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Current Affairs

Lebanon mess

Date: 16 October 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

A civil violence has taken place in Beirut, the capital of Lebanon after several demonstrators were killed.

 

Background

Large number of citizens were carrying out protests due to delay in investigating blasts that took place a year back near the city’s port.

 

Details

  • The country is in midst of a worst ever economic meltdown. The violence adds to the already volatile situation in the country.

  • The protestors had gathered after a call was given by Hezbollah and its ally to demand the removal of the judge investigating the port blast.

 

The blast

  • A large-scale blast had resulted in death of more than 200 people. It was assumed that the blast took place due to negligence by authorities. A large quantity of ammonium nitrate caused the blast.

  • The judge is investigating a number of senior politicians and security officials, including Hezbollah allies, that has prompted the protests.

 

The history of divide

  • Lebanon’s politics is divided between Shi’ite Muslims and Christians. The investigations were pointed towards Shi’ite allies of the heavily armed, Iran-backed group Hezbollah.

  • The probe has been backed by Christian sections. Even Christian President Michael Aoun has backed the judge to give fair judgement.

 

Economic depression

  • The country is headed towards a major economic disaster since the collapse of financial system in 2019. Lebanese currency has sunk by 90% and three quarters of Lebanese are pushed into poverty.

  • The economic slowdown has also resulted in large-scale migration of intellectual sections out of the country, which will set back Lebanon for years due to brain-drain.

 

Foreign response

  • Hezbollah has in recent times become more influential than western-backed groups. This clearly indicates that Iran-backed group has dominated the country’s politics.

  • US considers Hezbollah a terror outfit and has clearly condemned it role in intimidating investigations. France has also condemned Hezbollah’s move.