This Week In Lebanon: 3/12/2022

Saturday, March 12, 2022


March 12, 2022

Hezbollah Secretary General Denounces Lebanon’s Condemnation of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine, Blames US
In a televised speech, Secretary General of Hezbollah Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah commented scathingly on the Lebanese government’s stance regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, claiming that the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s statement was “written at the American embassy.” [Naharnet]  L’Orient Today reported that “referring to the ‘neutral position’ of Lebanese foreign policy, which Hezbollah’s rivals in politics call for, Nasrallah said ‘where was it when Lebanon was voting on the UN resolution.’ He added that Lebanon ‘should not take this position [of neutrality], but should deal with foreign policy matters case by case.'” [L’Orient Today] Hezbollah is openly tied to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and has been a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States since 1997.


“The courageous decision of Lebanon to denounce Russian aggression against Ukraine and clearly reaffirm its pro-Western position in a recent UN vote, is of major significance in the US-Lebanon relationship. Now is the time for countries of the world that stand against totalitarian rule and are committed to the rule of law and human rights, to be counted on the right side of history. There should be no middle ground for abstentions and diplo-speak. In this regard, Lebanon has clearly stated its position in favor of a stronger relationship with democracies and against a reckless Russia.”

-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel

Parliamentary Finance and Budget Committee Discusses 2022 Draft Budget 
Ibrahim Kanaan, MP and chair of the parliamentary Finance and Budget Committee said, “The 2022 budget might be approved by the Parliament before the elections, but only if the Finance Ministry and the government commit to the conditions discussed.” Coming a month after the government approved the proposal, this is the Committee’s first meeting  related to the 2022 budget proposal.  [L’Orient Today]


“Lebanon’s leaders continue to demonstrate their unwillingness to make the difficult decisions needed for reforms to begin. Amal and Hezbollah are opposed to the budget approval process hoping that the elections will give them even more time to consolidate their control over Parliament. This serves their coalition partners as well who continue to enrich themselves at the expense of the Lebanese people. Even with its many flaws, the budget hearings should happen immediately so that voters can see firsthand where their interests fall on the priorities list of the political class.”

-ATFL Vice President for Policy Jean AbiNader

On the Brink: The Critical State of Lebanon’s Education System
Between COVID-19 and the country’s economic crisis, Lebanon’s economic system is tethering on the brink of collapse. 2021 witnessed a massive wave of 55,000 students departing private schools for public ones (World Bank). UNICEF also found a sizable number of young people who either dropped out of school or reduced education-related expenses to buy essentials such as basic food and medicine.  [LCPS]


“It is a fantasy to think that Lebanon can bounce back in a short period of time from the current dismal state of the state. Public services such as health, education, social services,  transportation, and so many other government functions will take decades and hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild. Education, once a source of Lebanon’s strength, lies exposed and severely damaged in both the private and public sectors. Moving forward requires both a clear vision and significant commitment from the country’s leadership.”

-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.