Thursday, August 13, 2020

What's Really Behind the Beirut Blast  
By: Diane Sori / The Patriot Factor / Right Side Patriots on Right Side Patriots Radio

"The explosion at the port is a 'great national disaster' and all those responsible for this catastrophe will pay the price." - Lebanon's Prime Minister Hassan Diab  
In an instant over one hundred and fifty people lay dead, thousands were injured with hundreds of thousands left homeless as an explosion some called “apocalyptic” rocked the city of Beirut, Lebanon.  
As per Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun, 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate used in fertilizers and bombs, had been stored for over six years in warehouses at the Port of Beirut near the northern center of the city “without safety measures” being taken. But I say focus on the word in the storing of known bomb-making materials not far from highly populated residential areas as well as the fact that Hezbollah...a sworn enemy of Israel supported and financed by Iran...has its home base in Beirut. 
But don't think Israel had anything to do with this...which was Lebanon's as expected first claim...a claim already having been proven to be false...nor was it a firecracker caused explosion as was the second claim. And while at first glance some believed the explosion was the result of a shipment of bomb making materials intended for use by Hezbollah against the Jewish state, I have now come to temper down that a bit for while, I believe, Hezbollah had a hand in this, I think corrupt politicians did so as well...maybe even a combination of both with a little bit of Russia unknowingly having some culpability in what was an explosive cocktail just waiting for the right time and circumstance to happen.  
As for the explosion itself...actually two explosions with the second explosion being equivalent to a 3.3-magnitude earthquake...started with a small fire in warehouse #9 caused supposedly by welding work... makes me wonder if sprinklers were even installed... and spread to warehouse #12 where the ammonium nitrate was stored. 

Now claiming "negligence" as the cause of the explosion, Director General of Lebanese Customs, one Badri Daher, has emphatically stated that, “It is negligence,” being that custom's officials had sent letters to the judiciary seeking “guidance” in regards to the storage safety issue and that said issue had been before several committees and judges over the past six years. Saying that “nothing was done” to remedy the at best tenuous in issuing an order to remove or dispose of the highly combustible material...what many feared in regards to such an explosion did indeed happen in the late afternoon of Tuesday, August 4, 2020.

And so the blame game well as the search for a fall guy. “We requested that it be re-exported but that did not happen. We leave it to the experts and those concerned to determine why,” so stated Customs Director Daher soon after the explosion with “why” being the operative word. How so...know that this past February a government inspection team saw just how carelessly the ammonium nitrate was being stored...including that rules regarding fire-proofing were not being followed. And the inspection team was so concerned by what they saw that they warned that if the ammonium nitrate was not moved or at least “safely secured” that it could very well “blow up all of Beirut.” 
In fact, it appears that Customs Department officials had asked the judiciary back in 2016 and again in 2017 (and even earlier according to some reports), to have the “concerned maritime agency” either re-export or at least approve selling the ammonium nitrate...which had been removed from the Russian cargo vessel MV Rhosus back in 2013, and stored specifically in warehouse #12 to supposedly "ensure port safety." 
But more importantly, I believe, than just why was this deadly cargo stored and maybe deliberately overlooked by the powers that be, is where and to whom was the ammonium nitrate originally going to be delivered; where would it be exported to; and what was and would still be its intended use? These key questions need answers along with why choose the Port at Beirut for docking when other ports just as close to the supposed problem plagued ship might have been better able to handle what was a deadly cargo. 
So here's a bit of background on the voyage not completed...or was it really a plan that in the end did come to fruition? First, know that the ammonium nitrate that arrived at the Port of Beirut way back in November 2013 aboard the cargo ship MV Rhosus, was being transported on a Russian owned vessel sailing under the Moldovan flag. Originally departing in September from Batumi, Georgia, the Rhosus was on its way to Beira, Mozambique with said 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate. And why such a volatile cargo...because at this time Mozambique was experiencing what was referred to as the Renamo insurgency just as the county's bloody civil war was starting to wind down. And while a ceasefire did go into effect between the government and the rebels in September 2014, the skirmishes continued on until a formal peace treaty was signed between the government and the rebels on August 6, 2019.  
So on whose side of the Mozambique conflict were the Russians on? During the civil war itself...a civil war that was in all actuality a proxy war between the then Soviet Union which backed Mozambique's government and the United States which supported the insurgents...meaning Russia obviously intended for the ammonium nitrate to be turned over to Mozambique's government forces upon delivery to the Portuguese owned company 'Fábrica de Explosivos de Moçambique,' to be used against the Renamo insurgents. Enough said. 
But while en-route in the eastern Mediterranean and nearing the waters off Beirut, the ship's captain Boris Prokoshev “supposedly” radioed that the Rhosus was in trouble and needed to dock after experiencing "technical problems," and that when allowed into port the ship was inspected; banned from sailing to its intended destination; had its cargo moved to the port's #12 warehouse following a court order; saw its crew repatriated except for the captain and three Ukranian crew members; and only then was the ship abandoned by its owner Russian businessman, Igor Grechushkin, which resulted in numerous “right to ownership” claims being filed.  
And with the above events as stated being the Lebanese government's version of what lead up to the “apocalyptic” explosion, now entertain two other possibilities as to what did or did not happen. First, let's start with the words of Boris Prokoshev, the Rhosus' captain, who in a recent BBC interview told an entirely different story as to why his ship docked in Beirut. Saying nothing about any “technical problems,” the captain claimed that docking was done because the ship's owner had “money trouble” and that the Rhosus needed to “collect an additional cargo of heavy machinery” in order to fund its passage through the Suez Canal. But, according to Prokoshev, the machinery was too heavy to load, and when the ship's owner didn't pay the port fees and ensuing fine, that it was only then that Lebanese authorities impounded both the Rhosus and its dangerous cargo. 
And then there's Hezbollah's own version of what happened along with accusations made. You know Hezbollah...the terrorist group who loves nothing better than to store bombs and weapons in civilian homes, schools, and hospitals...Hezbollah who uses innocent men, women, and children as human shields. Know too that Hezbollah is the only group not...I repeat have disarmed after Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war; is the same (terrorist) group who continues to fight alongside Bashar al-Assad's forces against Israel; and whose chief Hassan Nasrallah stated just three days after the port explosion that neither he nor his “powerful Shiite movement” had stored arms at Beirut's port.  
"We have nothing in the port: not an arms depot, nor a missile depot nor missiles nor rifles nor bombs nor bullets nor (ammonium) nitrate." were the words of this proven liar whose Hezbollah organization kept over six thousand pounds of ammonium nitrate (the explosive that exploded in Beirut) in a warehouse in downtown London...that is they did until MI5 and the London Metropolitan Police found and confiscated it back in 2015. 

