Beirut Blast-Impact on Region and World (17 August 2020)
Beirut Blast - Impact on Region and World (17 August 2020)
Why in News:
The Lebanese government has resigned amid growing public anger following a devastating explosion in Beirut on 4 August that killed at least 200 people and injured about 5,000 others.
The blast came at a difficult time for Lebanon, which is not only trying to curb the spread of the coronavirus but is also mired in an unprecedented economic crisis. The economic situation has pushed tens of thousands people into poverty and triggered large anti-government protests.
According to the Lebanese government, the source of the explosion was 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate, an explosive chemical often used as fertilizer and sometimes in bombs, which had been stored in the port warehouse after being confiscated from an abandoned Russian-owned ship in 2014.
In the following years, court records show, senior customs officials had tried and failed to win court permission to remove the dangerous stockpile by donating it to the Lebanese army or selling it to the privately owned Lebanese Explosives Company.
Summary of the Debate
- Lebanon is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus lies west across the Mediterranean Sea.
- Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland has contributed to its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity.
- At just 10,452 km2 (4,036 mi2), it is the smallest recognized sovereign state on the mainland Asian continent.
History of the Lebanon:
- The 100 years of creation of Lebanon was done after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and during the occupation of France of Syria and Lebanon, they have been grabbed a lot of the Syrian territories.
- French tried to make a Christian majority state which called greater Lebanon during their occupation and there were the problems have started, so the civil war in Lebanon have created 17 years of inter-fighting among different groups have also led to The Taif Agreement, which was signed in 1991 in Saudi Arabia and they came up with new government which is a sectarian democracy, where they have had that structure of different sect.
- The route of terrorism started after the invasion of Iraq by the USA where Al-Zarqawi had a quiet activity inside Syria and Lebanon and he was bombed with the Gulf money into the region where he has created a new way of buying terrorist and taquiri group which have been flourished inside Lebanon.
- Hezbollah in Lebanon, the national resistance to the occupation of Israel was created because of Israel occupation, therefore to counter the shia power in Lebanon, the sunni movement have come into Lebanon and that’s why Turkey is stepping in for sunni and France is stepping in for the Christians and the Saudi Arabia and Qatar also pumping the money to their sunnis supporters.
- Apart from other major powers in the region, the principle foreign actor which is destabilizing the peace and security and stability is its neighbour Israel, because Israel invaded in 1982 and it expected Lebanon to sign a peace treaty like Egypt and Jordan have signed but because of the unresolved Golan problem with Syria and Syrian influence in Lebanon, the situation could not go in the direction of Israel and West.
- The 2006 Israel invasion was aimed to decimate Hezbollah like they did in 1982 to decimate the PLO, which did not solve the problem because there are huge numbers of Palestinian refugees there and Israel has been targeting Lebanon and after the Iranian support to Hezbollah and to Syria, Israel is alarmed that its border have become more insecure.
Current situation in the region:
- The region has many other things, for example, there are regional hotspots that are still not addressed like civil war, blockade between Saudi Arabi and the other four countries that is still continuing, the Iran, Saundi Arabia, and USA conflicts, etc.
- Turkey is becoming a new major player in the region, whether it is in Libya intervention. The Turkey China, Pakistan, Russia kind of group is emerging, the USA seems to be withdrawing from the region but at the same time playing a negative role.
- Lebanese, most of them who are young people who have been born since, after the Tayyip Accord, the majority of them are young people they have become tired of the constitution which has become non-functional because it is based on the sectarian division of government.
- So, what common Lebanese are demanding is an end to this old political systems which ha slost its legitimacy and non-functional, they want a normal constitution like and other written constitution which allows all of them to participate irrespective of the communal association whether it is Maronite Christian or Greek orthodox or Sunni, Shia, Jews or so on so forth. So the youngsters are earning for a transparent political system.
- India has been present for a long time there and the United Nations on the southern border of Israel, their Indian forces have been contributing a great deal for of stability in the region.
Important points made by the Guests
Anil Trigunayat, Former Ambassador
Prof. A. K. Pasha, Centre for West Asian Studies, JNU
Waiel Awwad, West Asia Expert