Would the global trade come to a standstill as supply chain crisis worsens?    EBRD vice president heads delegation to Egypt to discuss new country strategy    The unvaccinated prohibited from entry to Egypt state institutions starting December 1    Egypt, Cyprus sign deal for electricity grid link    Russia to lift COVID restrictions on flights to Egypt's Red Sea resorts on Nov. 9    Egypt, Greece ink deal for first subsea power link between Europe and Africa    Egypt hosts regional conference of EU refugee agency EASO    SCOHRE sparks discussion on harm reduction, tobacco control    Egypt to receive first of six high-trains from Spain's Talgo in mid-November    Egypt's iron and steel exports jump 197% in 8 months    Ethiopia halts work at its embassy in Egypt for 'economic reasons'    It's a bit frustrating to draw at home: Real Madrid keeper after Villarreal game    Russia says it's in sync with US, China, Pakistan on Taliban    Shoukry reviews with Guterres Egypt's efforts to achieve SDGs, promote human rights    Sudan says countries must cooperate on vaccines    Over 100 officials resign from Tunisia's main Islamist party    Johnson & Johnson: Second shot boosts antibodies and protection against COVID-19    Egypt to tax bloggers, YouTubers    Egyptian court bans use of mosques for political purposes    Brazil calls up 8 EPL players for World Cup qualifying    Refugees in fear as sentiment turns against them in Turkey    We mustn't lose touch: Muller after Bayern win in Bundesliga    Egypt records 36 new deaths from Covid-19, highest since mid June    Egypt sells $3 bln US-dollar dominated eurobonds    Sisi calls on House, Senate to commence second legislative sessions on 3, 5 October    Huawei Technologies has invested $10 mln over 5 years in innovation centres in Egypt    Gamal Hanafy's ceramic exhibition at Gezira Arts Centre is a must go    Italian Institute Director Davide Scalmani presents activities of the Cairo Institute for ITALIANA.IT platform    Qa'a play showing at Lycee El Horreya Theatre, Alexandria is a must go    Orange Egypt Introduces Amazon Prime Video    Tokyo Olympics: Cautious opening ceremony, shy start for Egyptians in competitions    Mallawi Museum in Upper Egypt holds recycling workshop for children during Eid Al-Adha    Egypt keen on stable tax policies to attract more investors: Finance Minister    Sudan declares state of emergency as water goes beyond Merowe Dam capacity    Niagara Falls illuminated in Egyptian flag to mark 23 July Revolution anniversary    Capital flows into EM keep recovering after March 2020 slump: Central Bank of Egypt    1 child orphaned every 12 seconds due to COVID-19-associated death: World Bank    Egypt, Japanese Olympic Committee discuss boosting sports cooperation    US emphasises AU's role in mediating Ethiopian damdispute    Ethiopia ready to resume dam talks with no legally binding agreements: Ethiopian official    Sunken city of Thônis-Heracleion in Egypt's Abu Qir bay yields new archaeological treasures    New films, concerts, and destinations for Eid Al-Adha holidays    Egypt, Oman discuss enhancing bilateral economic, investment relations    Al Ahly v Kaizer Chiefs: Cairo giants eye 10th CAF Champions League title    Tunisia hopes to have a UN role in resolving Egypt-Ethiopia dam dispute    APO Group enters new exclusive agreement with Getty Images on African press releases and images    On International Museum Day, Egypt opens two new museums at Cairo Airport    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.



