December 17, 2022

Can the United States Help Lebanon Keep the Lights On?

Lebanon, a critical U.S. partner in the Middle East, remains in the dark as its citizens live with only two to four hours of electricity a day. The country faces one of the worst economic crises in its history. Earlier this year, the United States assisted in brokering two agreements to export natural gas and excess electricity from Egypt and Jordan to support Lebanon’s ailing energy sector.

Implementation of these agreements has since stalled as the electricity and gas would need to travel through Syria, potentially violating U.S. sanctions. The Biden administration must exempt these deals from sanctions in order to do the following: reaffirm American commitment to the U.S.-Lebanon partnership, restore critical services, and prevent further growth of Hezbollah, Iran’s ally in Lebanon.

Rather than leave our partner in (quite literally) darkness, the United States must help bring Lebanon back into the light.

Mismanagement of Lebanon’s financial sector led to its economic meltdown beginning in 2019. The financial crisis has affected every part of society. The lack of electricity has exacerbated Lebanon’s cholera outbreak, increased economic disparity, and disrupted Lebanon’s healthcare sector. Because Lebanon borders both Israel and Syria – strategic U.S. interests – it is of significant concern to the United States. For this reason, the United States has provided over $5.5 billion in foreign assistance to Lebanon, mainly focused on military and economic needs.

Read the full article from International Policy Digest.

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