US Envoy Expected to Visit Beirut Next Week over Israel Gas Dispute The 23rd Session of Parliament: Political Infighting and Piecemeal Solutions in an Unprecedented Crisis Iran’s Malign Proxies Are Tearing A Nation Apart
US Envoy Expected to Visit Beirut Next Week over Israel Gas Dispute
This past Sunday, Israel established a gas rig at the Karish Field, its designated location, which it claims falls within its UN-recognized exclusive economic zone. However, Lebanon claims that the gas rig was established in disputed waters. Lebanese President Michel Aoun stated that maritime border negotiations have not been completed and that any additional actions by Israel would be considered “a provocation and hostile act.” Next week, US envoy Amos Hochstein will visit Beirut next week, at the invitation of the Lebanese government, and attempt to de-escalate tensions and resume talks. [Reuters]
The time is ripe to close a deal if both Israel and Lebanon can keep an open mind to compromise regarding the maritime border dispute. US Envoy Hochstein needs to be flexible in listening to both sides and also remain a neutral facilitator. A solution is within reach, but all three parties must be willing to make some creative compromises that will bring this long awaited solution to fruition.
-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel
The 23rd Session of Parliament: Political Infighting and Piecemeal Solutions in an Unprecedented Crisis
The previous session of Lebanon’s parliament occurred during an economic collapse, global pandemic, and the Port of Beirut explosion. LCPS’ analysis points to a broken and divided government that failed to meet on-the-books requirements of oversight and transparency. Basic measures, such as publishing minutes and voting records of parliamentary sessions, were either inefficient or entirely absent. While the protest movement helped raise the issue of financial reform, the parliament was unable to pass any major reforms. [Eurasia Review]
This analysis points to the difficulties inherent in the dysfunctional system that passes for Lebanon’s Parliament. When legislation is in place; it doesn’t get through committees or, when it passes, it is not implemented. The talent is there to support leadership but the sectarian politics dictate that appointments are made on arcane criteria. And there continues to be stalemate and obfuscation where monitoring and responsible debate leading to solutions are imperative. Time for a wholesale reform that puts the people and the state at the top of the list of priorities.
-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader
Iran’s Malign Proxies Are Tearing A Nation Apart
In this op-ed, Baria Alamuddin notes how the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces are employing a “divide and conquer” strategy as it seeks to control Iraq’s Nineveh province. They have even aligned with the Kurdistan Workers Party, which has increased tension between them and Turkey. Alamuddin notes that the presence of armed groups at the expense of state control is a key strategy for Iran throughout the region. The key challenge for regional security, she concludes, is state sovereignty. [Arab News]
After reading this analysis, it will be hard for anyone to deny the destructive role that Iran plays in the Middle East. From Iraq to Yemen, its tentacles, embedded in the actions of various militias, are clearly operating to advance its foreign policy goal of becoming the regional hegemon. These proxy militias, fed and nurtured by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, have developed an expertise in destabilizing countries and promoting distrust among allies. Any US negotiations with Iran must pursue a firm effort to rein in these militias, whatever their provenance.
-ATFL Vice President 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.