Talk:Beirut 2020 explosion

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Was it an accident?

I see no reason to think it is not accidental; there were many major ammonium nitrate accidents in the past. --Resup (talk) 12:14, 8 August 2020 (UTC)

It looks like an accident, OR something made to look like one. I see a few reasons for the latter. The degree of negligence and coincidence is so high it's rather questionable; details still emerging and should be brought here (will try), but it seems 2 warehouses were left/made fire-prone so when a blaze started, it could spread from one to the other, the second containing fireworks stored next to the AN. It took a while to burn to the explosive part, so that comes out being a massive bomb with a nice long fuse - and you'd want time to get far away once you lit it (you might want to trigger it remotely, but seeing it begun in person is more sure). This would require sole access to the site and some sabotage work, moving things around to become strategically unsafe. Then it seems firefighters were completely locked out of the warehouse 12, and may have had their water turned off, ensuring they couldn't defuse the bomb (in a video and a photo, no spray or wet pavement is seen). Recent Al Qaeda threats may have referred to this; they'd like to claim it and sow terror, but only by hints that ideally the Lebanese get and the rest of us don't (Lebanon has to be blamed for their criminal negligence, not sympathized with as victims of terrorism). Israel is also suspect, others might be - the who part isn't certain. And I note this unprecedented "nuclear" blast happening on about the Hiroshima anniversary underlines a message to Lebanon's government that they'll have to unconditionally surrender, before the "second bomb" if they're smart. That's it so far - a decent basis for attack even excluding all these fake videos and confused claims. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:00, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

Ammonium nitrate may be set of by high enough temperature. On videos, we see, I gather, that the place is on different sort of fire, they say firecrackers (grey smoke, big fire on the ground, flashing sparks). Intense reddish smoke, presumably telling of ammonium nitrate reacting, appears just before and with the big blast. This suggests that ammonium nitrate is set off by fire not by a "bomb". It will be pretty hard to be confident that this will work as sabotage (and initial fire is not put out or fail to explosively ignite bags sitting there for years). First reports of police investigation tell of welding work, before port officials backtracked and government officials started to give hints blaming some dark external forces. Which became Israel then. But this really reflects "irrational exuberance" of claimants towards Israel, or political convenience. IDF may use heavy tactics like taking out a house or car with wanted man inside but untargeted bombing of a city like this would be off limits, unless there is a major war (and in a major war any Western democracy may resort to targeting infrastructure, otherwise nobody will have nukes). But there is no major war or particular desire to have it... AQ or similar group no idea, have not seen such claims elsewhere. It does not change fire as trigger; they may have lower threshold for trying things out whether or not this is assured to work; but still it needs some evidence that this is what happened (and not eg Marcians landed there on one of those "extra-terrestrial vehicles" to avoid parking charges) --Resup (talk) 06:56, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

That makes sense - people CAN BE that stupid and unlucky. But so does sabotage. A welding spark could start it in an unsafe situation, but it's also a decent cover. Some port officials could be in on the plot, possibly, and telling cover stories. I said the place was made into a bomb, not a bomb was introduced. That seems possible but unneeded, unless as backup in case the fire didn't work or got put out. Firefighters did try but failed - someone locked them out and maybe turned off their water - that would help keep the 'bomb' being 'defused." As such the fire could do it all, with the fireworks helping. But I think there's black smoke coming out too, as if fuel oil was burning too. ( video). The blame right on Israel is irrationally exuberant - see claims of Israeli jet, missile, etc. based on any sound or pixels. But not all speculation is so ungrounded. --Caustic Logic (talk) 03:35, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

On politics side. The real fighting force is Hezbollah. If there is a major civil unrest or a war, they are best positioned to take over. The guy actually killed in the blast, FWIW, is of Armenian descent, from a pretty radical Christian party. Some previous victims from the same political wing are listed as as anti-Syrian influence. So this does not do any good to "Israel." Unless they decided to demonically sponsor Hezbollah recruiting campaign, maybe. AQ-types would have more to gain externally (but it is not established to be non-accidental) --Resup (talk) 12:26, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

