By, Issam Khoury
The Lebanese were terrified by an explosion on August 4, 2020, that caused the Lebanese people to lose the most important port in Lebanon, which is Beirut Port. The organizational management of Beirut port belongs to the CMA Container Company, whose board of directors is headed by the Syrian-French businessman Jacques Saadeh, and it is well known that Saadeh is very close to the French decision-making circles, and perhaps this is the main reason that prompted President Macron to visit Lebanon and inspect its harbor.
The port of Beirut is governmentally managed by an administrative team led by Hassan Quraitem “حسن قريطم”, who was in this position at the time of the government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri “سعد الحريري” when he had support from the Saudi government at the time of King Abdullah, but that support was cut off from him at the time of Crown Prince Suleiman bin Abdul Aziz سليمان بن عبد العزيز.” This same team continued in the port of Beirut with the “pro-Hezbollah” government of Prime Minister Hassan Diab “حسان دياب”.
On December 2013, a Russian ship carrying the flag of the state of Maldivian entered Beirut port, carrying a large shipment of 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate, originating from Ukraine, and transporting this cargo to Mozambique, but this ship was detained in Beirut due to two violations, and in May 2014 The ship’s cargo was approved to be unloaded and detained in warehouse No. 12.
Remarkably, warehouse 12 was big enough to hold a load greater than the amount of 2750 tons of ammonium nitrate, however, it was closed and no legal cargo was stored in it for 6 years.
The Explosion Force and Robbery:
The explosion occurred at six o’clock in the evening in Warehouse No. 9, and after 33 seconds the explosion extended to the warehouse 12, causing a huge explosion. According to the Richter scale, it caused a seismic force equivalent to 4.5 according to the Jordanian Observatory of Seismology, and destroyed many buildings in the neighborhoods adjacent to the port (Al-Karantina neighborhood, Dora, Zaitouna Bay, and Gemmayzeh), remarkably; the force of the explosion shattered the windows of many houses within a range of 10 km from the port, such as (Al-Mansouriya, and Sin El-Fil).
Apparently, this is a massive explosion, but through investigating its strength, we realize that its strength is much less than the amount of the stored ammonium nitrate, as the amount of ammonium nitrate is equivalent to approximately 687 tons of TNT, and the destructive energy of any ton of TNT is equivalent to 1.162 million tons per kilo-hour, Which means that the entire quantity will cause 798.294 million tons per hour, equivalent to 2,874 MJ.
Actually, the power of such an explosion is supposed to completely remove the capital Beirut, because the force of the Hiroshima bomb is equivalent to 15 tons of TNT, but the reality of the destruction was not the real size of the stored materials, and this certainly puts us in front of the following two possibilities:
1- Theft: the administrative authorities supervising the Warehouse 12, smuggled a large portion of ammonium nitrate and sold it illegally, as it is very likely that it was sold to the Syrian regime, which uses ammonium nitrate in the barrel bombs that its helicopters throw on civilian neighborhoods.
2- The Administrative authority: It sold a shipment of ammonium nitrate, and Warehouse 12 is a Hezbollah weapons depot.
The Lebanese government:
Several days after the Beirut blast, the head of the Lebanese Public Security, Abbas Ibrahim عباس إبراهيم, appeared and stated that his security apparatus informed the government of Diab and Aoun that there was a large quantity of ammonium nitrate in Beirut port, but neither side took a step quickly, and after Abbas Ibrahim, who is affiliated with Hezbollah, The party’s general secretary appeared to explain that Hezbollah does not store weapons in Beirut port.
As for Prime Minister Hassan Diab, who announces the resignation of his government, accused the previous governments of this act to relinquish his responsibility.
In the absence of a current Lebanese government, President Michel Aoun asked Diab to run the affairs of the government until the appointment of a new government, and on August 31, 2020, Mustafa Adib was assigned to form a new government in Lebanon. Lebanon is currently suffering from the absence of the possibility of having an inclusive Sunni figure capable of running the post of the prime minister, where the most powerful Sunni figures for this position are:
1- Saad Hariri: who clearly stated that he does not want this position at the present time.
2- Najeeb Mikati: who is also not qualified for this position despite the Syrian support, where Miqati has links with the Saudis, and the Saudis are not at all satisfied with his relations with the Iranians.
3- Ashraf Rifi: who is not approved by Hezbollah.
Therefore, the work of Mustafa’s government is likely to turn into a work similar to a caretaker government, until international and regional accords impose a prime minister on all political parties in power in Lebanon. According to this reality, we have the following two possibilities:
1- The Western alliance:
due to the presence of investigators from the French and German intelligence services and the FBI in the Beirut port, observers of the scene in Lebanon assume that this team may impose on the Lebanese government a set of measures to save it economically and include the following points:
• Appointing a government headed by Saad Hariri or another figure from the Future Movement, to be agreed upon by all the Saudi-Emirati-and American.
• That Michel Aoun remains as the president of the republic, to satisfy his French supporter.
• That Beirut port be run by the UNIFIL forces, and in this way, it ensures that Hezbollah will not penetrate this important border crossing.
• To pass financial aid packages to Lebanon, which in turn contribute to the return of the dollar to the Lebanese markets, and to achieve a better level of recovery in Lebanon. Perhaps this will solve the problem of the banks’ crisis that seized the depositors ’money by a decision of the Lebanese Central Bank.
- Reducing Hezbollah’s influence away from Beirut.
2- The Eastern Alliance:
This alliance is supported by Iran, and this certainly means that Hezbollah has the most important operational tool in it, as the party seeks to twist an arm or assassinate any person trying to pass the project of the Western alliance, and the party will impose the following measures:
• The necessity for the continuation of a government such as Diab’s, and that is why “Mustafa Adeeb” was chosen. Adeeb is known to be an academic, who has strong ties with Najib Mikati and was Lebanon’s ambassador to Germany, which means that he is close to Hezbollah and Syria. As a matter of fact, his government will not be effective, rather an example of controversy, due to the fact that Mustafa is a person who does not belong to the traditional Lebanese families in the world of politics. Moreover; it seems that the Iranians are betting on President Trump’s loss in the US elections in November, and in case Biden succeeds, the latter will help to soften the atmosphere with Iran to conclude a new nuclear agreement, and this means that the Western alliance disregards its project in Lebanon. During this period, or even if Trump succeeds, the Iranians will demand that the Russians help Lebanon by facilitating commercial movement between Lebanon and Syria so that the Lebanese use the port of Tartous as an alternative to the port of Beirut.
• As for economic sanctions on Lebanon, Hezbollah is indifferent to these sanctions, because the party’s resources come through illegal and gangs’ methods. As for the rest of the Lebanese people, they have two options. Either applauding for the project of resistance and reluctance used in (Syria – Hezbollah – Iran – The terrorist organizations Hamas – Jihad – and the Popular Mobilization Forces), or emigration out of Lebanon, and whoever rises up will be confronted by Hezbollah hooligans and Amal movement thugs, either being beaten or killed.
• whereas, in case of imposing a civil war on Hezbollah, it is ready for it and will invest it in order to carry out cleansing policies against the Sunnis and turn Lebanon into a sectarian canton, the majority of which are Shiites, and this is certainly something that pleases the extremists in the Islamic Republic of Iran who have long sought towards executing the project of exporting the Iranian revolution.
The Lebanese situation represents a real disaster and portends a strong state of violence, which may turn Lebanon into a civil war arena, and this war may be exploited by Israeli parties to try to liquidate many Hezbollah fighters, this terrorist organization that stole Lebanon and the Lebanese in favor of Iran’s great dream, which aims to promote religious extremism in the Middle East.