

In this op-ed, Kullna Irada outlines their vision for political success. Their philosophy is based on two foundational beliefs. The first is that there is a unified Lebanese identity that transcends confessional differences. The second is that rebuilding Lebanon requires a true republic that “reflects, protects, and cultivates” its citizens. Other key tenants include sovereignty, a restructured state, and an economy built to foster growth and social equity. [L’Orient Today]

“This is an example of civil society efforts that have been going on since the garbage strike, if not before. Forward thinking citizens understand that there is no single, short term solution and are mobilizing for the longer term struggle to revitalize Lebanon as a republic. This begins with people defining their priorities by voting for candidates who pledge and then act to remove corruption, instill responsibility, act transparently, and put the needs of the people as a defining principle for government actions. We should support their vision and Lebanon’s future.”
-ATFL Vice President for Policy 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.