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Rear View – Lebanon in review (5 September 2021)

Rear View – Lebanon in review (5 September 2021)

30 August: Mothers of Beirut explosion victims demand justice

Mothers of the victims of the Beirut explosion surrounded the home of Judge Ghassan Ouaidat, protesting against political interference into the explosion’s investigation.

“We are no political analysts, nor do we know the proper legal measurements that need to be done.” A public statement from the mothers said.

“All that we know is that you, as the head of the jurisdiction, integrity and faithfulness are within your position. So why let injustice take place?”

Judge Ouaidat reportedly responded, “I left the case and I have nothing to do with it, and you will take your right through Judge Bitar.”

The Lebanese Parliament has recently obstructed the subpoenaing of political figures, including caretaker PM Hassan Diab, and refused to waive their parliamentary immunity.

The explosion took place almost a year ago, and President Michel Aoun promised an investigation would be completed within five days.

Later that day in an interview with Al-Jadeed, Ouaidat claimed the reason the investigation was taking so long was because,” This case is complex and intricate.”

 

Once again, beating around the bush to evade telling the truth continues to be what officials have proven to be the best at in the country.

02 September: Lebanon to receive Iranian fuel via Syria by truck

The first Iranian shipment of fuel to Lebanon has reportedly entered Syrian waters. Two sources close to the matter claim that it will be transported to Lebanon from Syria by truck to sidestep any complications related to sanctions.

“Choosing to receive the vessel via Syria is not related to any fear of targeting by Israel or the U.S. but is due to internal considerations related to not wanting to implicate any allies,” one source told Reuters.

There is still uncertainty surrounding the progress of the shipment. Lebanese caretaker energy minister says no requests for permits to import Iranian fuel have been made. And tracking service TankerTrackers.com disputed the report that the Iranian vessel carrying the fuel had entered Syrian waters.

 

Once it arrives, hospitals will be the first priority to receive the fuel supply

03 September: Lebanese officials travel to Syria to strike electricity deal

Syria hosted a delegation from Lebanon’s caretaker government, in its highest-level ministerial visit in years. Lebanon hopes to ease its power crisis by utilising Syrian grids to transmit electricity.

The delegation, led by Foreign Minister Zeina Akar, discussed the plan by which Egyptian gas will be used to generate electricity in Jordan that will then be transmitted via Syria, a Lebanese official said. The Lebanese ministers for energy and finance were also part of the delegation.

The Syrian embassy in Lebanon said that Syria was ready to partake in talks on electricity and gas, Akar told Reuters.

Lebanese government officials have mostly avoided Syria since war began there in 2011, as Beirut adopted a policy of staying out of regional conflicts. Even so, Hezbollah has fought in support of Damascus during Syria’s Civil War.

The severe energy and fuel shortage in Lebanon has resulted in the closure of some hospitals and other essential services. It has been a year since the economy was ravaged by a more widespread financial meltdown.

03 September: Help us help you: EU politicians to visit Lebanon

A five-person delegation of European politicians arrived in Lebanon for a four-day visit. The Europeans will meet with representatives of national authorities, NGOs and civil societies to discuss providing financial, humanitarian and political support, on the condition that Lebanon makes necessary structural changes to secure its future.

A statement from the delegation to Lebanon said, “we need your help. Your help to help you. Without concrete progress on forming a new government, implementing necessary reforms and ensuring victims get truth and justice, the new future for Lebanon will fail to arrive.”

Each representative of the Socialists and Democrats bloc in the European Union’s Parliament hopes the delegation can convince “the different political factions [in Lebanon] to put aside their immediate interests to form a new government as soon as possible.”

Portuguese politician Isabel Santos, who is part of the delegation, notes that the visit comes ahead of the 2022 Lebanese parliamentary elections. The delegation will seek assurances that the elections next year won’t be postponed, and that they’ll take place in a free and democratic atmosphere.

03 September: Two babies abandoned in Lebanon point to escalating crisis

Two babies have been found abandoned in Lebanon in less than a week.

On August 27, a baby girl was found in a garbage bag beneath the Burj Hammoud Bridge in Beirut; on September 1, a baby boy was discovered on the stairs of the entrance to Al-Bahr Mosque in Sidon. The behaviour is reminiscent of the Lebanese Civil War, which ended in 1990.

Lebanese news agency The961 investigated what happened to the baby girl found in Beirut. At the moment, she is in the care of the Union for the Protection of Infants in Lebanon (UPEL). She is currently in hospital with reportedly good health.

A case has been opened in the juvenile’s court to find the infant’s parents, who will face prosecution if found. If they can be identified, the child will be given to a member of her extended family, or otherwise put up for adoption.

UPEL has been receiving an influx of phone calls from concerned citizens, inquiring about adopting the child.

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