And Hezbollah also stored many hundreds of pounds of ammonium nitrate in a warehouse in southern Germany until it, too, was thankfully found and confiscated earlier this year. And why this particular chemical... because Hezbollah considers ammonium nitrate the “weapon of choice” to be used for “proper organized terrorism” as it causes “a lot of damage.” 

Interesting words are they not. 

Nothing goes in and out of the Port or the Airport without them (Hezbollah) knowing. Nothing,” so said Bahaa Hariri, the son of murdered Lebanon Prime Minister Rafic Hariri who added that it was “inconceivable” that the authorities and Hezbollah didn't know that ammonium nitrate was stored in one of the port's onsite warehouses.   

I'll go one step further...there's a possibility that Hezbollah knew what cargo the Rhosus was carrying and either bribed someone or had a Hezbollah operative onboard to bring that ship into port one way or another so that Hezbollah could have the munitions needed and on hand to be set off at the time of their choosing. They've done it before...why not now. 

And that surely raises an important question...who in 2013 and who now is in actual physical control of the port not just in-name-only it Lebanon's government, some corrupt officials within said government, Hezbollah themselves, or could it be a designated combination of all three actually working together or at least not stepping on each others toes, and if so for what reason?  
There are three possibilities that immediately crossed my mind with the first being that for Hezbollah it's for revenge coupled with a show of power. Remember, back in 2005 Lebanon's former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, a more western leaning leader, was killed along with 21 others in an explosion in Beirut. And the mode of killing about 2,200 pounds of TNT that was detonated as the prime minister's motorcade drove near Beirut's St. George Hotel. And with those involved...Hezbollah operatives all...being caught, tried, found guilty, and due to be executed within a few days of what was the explosion...could a simple act of revenge in the guise of an explosion be Hezbollah flexing its muscle to show both the government and the people who's boss. least it's something that must not be ruled least not until definitively proven otherwise. 

And the second possibility involves money...under the table monies regarding payola and bribes via corrupt city officials awarding contracts to rebuild a city already in somewhat of a ruin after years of its own civil war...a city already bordering on economic depression...a city that could be the beneficiary of large sums of monies if certain companies in certain countries greased the palms of corrupt politicians.    

And which country desperately wants to make inroads into Lebanon....China....the very country who has for years tried to get Lebanon to join its 'Belt and Road Initiative' (BRI), China's global plan to rebuild what's deemed the world’s most important ports, railways, and harbors and then bring them under Communist Party if the Middle East didn't already have an islamist control problem, it sure doesn't need the problems communist China would bring along with it. 

And it's problems pertaining to the BRI itself including the possibility of China's offering Lebanon, Chinese government loans at a high interest rate. And said loans would obviously be used to help rebuild Beirut albeit with a caveat...when Lebanon fails to repay said loans on time...which they would with their tethering on brink economy...China would then move in and seize Lebanon's assets. Not a great idea to get mixed up with China but sometimes desperate times do cause a country like Lebanon to grasp at desperate measures. 

Lastly, reason number three...could this explosion have been just another unfortunate accident waiting to accident that could easily have been prevented if the authorities had given even one iota of a damn about the safety of Beirut's residents. And with government corruption being key, whether it be willful negligence or payola of some kind...the end result is the same...scores dead, thousands injured, and over a quarter of a million folks with no place to go home to nor businesses to open.  

And as protests against the government heat up, President Aoun promised a transparent investigation into the blast via his saying that, “We are determined to go ahead with an investigation and unveil the circumstances surrounding what happened as soon as possible and hold those responsible and those who were negligent accountable and serve them the most severe punishment,” the Lebanese people themselves, no matter that 18 folks have already been questioned, including port and customs officials, still seem to feel that the government's promises of transparency and accountability are yet another attempt by the political elite to pass the buck and blame others for their own complicity in what surely will be a disaster that will take years for the city to recover from...if it ever does.

Copyright @ 2020 Diane Sori / The Patriot Factor / All rights reserved.

For more political commentary please visit my RIGHT SIDE PATRIOTS partner Craig Andresen's blog The National Patriot to read his latest article, With Social Justice and Victimhood For All.

Tomorrow, Friday, August 14th from 7 to 9pm EST, RIGHT SIDE PATRIOTS Craig Andresen and Diane Sori discuss 'What's Really Behind the Beirut Blast'; 'With Social Justice and Victimhood For All'; and important news of the day.

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