Search
Search

MORNING BRIEF

US fines for 2006 war, Iranian fuel shipment, hundreds of irregular migrants rescued: Everything you need to know to start your Wednesday

Here’s what happened yesterday and what to expect today, Wednesday, Sept. 21:

US fines for 2006 war, Iranian fuel shipment, hundreds of irregular migrants rescued: Everything you need to know to start your Wednesday

A protester in front of the Justice Palace in Beirut demanding the release of two detained activists. (Mohammad Yassin/L'Orient Today)

Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.

The first investigating judge of Beirut, Charbel Abou Samra, will decide Wednesday whether to release or file an arrest warrant against two activists who participated in the holdup at Blom Bank, Sodeco last Wednesday. Abou Samra will question Abdel Rahman Zakaria and Mohammad Rustom regarding their role in the holdup. Last Wednesday, Sali Hafez withdrew at toy-gunpoint around $13,000 of her own funds from the Sodeco branch of Blom Bank. Hafez escaped through a broken window, however, Zakaria and Rustom were taken into custody. The pair’s arrest sparked a slew of protests in various regions of the country. The Lebanese Army on Monday reportedly arrested 18 protesters after a demonstration demanding Zakaria and Rustom’s release escalated into scuffles with soldiers, four of whom were injured, the army said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian “reiterated Iran's willingness to supply Lebanon with fuel and any other aid that the country requests,” the Lebanese foreign ministry said in a tweet on Tuesday. The statement came after a meeting between Lebanese caretaker Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib with his Iranian counterpart during the 77th United Nations General Assembly. A Lebanese delegation in Iran reached an agreement to supply Lebanon with 600,000 tons of fuel over a period of five months, Hezbollah-affiliated television station Al-Manar reported. Iranian fuel will be delivered as a “donation and not a purchase,” Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mojtaba Amani told Reuters earlier this month, explaining that the “gift” aims to circumvent US sanctions on Iran’s energy sector.

A US court demanded around $111 million in damages from Hezbollah to cover physical, emotional and property damage suffered during the 2006 Hezbollah-Israel war by a group of Americans. The plaintiffs alleged that Hezbollah, specifically rockets the group fired during the war, caused physical and emotional injury and damaged their property. A judge at the federal court of Brooklyn, New York held Hezbollah liable under the US Anti-Terrorism act, exacting a “heavy price,” Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs, said. A Hezbollah spokesperson declined to comment when contacted by L’Orient Today. According to Human Rights Watch, the war resulted in 1,109 deaths in Lebanon, the vast majority of whom were civilians. Another 4,399 people in Lebanon were injured. Hezbollah's attack on Israel resulted in the deaths of 43 Israeli civilians as well as hundreds of others injured.

Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri announced that Parliament will continue voting on the 2022 draft budget law next Monday. Parliament had scheduled three days of discussion, from last Wednesday to Friday, to address the much-delayed 2022 budget. The general assembly did not reach quorum on the first day due to MP absences and lost quorum on the last due to MP walkouts that occurred mid-vote. A credible, balanced budget is among the requirements put forward in April by the International Monetary Fund in a staff-level agreement in order for Lebanon to receive a financial assistance package. An IMF delegation arrived Monday for a three-day visit to “accelerate” the implementation of the aforementioned reforms, Gerry Rice, a spokesperson for the agency, said. Berri emphasized on Monday “Parliament’s determination to intensify its work on achieving the reforms” after meeting with the delegation. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva urged Lebanon’s legislature to “approve reform programs,” caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati said after they met Tuesday. Caretaker Finance Minister Youssef Khalil said after meeting with the IMF on Monday that the draft budget met the international agency’s requirements, adding that the 2022 budget’s goal is “meeting the basic needs of the population.” Meanwhile, the head of the European Union's diplomatic mission in Lebanon, Ralph Tarraf, urged president Michel Aoun to "do everything possible to implement the reforms requested by the International Monetary Fund."

Cyprus’ Joint Rescue Coordination Center (JRCC) said they had rescued of hundreds of people who were stranded off the island’s coast in two separate irregular migration attempts. The JRCC intervened by sea and air Monday evening to rescue a boat reportedly carrying over 300 people who were safely transferred from their craft with the aid of a commercial vessel. Hours later, the JRCC escorted to shore 177 people who were aboard a separate vessel. Also Monday evening, the Lebanese Army thwarted an irregular sea migration attempt from the northern Lebanon border village Arida.

In case you missed it, here’s our must-read story from yesterday:Ketamine treatments on the rise in Lebanon as suicidal tendencies increase.”

Compiled by Abbas Mahfouz


Want to get the Morning Brief by email? Click here to sign up.The first investigating judge of Beirut, Charbel Abou Samra, will decide Wednesday whether to release or file an arrest warrant against two activists who participated in the holdup at Blom Bank, Sodeco last Wednesday. Abou Samra will question Abdel Rahman Zakaria and Mohammad Rustom regarding their role in the holdup. Last Wednesday,...