Beirut Blast — Macron Demands Independent Investigation

  • President Macron, speaking from his summer residence in southern France, called for “an impartial, credible and independent inquiry.”
  • Neither Lebanese President Aoun nor Hezbollah leader Nasrallah want foreigners to participate in the investigation.
  • Speculation is still rife as to what, exactly, caused the Beirut Blast.

The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, wants an independent investigation to establish the root cause of last Tuesday’s “Beirut Blast.” However, the Lebanese President, Michel Aoun, and the head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, are opposed to it. Instead, they argue that it is an internal affair, and foreign powers should keep off.

On the evening of 4 August 2020, at 18:08 EEST, multiple explosions occurred in the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon. The main explosion was linked to approximately 2,750 tonnes (3,030 short tons) of ammonium nitrate that had been confiscated by the government from an abandoned ship and stored in the port without proper safety measures for the previous six years.

President Macron, speaking from his summer residence in southern France, called for “an impartial, credible and independent inquiry,” a message he repeated while speaking during the international video conference in support of Beirut and the Lebanese population in general.

The video conference was organized by France, together with the United Nations, to mobilize and manage aid from the international community. The video-conference event was graced by, amongst others, United States President Donald Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

In addition, Lebanese President Aoun and the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, also joined.

In his speech, Macron, implored the international community to promptly and efficiently send aid to Lebanon, but stressed to the authorities of the country the need for an independent investigation into the explosion. President Macron said the offer of assistance included support for an impartial, credible and independent inquiry into the Aug. 4 port explosion that killed at least 158 people.

However, neither Lebanese President Aoun nor Hezbollah leader Nasrallah want foreigners to participate in the investigation, claiming the sovereignty of Lebanon to manage its internal affairs.

Hezbollah (Party of Allah) s a Shia Islamist political party and militant group based in Lebanon. The group is considered a terrorist organization by some countries.

Also on Thursday, when he went to Beirut to show France’s solidarity with the country after Tuesday’s explosion at its port, the French President made it clear that the aid will not be a “blank cheque” for the Lebanese government. Lebanon has also been asked to enact firm political initiatives to fight corruption and bring transparency.

The Origin of the Explosion

Speculation is still rife as to what, exactly, caused the Beirut Blast. “The bottom line is we still don’t know” what caused the explosion, US defense Secretary Mark Esper told Fox News in an interview that aired this weekend.

“On the first day, as President Trump rightly said, we thought it might have been an attack, some of us speculated it could have been, for example, a Hezbollah arms shipment that blew up, maybe a Hezbollah bomb-making facility, who knows?”

Two days ago, the Lebanese president did not rule out any hypothesis. “There are two possibilities for what happened: either negligence or ‘external intervention’ by a missile or bomb,” Aoun told reporters.

The event has shocked Lebanon, which still wonders how 2,750 tons of a highly-volatile fertilizer remained in a warehouse for six years without anyone doing anything. Around a score of people have been arrested, including the last two customs directors and the port director, who have been apprehended while the investigations are taking place.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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