This Week In Lebanon: 1/29/2022

Saturday, January 29, 2022

January 29, 2022

Analysis: Lebanon Slips Further into Iran’s Orbit as Hariri Bows Out 
Perry and Bassam write, “A decision by Sunni Muslim leader Saad al-Hariri to step away from Lebanese politics opens the way for Shi’ite Hezbollah to extend its already deep sway over the country, rendering it ever more a bastion of Iranian influence on the Mediterranean. Three times prime minister, Hariri declared on Monday he would suspend his role in public life and boycott a general election in May, citing Iranian influence as one of the reasons he saw little hope of positive change . . .” [Reuters


“Former PM Hariri’s decision to retire from Lebanese politics has been expected for several months, but his unexpected decision to boycott the upcoming election plays into the hands of Hezbollah and old-line traditional party heads. This is  not  helpful for the reformist agenda. Sunni leaders must come together with the opposition in a show of unity and strength to overcome Hariri’s statement and display to the electorate that Sunnis reformists will fight to win seats in May.”

-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel

The World Bank Describes Lebanon’s Crisis as Great Denial

On Tuesday, the World Bank issued a press release where it accused Lebanese officials of causing the country’s current depression and charged them with being in denial in regards to their lack of response to the current crisis. They noted how the poor and the middle class are the most affected by the current crisis and observe that it has also caused a brain drain. The release concluded with a series of recommendations to lessen Lebanon’s economic collapse. [The 961]

“What more can be said or written? Lebanon is being strangled to death by an economic and political elite that looks after their own and could care less for the rest of the country. What does the future hold for a country that lets 70+% of its people struggle to survive without basic essential services and supplies? Nationally, its economy is in the same class of performance as Yemen and its institutions function at the level of Sudan. Is this the Lebanon our parents and grandparents taught us to love and remember?”

-ATFL Vice President for Policy Jean AbiNader

Kuwaiti Minister in Lebanon over Diplomatic Row with Gulf; Top Kuwaiti Diplomat Offers Gulf Lifeline to Help End Lebanon Crisis

Last Saturday, Kuwait’s Foreign Minister delivered a series of recommendations to Lebanese officials on how they can mend ties with the Gulf States. This is the first visit from a senior Gulf official to Lebanon since a diplomatic row that erupted in October following the comments of former Information Minister George Kordahi about the War in Yemen. [AP] Foreign Minister Sheikh Ahmad Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah asserted that Lebanon cannot “be a platform for any aggression – verbal or actual.“ He asserted that he wants to rebuild trust between both sides. Kuwait will soon host an Arab foreign ministers summit at the end of the month to assess Lebanon’s response to the Gulf states’ proposals and evaluate next steps. [Al Monitor]


“The Gulf Arabs, through Kuwait, have spoken, and they didn’t mince words. To regain the financial and political support that Lebanon desperately requires to decrease Iran’s influence and presence in the country, there are conditions ranging from reining in Hezbollah to silencing critics of Gulf leaders. Given the disastrous economic conditions in the country and the desperate need for the remittances from Lebanese working in the Gulf, these are more than threats; they are crippling indictments of a government and political system that no longer serves the majority of the Lebanese.”

-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.