'Dark days' for Lebanon
Published in Ahram Online on 17 - 08 - 2021

Fewer than two weeks after the first anniversary of the horrific explosions in the Beirut Port last year, the explosion of a fuel tank in Lebanon's northern Akkra region this week led to the deaths of at least 20 people and 79 injured.
The Lebanese Red Cross shared an infographic on Twitter on Sunday that said that 109 blood units had been delivered and a further 50 collected to treat the injured in the blast. It said that 24 ambulances and 75 emergency medical technicians were present at the scene.
This was the second major explosion that Lebanon has seen over the last year, the first being the blasts in Beirut last August, now described as the largest non-nuclear blast in history. They caused about $15 billion in damage, left 300,000 people homeless, led to the deaths of 200 people, and injured some 6,000 others.
Describing this week's fuel-tank blast, Reuters said the Lebanese military had discovered a hidden fuel-storage tank and was trying to distribute its contents to people living in the area against a background of nationwide fuel shortages. The Lebanese Al-Jadeed TV Channel quoted eyewitnesses as saying that the blast had been set off by the use of a lighter, though other reports said gunfire had led to the explosion.
Lebanon is witnessing the worst social and economic conditions it has seen in almost a century, and shortages of fuel, with the government recently reducing subsidies, and medicine and the collapse of the local currency have caused the almost total paralysis of day-to-day life.
Pictures of electricity blackouts in Beirut and lines of people waiting to buy petrol have been shared worldwide.
As a result, the Lebanese army has been stepping up the search for black marketeers building up stocks of fuel in attempts to manipulate the market. The army announced on Saturday that it had captured thousands of litres of gasoline and diesel fuel, adding that multiple tankers has also been hijacked last week.
Sarah Al-Richani, a professor of mass communications at the American University in Cairo (AUC), said that the fuel crisis could be eased after recent moves by the Lebanese army. Herself from Lebanon, she explained that fuel could be hidden with a view to selling it either on the Lebanese black market or smuggling it to Syria.
The business would be less lucrative after the subsidies were reduced, she said.
Lebanon is seeing "dark days in more ways than one," she said, describing the explosion in the "marginalised and impoverished" Akkar region as "heart-wrenching". Although she said that it could expedite the formation of a new government by Prime Minister-designate Najib Mikati, she described the system in Lebanon as being "rotten to the core".
"The financial and economic implosion, the Port explosions, and the explosion in Akkar are all the result of years of corruption, negligence, and mismanagement. Mikati, who has faced corruption charges himself in the past, is certainly not a saviour," she said.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who has called for a judicial investigation into the explosion, tweeted that "the tragedy that has befallen our dear Akkar has made the hearts of all Lebanese bleed." Mikati responded to protesters who clashed with security forces in front of his Beirut residence by saying that he "understands the cries of the people."
Sunni leader Saad Al-Hariri, a former Lebanese prime minister who resigned due to disagreements with Aoun, called for Aoun and other officials to resign. "The Akkar massacre is no different from the port massacre," he said.
Al-Hariri and Gebran Bassil, leader of the Christian Free Patriotic Movement and Aoun's son-in-law, exchanged accusations over the incident, accusing each other of being connected to the owner of the Akkar fuel tank.
The Free Patriotic Movement said the tank's owner was close to Al-Hariri's Future Movement, was personally in contact with its MPs Walid Al-Baarini and Mohamed Soliman, and had voted for its MP Tarek Al-Moreabi in previous electoral races.
Future Movement MPs from Akkar said these were false accusations and held Aoun accountable for the "continuing collapse" of Lebanon. The Sunni MPs said they had "the courage to take responsibility before the people," calling on the security, judicial, and military authorities to expedite investigations into this "crime".
Residents of Akkar told Sky News Arabia on Sunday that owner of the tank George Rasheed was "politically backed" by Asaad Durgham, a MP from the Free Patriotic Movement. They said that he possessed more than one fuel-storage site in the region, probably explaining why local people stormed and destroyed Rasheed's residence.
This situation carries negative implications for the Mikati-led coalition talks, Imad Salamey, a professor of political science at the Lebanese American University, told Al-Ahram Weekly.
"Any government formation would require the approval and support of Al-Hariri and Sunni support. But Al-Hariri is now calling for Aoun's resignation, blaming him for the economic collapse and political paralysis. This will drive Al-Hariri into opposition and complicate Mikati's efforts to form a government," Salamey said.
"The Lebanese political establishment is now more interested in expediting the economic and security collapse of the country. The crisis is serving the different sectarian leaderships, mobilising behind them their desperate communities," he concluded.
*A version of this article appears in print in the 19 August, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly


Clic here to read the story from its source.