Rear View – Lebanon in review (7 November 2021)

Rear View – Lebanon in review (7 November 2021)

Lebanese man

02 November: Lebanese student solves 50-year mathematical dilemma

In 1971, a mathematician named Rosenfeld proposed the notorious ‘Rosenfeld Conjecture’. In 2021, after over a year of deliberation, Lebanese student Ayman Hassan El-Zein has finally solved the problem.

The Rosenfeld Conjecture has been a source of consternation amongst mathematicians throughout time. The concept of a conjecture in mathematics refers to anything that has not been demonstrated, proven, or disproven.

The last progress made on the Rosenfeld Conjecture was by the French mathematicians Havet and Thomassé in 2000. The pair solved the problem with three exceptions. Ayman Al-Zein studied their work for over a year under the supervision of Professor Amin Al-Sahili. He then undertook six more months of research before he was finally able to solve the problem completely and without exceptions.

03 November: Lebanese Foreign Minister’s voice recordings leaked

The Saudi newspaper Okaz published recordings of Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib alleging that aid provided by Saudi Arabia to Lebanon is only supporting Saudi’s allies in Lebanon, such as Saad Hariri, not the country as a whole.

The newspaper reported that Bou Habib downplayed the importance of Arab Gulf aid to Lebanon, claiming that European Union and World Bank aid was of more significance. Bou Habib also reportedly said that even if the president and prime minister agree to dismiss George Kordai – Lebanon’s Information Minister who last week made controversial comments supporting the Yemeni Houthi rebel group – they will be unable to do so, since it would lead to a political crisis with Sleiman Frangieh, the head of the Marada party, who nominated him.

Bou Habib responded to the leaked recordings on Twitter, claiming that the goal of the interview they were taken from “was striving to open the door to dialogue and remove impurities to reform the relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and return it to normal, which is the goal for which I work hard.” This is a reference to the tense relationship between Lebanon and Saudi Arabia that has been building for the past two years due to Hezbollah’s influence on Lebanese politics.

Old house

04 November: Lebanese Jewish reunion in Paris

Lebanon’s ambassador to France, Rami Adwan, held a reunion for the Lebanese Jewish community in Paris. Representatives of each of Lebanon’s major religious groups attended, as well as the Chief Rabbi of France, Chaim Corsia.

The gathering brought together four generations of Lebanese Jews, including those born abroad as well as emigrants from three waves of emigration in 1967, 1976, and 1990.

The Lebanese Jewish expat community are divided in their relationship with their homeland. While some visit Lebanon regularly and are interested in Jewish sites, others have stopped visiting completely and avoid seeking Lebanese diplomatic or consular services. This is because the latter group believe that the Lebanese state rejects or deals cautiously with them.

The gathering was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Naji Jerji Zeidan, a Jewish affairs researcher, who hailed Ambassador Adwan’s actions. “In this conference, I found Lebanon as it should be, and this homeland was conveyed by Ambassador Adwan when he emphasized the need of returning Lebanese Jews to their homeland,” he said.

04 November: FedEx and DHL suspend shipments in and out of Saudi Arabia

In response to the Lebanon-Gulf crisis and Saudi Arabia’s halting of imports to Lebanon, FedEx has suspended all shipments into and out of Saudi Arabia, following a similar decision by DHL to suspend deliveries between the two nations.

The crisis was sparked by comments made by Lebanese Information Minister George Kordahi in defence of the Houthi rebel movement in Yemen. The Houthis are opposed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who support the Yemeni government in the nation’s ongoing civil war.

On October 29th, Saudi Arabia took severe action against Lebanon: The Lebanese ambassador was given 48 hours to leave the country, the Saudi envoy was recalled from Beirut, all imports from Lebanon were suspended, and Saudi Arabia declared that it had no interest in a relationship with Lebanon. Later, Saudi Arabia also recalled all of its citizens from Lebanon.

The crisis was further fuelled on November 3rd after voice recordings were leaked of Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdullah Bou Habib suggesting that Saudi aid to Lebanon only favoured the Gulf nation’s allies in the country.

On November 4th, Najib Mikati, the Lebanese prime minister, called for Kordahi to put the interests of Lebanon over populist slogans.

Fed ex

05 November:  France urges Gulf states not to isolate Lebanon in Gulf Crisis

France has urged the Gulf not to isolate Lebanon in the escalating Gulf crisis, stressing the need for Lebanon to be able to rely on its neighbours for assistance as it navigates a path out of its own national emergency.

“The dissociation of Lebanon from regional crises is of essential importance,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre told reporters.

“Lebanon must be able to count on all of its regional partners to support it on the path to reforms and the way out of the crisis,” she added.

In addition to destabilising Lebanon’s floundering economy, the Gulf row has also driven a wedge within the country’s fragile government, which was formed only two months ago after a year of deadlock and bitter negotiations

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