More Questions Than Answers Over the Beirut Blast

5/8/20 | 0 | 0 | 150 εμφανίσεις

By Hilal Khashan

There is no sense in trying to make sense of what happened in Beirut on Tuesday. We will never know the full truth about the massive explosion that destroyed the country’s major harbor, caused incalculable damage throughout the capital, inflicted more than 4,000 casualties and left unknown the fate of scores of missing people.

Military analysts say the explosion occurred accidentally in an area where public safety measures did not exist. Welders were repairing the door of an adjacent warehouse storing firecrackers when the excessive temperature precipitated by hot and humid weather and welding caused some ammonium nitrate to evaporate and mix with wheat dust released from nearby wheat silos. The reaction probably triggered the disastrous explosion. We know for sure that the blast that happened amid an unprecedented economic crisis and hyperinflation will further complicate Lebanon’s political stalemate.

Even so, we have more questions than answers. Why was a shipment of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored at the harbor for six years, and who owned it? Why was this dangerous chemical stored in a warehouse so close to the business and residential areas?

The explosion comes at a particularly bad time. Lebanon was already a country on the brink, and things will only get worse. The only beneficiary from what happened on Tuesday is Hezbollah, which has been reluctant to answer the Israeli air raid that killed one of its fighters in Syria. On Friday, the International Tribunal looking into the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri will announce its verdict on four Hezbollah operatives implicated in the high-profile killing. No one in Lebanon is in a mood right now to ridicule Hezbollah for its defensiveness vis-a-vis Israel or question its role in Hariri’s assassination.

Category: International

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