Lebanon in Jul 2023

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Jul 8-10, 2023

  1.   Around 30 Lebanese Soldiers, Hezbollah Members Crossed Briefly Into Israeli Territory (Times of Israel). Around 30 Lebanese soldiers and some Hezbollah members briefly crossed into Israeli territory last week before returning to Lebanon. Most of the armed groups spent approximately 20 minutes on the Israeli side of the border without breaching the border fence. The incident occurred amid tensions over increased Hezbollah activity along the border, including establishing tents inside Israeli territory and firing an anti-tank missile from Lebanon. The IDF asked the UN peacekeeping force on the Lebanon-Israel border to address the matter.

Jul 11, 2023         

  1. After Israel Demands Removal of Hizballah Border Tents, Lebanon Demands Demarcation of Land Border (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Lebanon responded to Israeli demands to remove two Hezbollah tents that it had set up in the border area of the Shebaa Farms by demanding a full demarcation of the land borders with Israel and the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the northern part of the village of Ghajar, the Shebaa farms, and the Kafar Shouba hills, which Lebanon considers occupied. The diplomatic and security movement intensified towards Beirut to ease the tension resulting from new Israeli measures in the northern part of the occupied town of Ghajar in southeastern Lebanon and two tents erected by Hezbollah in the disputed Sheba Farms area.
  2. UN Relays Israeli Request to Remove Hezbollah Tent, As Beirut Counters with Demands (Times of Israel). Two tents manned by armed Hezbollah members were discovered in early June on Israeli territory north of the internationally recognized border (the so-called Blue Line) in the contested Mount Dov region, also known as the Shebaa Farms…In the meantime, one tent was removed after Israel reportedly sent a message to Hezbollah threatening an armed confrontation if it did not remove the outpost soon.

Jul 12, 2023

  1.     Mikati Confirms Lebanon’s Readiness to Demarcate Southern Border with Israel (Sputnik Arabic). Lebanon’s caretaker prime minister, Najib Mikati, confirmed today, Tuesday, his country’s readiness to “demarcate the entire southern border with Israel.” Mikati said, in statements to the Lebanese newspaper “Nidaa Al-Watan”: “We are striving to resolve the issue of the tents diplomatically, and we consider that the town of Ghajar is Lebanese with the recognition of the United Nations,” stressing that Beirut “has informed the United Nations of its readiness to carry out the full demarcation of all the southern borders.”

Jul 13, 2023

  1. The “Five” in Doha Monday…and Hochstein Again (Al Nahar). The five-nation committee concerned with following up on the presidential crisis in Lebanon will convene next Monday in Doha, and includes representatives of the United States, France, Qatar, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. 

Jul 14, 2023

  1. Gemayel Tells Qatari Ambassador: We Reject any President Imposed by Hezbollah (Al Nahar). The head of the Lebanese Kataeb Party, Representative #Sami Gemayel, met the Qatari ambassador to Lebanon, Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Sahlawi, on a farewell visit, during which they discussed the latest developments, especially the presidential election file before the Committee of Five convenes in Doha next week. The meeting was attended by MPs Nadim Gemayel and Elias Hankash, former minister Alain Hakim, head of the foreign relations apparatus in the Kataeb, Michel Abu Abdullah, and coordinator of foreign relations, Marwan Abdullah. 
  2. Nasrallah: ‘If Israel Clears out tents, It Won’t Go Unnoticed’ (Arutz Sheva). Hezbollah’s leader warns Israel against removing Hezbollah tents across the Blue Line near Mt. Dov. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah commented for the first time, in a speech he gave to mark the 17th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War, to the confrontation with Israel around the tents that the organization set up on Mount Dov. “If Israel takes action against the tents that have been set up across the blue line – it will not go unnoticed. This is Lebanese land and must be in Lebanon’s hands at any cost and it is Hezbollah’s responsibility to do so. We will also return our land in Ghajar in cooperation with the Lebanese government,” Nasrallah stated.

