Meat off the menu for Lebanese troops as austerity bites

A kilo of lamb now costs 80,000 pounds, up from 30,000 two months ago, and a kilo of beef has increased from 18,000 pounds to over 50,000.
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Updated 01 July 2020

Meat off the menu for Lebanese troops as austerity bites

  • The union of butchers and cattle farmers said more than 60 percent of butcher shops had closed in the past few weeks

BEIRUT: Meat came off the menu for Lebanese soldiers on Tuesday as food prices soared amid a continuing economic collapse.
The black market value of the Lebanese pound has plunged to about 8,000 to the US dollar, compared with an official rate of 1,507, sending food prices up by more than 70 percent in six months.
A kilo of lamb now costs 80,000 pounds, up from 30,000 two months ago, and a kilo of beef has increased from 18,000 pounds to more than 50,000. The price of 900 gram of subsidized bread rose on Tuesday from 1,500 pounds to 2,000.
The union of butchers and cattle farmers said more than 60 percent of butcher shops had closed in the past few weeks, and the army has “completely scrapped meat from meals offered to soldiers while they are on duty,” a spokesman said.
With their pounds increasingly worthless, many Lebanese have taken to bartering online to survive. A Facebook group called “Lebanon barters” has attracted 12,000 users in two weeks.
One user, Zeinab, 25, is offering a black evening dress in exchange for milk formula and two packets of nappies for her 11-month-old boy. “I’ve never asked for anything from anyone, so I thought bartering would be better,” she said.
Traders’ association chief Sami Al-Irani told Arab News: “We cannot imagine a situation worse than this. Is there really someone working to tackle this crisis?
“A third of shops, restaurants and hotels have closed, and firing employees has not stopped. The monthly minimum wage has become sufficient for a few days only.
“The financial crisis is reflected in the shortage of bread and fuel. We will soon go back to using candles. Are we living in a country whose government has gone mad?”
 


Jets hit Libya’s Al-Watiya Air Base where Turkey may build base

An image grab taken from a video released on July 3, 2020, by the Turkish Defence Ministry shows Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar (C) greeting Libyan officials upon his arrival in Tripoli. (AFP)
Updated 06 July 2020

Jets hit Libya’s Al-Watiya Air Base where Turkey may build base

  • Turkish support was vital to the GNA in turning back the LNA offensive with advanced air defenses and drone strikes that targeted Khalifa’s supply lines and troop buildups

BENGHAZI: Warplanes struck overnight at an air base that was recently recaptured by Libya’s internationally recognized government from eastern forces with help from Turkey, a military source with the eastern forces and a resident nearby said.
The strikes were carried out by “unknown aircraft,” the military source with the Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar said.
A resident at the nearby town of Zintan said explosions were heard from the direction of the base.
Al-Watiya’s recapture in May by the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli marked the start of a sudden collapse of the LNA’s 14-month assault to seize the capital and its retreat along the coast to the new frontlines.
Turkish support was vital to the GNA in turning back the LNA offensive with advanced air defenses and drone strikes that targeted Khalifa’s supply lines and troop buildups.
A Turkish source said last month that Turkey was in talks with the GNA to establish two bases in Libya, one of them at Watiya, the most important air base in western Libya.
Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar was in Tripoli for meetings with the GNA on Friday and Saturday and Akar swore to do all that was necessary to help it, a Turkish Defense Ministry statement said.
Last month, the US said Russia had sent at least 14 MiG29 and Su-24 warplanes to an LNA base via Syria, where their Russian airforce markings were removed.
Turkish involvement in Libya has also angered France and Greece and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has warned of new sanctions on Ankara.
The GNA and LNA are now mobilizing forces at the new frontlines between the cities of Misrata and Sirte.