Hassan Diab, the Prime Minister of Lebanon, in a public news conference on Monday, August 10, announced his resignation. The announcement was made just a few hours after his entire cabinet decided to step down. The reason for such a massive decision is the fallout regarding the terrible explosion at the Beirut Port, which took place last week. Hassan Diab said that his decision means that he wants to take a step back and stand beside the country’s people.
Diab believes that he cannot fight the battle hand-in-hand with the people if he does not resign from his position. He made the declaration on behalf of the entire cabinet, who are stepping down along with him. Further, Diab said a prayer wishing that the Almighty will now protect Lebanon and repeated the prayers thrice. Just a day before his resignation, the death figure climbed to cross the 200-mark. In the first half of Monday, August 10, Hamad Hassan, health minister of Lebanon, made another official announcement. He revealed that Diab would soon approach the President at his residence to handover the resignation. The document will have the signatures of all the ministers of his cabinet who are willing to resign along with him.
Table of Contents
Demand for Aoun’s resignation
Following the violent and massive demonstrations in Beirut, another similar incident took place outside the Baabda Palace. In both cases, the police and armed forces had to intervene, and the security forces even fired teargas that affected quite a several protesters. During the weekend protests, the people demanded the resignation of Michel Aoun, the Lebanese President as well. It is still unclear what Aoun thinks about the demand of the protesters. On the other hand, Diab blamed corrupt politicians who were aiming to precede him after the earthquake that hit Lebanon recently. It was during the farewell address that Hassan Diab stated his opinion.
Protesters are continually blaming the Government of the country for the negligence and corruption that resulted in the blast. On Saturday, August 8, Diab was proposing to prepone the elections. On the other hand, Iran that supports the Shiite Muslim group of Militants known as Hezbollah is warning the world leaders not to politicize the terrible devastation following the Beirut explosion. The Hezbollah is the same group that is responsible for the infiltration of the Lebanese Government. According to Antoinette Baaklini, it is just the same set of people behind this, and till the time the mafia rule exists, nothing will be alright. Baaklini is a worker in an electronics company that is hit by the explosion. His reference is clearly towards the upcoming governmental reforms.
Resignations come up one by one
The first person to step down from his position was Manal Abdel Samad, the Lebanon information minister. She decided right after the number of wounded people crossed 600, and more than 300,000 people were left homeless. Following Manal, the environmental minister Demianos Kattar also resigned on Sunday, August 9. Within the next 24-hours, the first one to step down on Monday, August 10, was justice minister, Marie-Claude Najm. According to news reports, she had to face insults, mockery, and attacks during her visit to a neighborhood that was hit hard by the explosion. Further, the people forcefully pushed her out of the locality.
According to the reports of the BBC, and the confirmation from Marwan Abboud, the Governor of Beirut, the death toll has crossed the 250-mark. On the other hand, more than 100 people are still missing after the explosion. On August 9, President Donald Trump participated in a global donor call arranged by Emmanuel Macron, President of France, and Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of UN. The International organizations and world Leaders promised to contribute around $300 million as a part of an emergency humanitarian relief to Beirut. The amount is a relief against the explosion only. There is a warning that follows too. It says that there will be no relief for rebuilding the capital until the Government and Authorities of Lebanon commit to genuinely work towards the economic and political reforms that the people are demanding.
The Beirut explosions that caused massive devastation
The terrible Beirut explosions that took place on August 4 brings a new trend of public outrage at Lebanon’s Government and the long-entrenched rulers. The probable cause of the blast on Beirut port is a fire that ignited a 2,750-ton stockpile of ammonium nitrate and explosive. According to reports, the dangerous material was in the port storage from the past seven years with minimum security despite several danger warnings. The result is now evident, and the people are blaming the neglect and corruption of their Government jointly for this. Estimated losses due to the explosion range between $10 billion to $15 billion.
Following the ghastly incident, Major General Tony Saliba is facing an investigation along with other generals. The investigator here is Ghassan El Khoury, a prestigious public prosecutor. The National News Agencies are confirming the information about the investigation. However, they are not willing to give out ant further details about the procedure. Till now, around 20 people are under detention regarding the blast. The list includes the Chief of the Customs Department of Lebanon and his predecessor too. Besides, the Port Head is also under custody. Apart from this, several people, including a couple of former Cabinet ministers, have also been under investigation.
Iran worries about consequences
Meanwhile, Iran expresses concerns regarding a probability of Western countries and their associates getting angry over the explosion. It may be a new way of pursuing their political interests as well. Iran, on the other hand, stands in support of the Hezbollah group. Along with their allies, the militants from the dominant force over the parliament and Government of Lebanon. According to Abbas Mousavi, the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry of Iran, people’s frustration is very natural. However, it will not be good if specific individuals, foreign countries, and groups use it in their favor to carry on with their intentions and purposes.
On August 10, the defense minister of Israel gave a public statement. He said that all claims regarding Hezbollah storing weapons and rockets in civilian areas is entirely false. While on the one hand, he dismisses all accusations against the Hezbollah, Benny Gantz cannot do the same. According to him, towns and villages across the country were full of Hezbollah arms. These are set off either by accident or by Israeli operations on purpose. While mentioning that Hezbollah is the biggest Lebanese problem, he also says that the secret arms can destroy homes.