US Ambassador Urges President Election, Says Situation Not Hopeless Flooding from Heavy Rainfall Traps People in their Cars
Head of Lebanon’s Supreme Judicial Council Calls for ‘Revolution’ Against Interference in the Judiciary
US Ambassador Urges President Election, Says Situation Not Hopeless During a visit with the Maronite League, US Ambassador Dorothy Shea reiterated the urgency for lawmakers to both elect a new president and approve necessary reforms to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund. [Naharnet]
The situation doesn’t have to be hopeless if the Lebanese Parliament does their job to elect a competent, reformist president; pass required legislation for an IMF deal that reflects a consensus of the parliament and citizens of Lebanon; and satisfies World Bank requirements concerning the Levantine Energy Deal in order to guarantee up to 8 more hours of electricity per day. The US and World Bank have their obligations as well. The US has taken a long time to negotiate a delivery mechanism with the UNDP for providing family support for the LAF. Furthermore, the World Bank must recognize the urgency of the Levantine Energy Deal in supporting the people of Lebanon during this historic crisis and find ways to accelerate its approval process.
-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel
Flooding from Heavy Rainfall Traps People in their Cars Last month, the Civil Defense rescued people who were trapped in their cars at Nahr Ibrahim, Jbeil. The Civil Defense tweeted they “‘had towed a number of cars’ and rescued people who were trapped in cars submerged in rising waters.” [L’Orient Today]
The finger-pointing continues. Nature strikes, people suffer, the government responds inadequately. This is Lebanon today, and for the past 30 plus years. Caretaker ministers do what little they can but with civil servants faced with a 90% loss in the wages, they have little motivation to action above and beyond. The continuing gridlock in the parliament, which cannot punch its way out of the presidential paper bag, leaves people wondering what’s next. There is no simple equation for rerouting Lebanon’s dismal drift away from a more positive and innovative future. It’s up to the Lebanese. Time they remind the political leaders that it is in their hands to elect a clean, credible, and viable president committed to reforms and a national vision of sovereignty.
-ATFL Vice President Jean AbiNader
Head of Lebanon’s Supreme Judicial Council Calls for ‘Revolution’ Against Interference in the Judiciary According to Reuters, “Lebanon’s most senior judge [recently] said meddling by the political leadership in the work of the judiciary had led to a chaotic situation that required a ‘revolution in approaches’ to resolve, in a rare public rebuke of ruling elites.” [Reuters]
One of the last credible institutions to many is crumbling away as politicians are whittling away the judiciary. First the undermining of the Beirut Port explosion investigation, then the in-fighting over special investigations such as the Central Bank audit, and now the dismissal of an aggressive judge trying to move ahead with corruption investigations while parliament’s reluctance to appoint “clean” monitors for various government institutions, beginning with the electricity sector, holds the country hostage. While the LAF has been able to maintain its operational standards, who knows what will happen with new leadership appointed by the deal to elect a new president?
-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.