This Week in Lebanon

Monday, October 26, 2020
Opinion by admin
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OCTOBER 25, 2020
Saad Hariri Renamed Lebanon’s Prime Minister
Human Rights Group Says Lebanon’s Blast Probe Not Credible
US House Representatives Urge Humanitarian Aid

 

Saad Hariri Renamed Lebanon’s Prime Minister
One year after Saad Hariri resigned from his role as Prime Minister, he has been reinstated as PM once again with a slim majority of votes from parliament. Political groups that voted in favor of Hariri’s return include his own Future Movement, the Shia Amal Movement, the Druze Progressive Socialist Party and the Syrian Socialist Nationalist party. The Free Patriotic Movement and Lebanese Forces abstained and Hezbollah did not vote for Hariri either. Tasked with forming his fourth government, Hariri promised to form a government of non-partisan experts and to reconstruct Beirut’s damage left from the August 4 explosion. (Al Jazeera)

ANALYSIS

“The hope now is that the incoming PM Saad Hariri can form an independent, reform minded government. The IMF and international donors are clear: an independently empowered government must quickly put forward and begin implementing a “comprehensive” plan of reforms, including financial, economic, political, and social programs, and Lebanon’s parliament must be willing to fast track legislation to support such a plan. Nothing short of this will succeed. Once again, it’s in the hands of the country’s rulers to do what they have failed to do for the past year. UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon Jan Kubis said Thursday, shortly after ex-PM Saad Hariri was named to form a new government, ‘Do not count on miracles, foreign elections or external donors – the rescue must start in Lebanon, by Lebanon.'”
-ATFL President Edward M. Gabriel


Human Rights Group Says Lebanon’s Blast Probe Not Credible
This week Human Rights Watch reported that the Lebanon-led investigation into the Beirut blasts in August has been distorted by political meddling and a lack of judicial independence. The group has called for the United Nations to lead an inquiry into the cause of the explosion. HRW called on international supporters, led by France, to press the Lebanese authorities to accept an independent inquiry. (Associated Press)

ANALYSIS

“It is not enough that the blast occurred but the subsequent investigations have been hamstrung by the oligarchy’s unwillingness to accept responsibility further than acknowledging that it happened on their watch. How long with the Lebanese people remain at the mercy of leaders who avoid leadership and how will they once again trust their justice system when it is manipulated with ease? Time for a transparent international investigation to restore some integrity to the discovery process.”
-ATFL Policy Director Jean AbiNader


US House Representatives Urge Humanitarian Aid
US House Representatives are urging the Trump administration to ensure continued assistance to the Lebanese people following the Beirut explosion. Representatives Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) and Elaine Luria (D-VA) led a bipartisan letter sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking for more oversight and action to help Lebanon and ensure that the funds aren’t being misused by Hezbollah. The letter says that Hezbollah exploited $18 million in humanitarian aid sent after the blast. (The Hill)

ANALYSIS

“The bipartisan letter continues a theme of previous appeals from Congress to the Administration: support the Lebanese people and avoid any diversion of this aid to Hezbollah-linked entities. This challenges donors since Hezbollah is entwined with many organizations and agencies. Yet hesitating to provide badly needed humanitarian assistance damages the credibility of the international community. Fortunately, there are many credible international and local NGOs on the ground that can direct resources where the needs are greatest, among the Lebanese and the refugees in the country.”
-ATFL Policy Director Jean AbiNader

Click here for ATFL approved NGOs to donate to.


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.