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Lebanon in April 2023

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Lebanon in April 2023

April 3, 2023

 

  1. The Court of Appeal in Paris is Considering the Validity of the Property Seizure of Lebanese Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh (AFP). The Paris Investigation Chamber is discussing the requests submitted by Salameh to recover more than ten properties and funds that were frozen in France, including apartments in the sixteenth arrondissement of Paris and on the Champs-Elysees Avenue, as well as in the United Kingdom and Belgium, as well as bank accounts and others.
  2. The IRGC Confirms the Killing of Iranian Leader, 41 Years After He Disappeared in Beirut (Al Sharq Al-Awsat). After 41 years of ambiguity and accusing the Israeli army of killing Ahmed Mutoselian, The IRGC announced during a meeting with his family that Mutoselian was killed in Beirut during the July 1982 war.

5 April 2023

  1. US Sanctions Two Lebanese Brothers Due to Corruption (Al-Nahar Al-Arabi). The Rahme brothers have previously denied their connection to ZR Energy DMCC, one of two subcontractors to import fuel for Lebanese power plants that were found to be contaminated, prompting the Lebanese authorities to launch a wide-ranging investigation in 2020.  Treasury said: “Raymond Zeina Rahme and his brother, Teddy Zeina Rahme, have used companies under their control — inside and outside Lebanon — to win numerous government contracts through a highly opaque public bidding process. 
  2. Despite Scapegoating Rhetoric, Lebanon’s Crisis is not Caused by Syrian Refugees (NOW Lebanon). Lebanese political leaders refuse to implement vital anti-corruption reforms necessary to initiate an $860 million (USD) economic rescue plan from the International Monetary Fund while using refugees as a bargaining chip to pressure the international community to provide more support for Lebanon. “There is a widespread perception amongst the Lebanese that international organizations are giving Syrians money and, therefore, they’re better off,” Michael Young, senior editor at the Malcolm H. Kerr Carnegie Middle East Centre in Beirut, told NOW Lebanon. “It’s shameful, but the reaction is not unexpected; the socio-economic situation in the country is a disaster.”

 

6 April 2023

 

  1. European Investigators to Return to Lebanon in Central Bank Governor Fraud Case (English Al Arabiya). European investigators will return to Beirut in April to question two key people who have been charged in Lebanon in a case involving alleged fraud by Lebanese central bank governor Riad Salameh, two sources with direct knowledge of the probe told Reuters.
  2. Iran Wants Lebanon on Agenda of Talks with KSA (Naharnet). “Iranian diplomacy has asked that the Lebanese file be placed on the agenda of the upcoming meeting between the Saudi and Iranian foreign ministers,” the Nidaa al-Watan newspaper quoted informed sources as saying.

 

IRAN-LEBANON-ISRAEL CRISIS UPDATE

 

14 April 2023

1. Nasrallah Hails West Bank Resistance, Says US Hegemony Will Be Replaced by Multipolar Order (Al Watan Online). In his address on International Al-Quds Day, Nasrallah highlighted the increasing strength of the resistance in the besieged Gaza Strip …He emphasized that the resistance in the West Bank and Palestine serves as Jerusalem’s shield… Nasrallah also noted that the world is steadily transitioning towards a multipolar order, signaling the end of the single-pole hegemony represented by the United States.

April 19, 2023

  1. US Offers up to $7 Million Reward for Hezbollah Leader (The New Arab). The US State Department’s Rewards for Justice Program announced in a statement that Ebrahim Aqil, also known as “Tahseen,” is a member of the highest military body in Hezbollah. In addition, the program tweeted, “40 years ago on this day, the Islamic Jihad Organization, which included Ibrahim Aqil as a member, took part in the bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut. 

 

April 20, 2023

  1. Lebanese Army Arrests Syrian Families (Al Hadath Al Souri). Syrian media sources reported that the Lebanese army arrested several Syrian refugees, including a Syrian army defector and his family, and took them to an unknown destination. The families of those arrested expressed concern that their loved ones might be deported to Syria.
  2. Lebanese Human Rights Organization Condemns the Mass Forced Deportations of Syrian Refugees (Syria TV). In two separate incidents, the Lebanese army forcibly deported 29 Syrian refugees from Haret al-Sakher in Beirut and 35 Syrian refugees from the Wadi Khaled area in northern Lebanon. According to a statement by the Wusul Center for Human Rights, Syrian refugees were subjected to ill-treatment during the raids, despite some of them being sick and children. The statement also mentioned that some refugees were registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and entered Lebanon legally but did not have a legal residence there.

