Helping the Lebanese People Move Toward Recovery: Recommendations for U.S. Policy

Lebanon is currently at a crossroads as the government faces the daunting task of rebuilding the economy, restoring public confidence and paving the way for free and fair parliamentary elections in May 2022. of the Mikati government in September was an encouraging sign, but the government was crippled by a stalemate. Traditional political parties have been complicit in the corruption and destruction of Lebanon. Even now, Hezbollah and Amal seek to block the ongoing investigation into the August 2020 Beirut port explosion, and only recently agreed to join the cabinet to meet to set the agenda for the parliament.

The country finds itself in a downward spiral – an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has not yet been reached, poverty and emigration are increasing and stability is increasingly threatened due to a failing economy and widespread corruption. The humanitarian disaster continues to worsen amid rapid currency devaluation, limited access to essential goods and bank deposits, and dwindling public services ranging from health care to electricity. The continued government stalemate portends even more challenges in the coming months, as more than 80% of the population now lives near or below the poverty line.

Given this critical situation, it is worth examining US interests in Lebanon’s survival and considering key recommendations for US policy to help Lebanon avoid complete collapse and help the Lebanese people. to move towards economic recovery, political legitimacy and a more capable, transparent and sovereign society. State.

The Middle East Institute and the US Lebanon Task Force, with the cooperation of Lebanese international financial leaders, convened a panel of experts on Lebanon who co-authored this policy brief. It lays out key steps the United States can take to help Lebanon stop its slide into complete and irreversible failure and pave the way for reform and recovery.

Read the policy note in PDF

Photo by JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images

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