This Week In Lebanon: 1/22/2022

Saturday, January 22, 2022

January 22, 2022

Hezbollah, Amal Movement to End Boycott of Cabinet Sessions
Announced in a statement on Saturday, the two shiite political groups, Amal Movement and Hezbollah, declared an end to their ministers’ boycott of cabinet sessions after a three-month paralysis has limited the Lebanese government’s capacity to assuage its crises. [Al-Jazeera]


“Amal and Hezbollah said ‘they would end (their) boycott,’ following three months of stagnation due to their past obstruction.  This should allow the government to enter into serious negotiations with the IMF regarding a reform package that, if enacted, is the single most important action they can take in order to halt the economic decline in Lebanon. The real test is whether this government can now come together and produce a reform program, stabilize the lira, fix the power sector, complete the audit of the Central Bank, and move ahead the Beirut Port explosion investigation. Until then, Hezbollah and Amal will continue to be viewed as roadblocks to progress.”  

-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel

‘No Money Left’: Lebanese Telcos Close to Meltdown as Cable Thieves Thrive; Lebanon Faces Internet Service Interruption Amid Fuel Crisis

Lebanon’s two telecommunications companies are now spending the majority of their money on diesel for their private power generators they increasingly use due to widespread power outages. Lebanon’s tech duopoly are now struggling to get by on a day-to-day basis. [Reuters] Last Sunday, internet service was disrupted across the country because of diesel shortages. This outage affected over 26,000 users, including operation rooms of Internal Security. Later that same day, Achrafieh, in east Beirut, also ran out of diesel and temporarily ran on batteries. [US News and World Report]

“Let’s clarify the lesson of this story. Lebanon, the once-was, “wanna-be”, educational center of the Levant, can’t even sustain its internet. It’s a death knell not only to educational attainment but also to entrepreneurs, people, and businesses that rely on technology for communications. Innovation, learning, transactions, data acquisition and storage, and so many other functions are disrupted by the failed power sector. Time to implement changes already passed in parliament to make the sector relevant and less painful to the Lebanese and their livelihoods.”

-ATFL Vice President for Policy Jean AbiNader

The EU Issued A Statement Denouncing The Lebanese Decision-Makers

On Wednesday, the European Union Delegation to Lebanon and European member-states in Lebanon issued a statement of condemnation against the Lebanese government and Lebanese decision-makers. They called for action with recommendations such as the resumption of regular cabinet meetings, an IMF agreement to solve the economic crisis, and fair and transparent elections. Their statement also included a call for justice and accountability at the conclusion of the Port of Beirut Blast Investigation. [The 961]

“Lebanon’s leaders must heed the calls of the international community to take these suggested steps on reform, combating corruption, the need for on-time elections, and an effective transitional government. It is time to face the consequences of mismanagement and corruption that have made Lebanon a beggar state.”

-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.