Jul 18, 2023

  1. The Quintet Committee Urges Progress in Lebanon’s Presidential Elections (Al Sharq Al Awsat).  Comprising Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, France, and the United States of America, the Five-Nations Committee for Lebanon has decided to waive measures against the “obstructors” of Lebanon’s presidential elections. The committee called on members of the Lebanese parliament to fulfill their constitutional responsibility and promptly commence the process of electing a president for the country. 
  2. Hezbollah’s Attack Video Draws Inspiration from the Yom Kippur War (Jerusalem Post).  Hezbollah recently released a video showcasing training for an attack on an Israeli military position. Interestingly, the video doesn’t draw parallels to the 2006 conflict but rather serves as a reenactment of the historic Yom Kippur War in 1973, where Syria and Egypt launched an offensive against Israel. The video also reveals Hezbollah employing optical observation devices, an anti-tank missile, mortars, and a Shahed-style drone. This particular drone, similar to ones sent by Iran to Russia for use in the invasion of Ukraine, adds to the complexity of the situation.

Jul 19, 2023

  1. A Lebanese-French Cooperation Agreement to Help Companies Invest in the Two Countries (Al Nahar). At the Chamber of Beirut and Mount Lebanon’s headquarters, a cooperation agreement between the Lebanese and French Chambers was signed to facilitate investment opportunities for companies from both nations in each other’s territories, fostering bilateral economic relations.

Jul 21, 2023

  1. The Syrian Kurds Autonomous Administration Moves Forward on Its Initiative to Repatriate the Syrian Refugees in Lebanon to Syria’s Northeast (Al Hadath). The representatives of the Autonomous Administration in Lebanon visited the Lebanese foreign minister to deliver an official letter from the Department of Foreign Relations of North and East Syria, announcing the administration’s readiness t receive refugees from Lebanon.  
  2. Nasrallah Calls for Rallies In Support of the Quran (Al Manar). Commenting on the renewed desecration of the Holy Quran, Hassan Nasrallah called for a rally after the Friday noon prayers demanding the Lebanese government withdraw its ambassador from Sweden and expel the Swedish ambassador. 

Jul 25, 2023

  1. Lebanon Prepares for the End of Central Bank Chief Riad Salameh’s Term (the National News). Lebanon’s caretaker, Prime Minister Najib Mikati, met with the four deputy governors of the country’s bankrupt central bank in preparation for the end of Riad Salameh’s controversial term. The meeting, which also included Deputy Prime Minister Saadeh Chami and Finance Minister Youssef Khalil, aimed to have a succession plan in place before the end of the central bank governor’s term. 
  2. Assad’s Stipulation for Aoun’s Overthrow and Denial of Benefits to Geagea: Insights into Lebanon’s Presidential Eras (Al Sharq Al Awsat). Syria held significant influence over Lebanon’s political landscape during this period. The article highlights Syria’s efforts to control Lebanon’s presidency and avoid a repeat of past experiences with previous presidents. Syrian President Hafez al-Assad sought a Maronite president from outside the Mount Lebanon region, and he conditioned the removal of Michel Aoun on certain guarantees.

 Jul 26, 2023

  1. Le Drian Begins a New Mission in Beirut Concerning Presidential Vacancy (Al Nahar). The French President’s envoy to Lebanon, Jean-Yves Le Drian, started a new mission in Beirut, during which he intends to hold talks with prominent political forces as part of his country’s efforts to break the presidential deadlock that has been going on for nearly nine months.

Jul 27, 2023

  1. Iran’s Proxies See Opportunity in Israel’s Crisis (Iran International). Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) met with Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestinian Hamas to explore opportunities to exploit Israel’s internal political turmoil…While Iran encourages intensified attacks on Israel, Hamas, and Hezbollah are monitoring the situation and hoping for tensions to worsen while remaining cautious about potential diversionary tactics by Netanyahu

 Jul 28, 2023

  1.  French Envoy Proposes Meeting in Lebanon for Consensus on Presidential Election Priorities (Al Nahar). Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French envoy to Lebanon, has proposed a meeting in September for the parties involved in the process of electing the President of the Republic. The aim is to reach a consensus on key issues and priorities that the future president must address, along with the necessary strategies to tackle them effectively. Opposition deputies are carefully evaluating the envoy’s approach. They are currently preparing a detailed and joint response, driven by their commitment to addressing the matter seriously and with precision.

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