Thursday, April 18, 2019

UANI Resource: Perspectives on Lebanon and Hezbollah

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 Perspectives: Lebanon and Hezbollah 

April 18, 2019

Perspectives: Lebanon and Hezbollah, is a UANI weekly resource highlighting developments in Lebanon and the activities of the terrorist group Hezbollah.  

Hezbollah Internationally
Pro-Hezbollah Lebanese Health Minister to Visit the U.S. Soon
Dr. Jamil Jabaq - Lebanon's new Hezbollah-affiliated Health Minister - said he would visit Washington, D.C. "soon," to meet with officials from the World Bank. Dr. Jabaq stressed that he was not a member of Hezbollah, and denied being Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah's personal physician. Despite claiming distance from the Shiite organization, Dr. Jabaq said he "wished [the rumor that he is Nasrallah's physician] were true," and that he does in fact treat people who are very close to the group's secretary-general.

Lebanon Internationally

Aoun to Visiting American Delegation: We Reject Recognition of Golan as Israeli
Lebanese President Michel Aoun told a visiting American delegation that Beirut rejects U.S. recognition of Israel's assertion of sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights. He said Lebanon rejects the move because the territory annexed by Israel includes Lebanese lands, referring to the disputed Shebaa Farms/Har Dov area, which Israel asserts are Syrian but Lebanon claims as its own.

Aoun stressed to the American delegation - which included Congressmen Adam Kinzinger and Vicente Gonzalez - that Lebanon reserves the right to regain this land "by all available means." In the past, Lebanese officials have used this phrase as a euphemism for Hezbollah's "resistance" against Israel.

France Warns Lebanon Over Economic Conditions
French ambassador to Lebanon Bruno Foucher called on Beirut this week to implement strict austerity measures to reduce its surging annual budget deficit and massive national debt.

In related news, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri vowed to implement economic reforms, including spending reductions and austerity measures to avoid economic collapse, warning that otherwise, the country was heading toward a "catastrophe."
Bassil Visits Moscow, Urges Allowing Syria to Rejoin Arab League
Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil flew to Moscow on Monday to participate in the Russian-Arab cooperation forum co-hosted by Russia and the Arab League.

At the forum, Bassil urged the Arab League to allow Syria to rejoin and also called for the repatriation of Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. "Every time we meet [at the Arab League], there is a vacant seat disrupting the joy of our Arab gatherings; it is no longer permissible for Syria to remain outside the Arab orbit," Bassil said. Bassil also attacked U.S. President Donald Trump's promised Israeli-Palestinian peace plan, saying Israel was the "unmistakable enemy" of Arabs.

Lebanese Delegation Meets with World Bank, IMF Officials in Washington, D.C.
Lebanese Economy and Trade Minister Mansour Bteish led a Lebanese delegation to Washington, D.C. this week to meet with World Bank and International Monetary Fund officials. In the meetings, the delegation and the economic officials reportedly discussed funding projects in several sectors of the Lebanese economy, particularly energy and the private sector.

Lebanon Domestically

Lebanese Parliament Approves Changes to Implement Electricity Plan
The Lebanese parliament passed legislation necessary to implement its ambitious plan to restructure the country's crumbling electricity sector. Restructuring that sector has been one of the key demands of international donors and the World Bank. Lebanese officials hope that making structural changes to the power sector will lead to the disbursement of $11 billion in loans and grants earmarked for Lebanon at last year's CEDRE Conference in Paris.

The new electricity plan - agreed to last week by Prime Minister Saad Hariri's cabinet and passed by parliament on Wednesday - aims to eventually provide 24-hour electricity to the Lebanese people.

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