Rear View – Lebanon in review (28 February 2021)
23 Feb: Bizri withdraws his resignation and accuses the health ministry
Abdul Rahman Bizri, head of the national COVID-19 vaccine committee, called on the Health Ministry to clarify the mistakes that happened regarding the vaccination of several MPs inside Parliament, as the service is capable for overseeing antibody dissemination and marking out antibodies from capacity centers. Although Bizri saw that the committee he heads was not dependable for what happened, he did apologize to the Lebanese people and expressed he was intending to submit his resignation in protest, but pulled back his talk with the committee individuals and the World Bank. Bizri too included that “the website is monitored by the Audit Bureau that can check who signed up on it and who didn’t.”
25 Feb: Vaccination then Justification
The authorities were quick to justify the vaccination scandal and some MPs considered themselves more deserving of the vaccine than their compatriots.
Anwar El-Khalil, Albert Mansour, Fayez Ghosn and Michel Moussa claimed that they did the vaccine after receiving a confirmation letter from the platform where the people are applying to get vaccinated.
25 Feb: No electricity with fuel stuck at sea
The two tankers stacked with fuel for EDL seem not be emptied due to the “failure to open a line of credit and the trouble in completing keeping money procedures,” agreeing to the articulation EDL issued on Thursday. Meanwhile, the company expanded power proportioning in later days and the two ships are holding up at the Lebanese coast. The Central Bank corresponded with the Energy Minister last week about fuel subsidies, as well as the Finance Minister about the forensic audit. Whereas the Central Bank governor shows not to be collaborating on the latter, he is actually applying pressure over other issues to try and evade the audit.
26 Feb: Protestor: The Bank is humiliating us and betrayed our trust
The Association of Depositors in Lebanon and the Depositors Union organized a march from Riad El Solh Square to the Central Bank via the Economy Ministry, to protest against the banks’ determination in mortifying investors and holding quick to their cash. Also, the protestors criticized the nonattendance of the state and institutions that are “intentionally ignoring their role and duties during a crisis of their own making.”
The Depositors’ Union has been effectively applying pressure on the bank sector. On February 15, it recorded a claim against the segment in which it requested “placing a provisional freeze on movable and immovable funds belonging to bank board members.”
26 Feb: The win of AUB Students
On Friday, the Summary Affairs judge in Beirut invalidated AUB’s later decision, by which it debilitated to expel students who are late to settle their educational cost expenses since they are turning to pay them through public accountants at the official trade rate. This step clears the way for proceeded endeavors to cancel the dollarization choice, and the AUB Secular Club stated that all students can pay at the notary public, and join this safety net that we have established without any repercussions from the university.”
Last Monday, AUB sent a message to students debilitating to expel them in case they didn’t settle their educational cost expenses by the day after the due date terminated on March 2.
28 Feb: The internationalized battle of Bkerki
Maronite Patriarch al-Rahi gave a speech in Bkerki to a crowd of people who had energized in reaction to his call for a UN-backed international conference for Lebanon. Al-Rahi proposed this since “all other solutions have reached a dead end,” stressing the need for “Lebanon’s positive and active neutrality.” He also condemned illegal weapons and called for the international conference’s support to limit weapons to the Lebanese Army “to be Lebanon’s only defender.”
Al-Rahi had already called for Lebanon’s lack of bias and a worldwide conference, which driven to a reaction by Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah condemning the guideline of internationalization. Al-Rahi’s tone rose when he requested internationalization, after he failed to intercede between President Michel Aoun and Prime Minister Saad Hariri to rush government formation. Economically, the Patriarch has been a furious defender of Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh.
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