Lebanon in January 2023
06 January 2023
- Hizballah Claims Mossad Is Recruiting Spies Through Sexual Exploitation (Beirut Observer). Hizballah security forces arrested Mohsen S, a worker in installing solar panels in Naqoura under allegations of having been a Mossad spy. According to the Hizballah media, the subject confessed to having been compromised while on a trip in Africa after he was expelled from the ranks of the organization.
10 January 2023
- Hizballah Leader Announces Mobilization of 9,000 New Soldiers (Al Modon). Nasrallah confirmed in a special meeting…that 9,378 new tactical soldiers have joined the faithful army of God, and to them are added nearly 90,000 members in the number of Imam al-Mahdi’s scouts. Nasrallah revealed that “Hizballah has more than 100,000 fighters, and what is hidden is greater.” This is not the first time that Nasrallah has announced this number of fighters, which exceeds 100,000, without announcing the exact number.
11 January 2023
- More Bank Raids as Depositors’ Rage Intensifies (Now Lebanon). As inflation rates climb and the Central Bank rushes to buy dollars on the Sayrafa platform, [Lebanese] depositors’ frustrations deepen and bank raids are once again on the rise. Today, two new raids on banks in Sidon and Nabatieh, in south Lebanon, occurred, similar to the series of bank holdups that took place in September 2022. The first one saw gunshots fired at a Sidon branch of BLOM Bank on Tuesday.
12 January 2023
- Hussein al-Husseini, Former Parliamentary Speaker and “Godfather of Taif Agreement,” Dead at 86 (Now Lebanon). Former Lebanese Speaker of Parliament Hussein al-Husseini died Wednesday morning at the age of 86 in the hospital after suffering from health problems. Al-Husseini served as the head of the Amal Movement, of which he was a co-founder, from 1978 until 1980 after the disappearance of the group’s founder Mousa al-Sadr, but stepped down after he refused to allow Amal to fight with the Palestinian Liberation Organization or any other factions in Lebanon. Soon after his departure, Amal entered Lebanon’s bloody civil war.
13 January 2023
- Iranian Foreign Minister Visits Beirut and Calls for Expedited Election of a President (Al Mayadeen). Speaking at the Beirut airport, Amir Abdollahian called on Lebanon with all its parties to “accelerate the election of a president for the republic, within consensus and dialogue that satisfies all parties, in order to get out of the presidential vacancy.”
17 January 2023
- Israeli Defense Minister: The Possibility of Escalation in Lebanon is always Present (Lebanon Files). Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Iran will remain the biggest challenge to Israel and its army, at a ceremony marking the appointment of the new Chief of Staff of the Israeli Army, Herzi Halevi. In turn, Netanyahu said, “In the face of the threats directed at us, primarily Iran and its terrorist proxies, we must show absolute determination,” according to Israeli media….In a related context, the Israeli Minister of Defense stressed that Iran’s nuclear threats are increasing and must be prevented. He stressed that “the possibility of escalation in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip is possible and always present, as well as the possibility of escalation in the West Bank.”
18 January 2023
- Nasrallah: The Iranian Fuel Offer is Still Valid for Six Months, and the Americans are Preventing It From Being Implemented (Lebanon Times). Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah said that “Iran’s leadership, presidency, and government have expressed their readiness to meet Lebanon’s needs, but the obstruction occurred on the Lebanese side, and Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir Abdallahian, during his recent visit, resubmitted the offer to Lebanon…And he stressed that the fuel offer is still valid for a period of six months, and the Americans are preventing it from being implemented, and they informed the officials that it is a red line, and it is possible that they threatened them.”
20 January 2023
1. Lebanese Deputies Will Sit in Parliament Until the Election of a President (Arabic News). Lebanese deputies announced on Thursday a peaceful sit-in inside the parliament building in the center of the capital, Beirut, until a new president is elected.
2. Beirut Prevents Two French Judges From Examining The Investigation Documents of the Port Explosion (Al Jazeera). A senior Lebanese judicial source said on Thursday that two French judges visiting Beirut this week as part of an investigation into the 2020 port explosion were denied access to documents from the Lebanese investigation, while the families of those arrested in the case carried out a sit-in in front of the Palace of Justice in Beirut, to demand the release of their children.
3. The Book “The Prophet” by Gibran in its First Centenary, 1923-2023 (Houna Loubnan) Since its publication in 1923, “The Prophet” has sold ten million copies in English in the United States alone. It has sold more than forty million copies in different languages.
4. World Food Program: Acute Food Insecurity Threatens Two Million Lebanese and Syrian Refugees (Al Modon). The representative of the World Food Program in Lebanon, Abdullah Al-Wardat, revealed that “37 percent of the Lebanese population and Syrian refugees face a high level of acute food insecurity. They are classified in the third (crisis) stage, as emergency humanitarian measures are required to help this group.” This percentage reflects the impact of 1.29 million Lebanese residents and 700 thousand Syrian refugees.
24 January 2023
1. The Port Explosion Investigation Judge Resumes his Work, After Reaching a Dead End (Al Nahar). Judge Tariq Al-Bitar made an exceptional decision to continue the investigation into this case. He issued two decisions, the first of which was to release five detainees who had been held in the case, and the second was to summon eight people, including two security officials and judges, for interrogation as defendants. A new judicial development has begun and it is too early to predict where it will reach.
25 January 2023
1. On Charges of Supporting Hizballah, US Sanctions Three Lebanese (Al Nahar). On Tuesday the US Treasury Department sanctioned Lebanese financial expert Hassan Makled and his two sons for facilitating Hizballah’s financial activities via their exchange company.
26 January 2023
1. A Harbinger of a Judicial Crisis: Lebanese Public Prosecutor Orders Release of All Those Arrested in the Beirut Port Explosion Case–and Charges the Judicial Investigator (Al Jazeera). On Wednesday, the Public Prosecutor in Lebanon, Ghassan Oweidat, ordered the release of all those arrested in the Beirut port explosion case, after the judicial investigator in the case, Tariq Al-Bitar, announced the resumption of his investigations nearly 13 months after they were suspended…Oweidat also charged Bitar for “rebellion against the judiciary and usurpation of power,” indicating that Bitar should not have resumed the investigation of the case this week.
2. Washington Will Channel $72 Million Via the UN to Pay Salaries for Lebanese Security Forces (Al Nahar). US Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy She announced the details of the financial support in the presence of the Lebanese Army Commander, Joseph Aoun, noting that the program will disburse $100 in cash per month for six months to members of the Lebanese Army and the Internal Security Forces. The Lebanese currency has lost about 97 percent of its value against the dollar since the collapse of the country’s financial system in 2019, which led to a decrease in the monthly salary of most members of the security forces to about $80.
27 January 2023
1. Protests Against Central Bank as Currency Declines to Nearly 56,000 Lira to the Dollar (Middle East Eye). Lebanese protesters blocked roads and burned tires near the Central Bank in Beirut and chanted slogans against Central Bank governor Riad Salameh, as the weakened local currency plummeted to a new low against the dollar.