April 21, 2023

  1. Qaani Created the Regional “Missile Platform” from Beirut, Completing Soleimani’s Strategy (Al Nahar). The “Wall Street Journal” reported about the supervision from Beirut of the commander of the Quds Force, Ismail Qaani, over the recent missile attack on Israel from Lebanese territory. The newspaper pointed out that Qaani mobilized Iran’s allies in the Middle East to launch a new wave of attacks on Israeli targets. In recent weeks, he held a series of secret meetings with militant leaders across the region, including some in Syria and Iraq.
  2. Harsh Criticism In Lebanon Over Rocket Attack On Israel: South Lebanon Is Turning Into ‘Hamas-Land’; Country May Be Dragged Into Another War With Israel (Memri). Harsher criticism was voiced by Lebanese former prime minister Fouad Al-Siniora, who called to keep Lebanon from becoming a base for firing rockets at Israel, especially without the consent of the Lebanese government and the Lebanese people. He said this contravenes UN Security Council Resolution 1701, endangers Lebanon, and further aggravates its problems.

 

April 24, 2023

 

  1. Political Debate Arises Over Deportation of Syrian Refugees from Lebanon (Enab Baladi). The Progressive Socialist Party, led by Walid Jumblatt, released a statement on Saturday, April 22, denouncing the recent deportations. The information urged the Lebanese government and military to uphold human rights principles. Furthermore, the report emphasized that returning Syrian refugees to Syria must be part of a comprehensive political solution and should only occur under safe and voluntary conditions.
  2. Banker Marwan Kheireddine Returns to Beirut Following His Indictment in France (L’Orient Today).  Lebanese banker and former minister Marwan Kheireddine returned to Beirut on Saturday from France, where he had been indicted and placed under judicial supervision in the French investigation into the European assets of Lebanon’s central bank chief Riad Salameh, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency reported. The former minister was received at the Beirut international airport by the head of the Lebanese Democratic Party, former Druze MP and minister Talal Arslan, who is also his brother-in-law, at the head of a delegation of politicians, clerics and supporters. Kheireddine, who runs the private bank al-Mawarid, was indicted in France at the end of March for criminal conspiracy.

April 25, 2023

  1. Hezbollah Acquires Naval Combat Capabilities That Threaten Israeli Warships (Al Nahar). In recent years, the Israeli army believes that Hezbollah has acquired naval combat capabilities that could expand the scope of the upcoming confrontation with Israel and threaten Israeli warships, gas platforms, drilling rigs, and sensitive strategic facilities along the country’s coast. According to Israeli estimates, reported by Israeli media, Hezbollah possesses small underwater objects that can be remotely controlled, drones, precision missiles, and dozens of anti-ship missiles.

 

April 26, 2023

  1. International Efforts to Ease Tensions Between Lebanese and Displaced Syrians; Municipalities Plan to Evacuate 55,000 (Janoubia). Tensions rise following a statement by Aya Majzoub, Deputy Director of the Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, who urged Lebanese authorities to halt the illegal deportation of Syrian refugees. She expressed concerns that refugees could face “torture or persecution” from the Syrian government upon their return to the war-torn country. “No refugee should be returned to any place where their life would be in danger,” Majzoub said.
  2. Exchange of Accusations Between Washington and Moscow Regarding Military Air Activities in Syria (Syria TV). General Matthew MacFarlane, the commander of the Joint Task Force for Operation Inherent Resolve in the International Coalition, stated that the United States “continues to witness unsafe and unprofessional activity by Russian forces in Syria.” However, he referred to “continuous communication across the line of non-conflict” between the two sides… Meanwhile, the head of the Russian Center for Reconciliation, Oleg Gorinov, mentioned that since the beginning of the year, 665 violations had been identified by the International Coalition forces, including 213 breaches in April.

April 27, 2023

  1. Romania Extradites Muhammad Bazzi to the United States on Charges of Financing Hezbollah (Al Arabiya). Muhammad Bazzi, accused by Washington of sending millions of dollars to Hezbollah, was arrested in February on charges of secretly selling real estate he owns in Michigan and transferring money abroad in violation of US criminal laws.
  2. Lebanese Government Escalates the Syrian Refugee Issue (Syria TV). On Wednesday, the Lebanese caretaker government held two meetings to discuss the file of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Unfortunately, the pace of raids and deportations launched by the Lebanese authorities against them is escalating, with an escalation of racism and hate speech. As a result, the Lebanese government has requested the Minister of Justice to discuss possibly handing over previously arrested and convicted persons to the Assad regime immediately, among other measures, to enforce the return of Syrian refugees to Assad-controlled territories. 

 

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