Back to blame: I thought I had seen a relevant recent Al-Qaeda (or similar group) threat against Lebanon, but maybe I misread something in passing - couldn't find it on review. The more relevant public threats are all Israeli, and tend to have plausible alt. explanations (but poss. sly admission - unprovable). But after some thought, I suspect people in Lebanon are mostly behind it, likely tapping into a network like MB, AQ, even Mossad, CIA, Saudi intel, but agreeing and doing their crucial inside parts - they'd link to to the Hariri clique, probably - they'd have Saudi backing to take over. Only a grandiose vision could explain such a plot - to level the old Lebanon and build a whole new one, some Israeli-French-Saudi protectorate or 51st US state, and so on (see this guy's vision: does he like Trump as much as he liked Bush? Would he approve). But first you have to level the old - maybe not this badly, but the more epic, the more epically it might work. And if this is a grandiose vision, the bigger image it leaves the better, right? Only a bold few would ACT on such a plan before it was done - terrorist types, whoever exactly. They'd also have escape plans. But plenty others would do their part once it was too late anyway, maybe even after being injured, etc. They might know or sense what needs covered up, move to deliberately simplify the blame as all on Aoun and Hezbollah, all those in the army, security services, etc. they don't like, the party to be sunk with the wreckage. And then millions of other can play a part just by failing to question that simplified picture. Anyway, that's my best guess as to who and how, if there was a plot. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:22, 12 August 2020 (UTC)

It seems that AQ affiliates threatened and did things against Hezbollah in Lebanon earlier (in 2013 here 1, 2). Probably there is no direct admission, otherwise Rita Katz and similar would post it. The latest I saw after brief search is 2015. (But they do not always admit, as most "normals", or do they?). As for property development, well, unsure, does not seem the world's greatest location to me. Reconstruction appears to be taken by Turkey, likely not entirely for profit reasons. Seems to be them or Hezbollah, anybody moving in there will have to negotiate with Hezbollah. They may benefit from taking over, but having porous other groups in charge may be suitable as well, harder to strike the port then --Resup (talk) 15:26, 12 August 2020 (UTC)
On the Saudis aspect - JayTharappel "Aug 9

al-Masirah News: 4,900 tons of ammonium nitrate stored by the Saudis on the port of Aden, Yemen, the defacto capital of the Southern Movement. Is this Saudi blackmail against the Yemeni people?" - The Saudi coalition seized from whoever 4,900 tons of AN, close to twice what was in Beirut, and abandoned it in the port of Aden - where it had better not be allowed to remain. Is this a thing THEY do? Did we ever lean who was behind the shipment that wound up in Beirut? Last I heard it was just unnamed businessman who lost interest in the cargo as soon as it was in Beirut. --Caustic Logic (talk) 10:00, 13 August 2020 (UTC)

I think we "know" all about the shipment from the news? Like here and elsewhere? Basically their payer run out of money and lost interest , and did not pay the crew or port charges etc --Resup (talk) 10:14, 13 August 2020 (UTC)

Arab News - Quickly, The coalition routinely intercepts cargo ships destined for Yemen. See Blockade of Yemen. If it was more than three years ago, that would pre-date STC takeover of Aden.
Some details on Rhosus --Diagonal (talk) 11:42, 13 August 2020 (UTC)

Made in Georgia by LLC Rustavi Azot. in English, on those bags (?) --Resup (talk) 16:04, 13 August 2020 (UTC)

Was it all planned and set up in 2013?

Earlier it was reported that "While sailing through the eastern Mediterranean the Rhosus suffered "technical problems" and was forced to dock at Beirut's port". I was wondering how the technical problems could be pre-planned. The BBC story has a different take on it:

Mr Prokoshev told the BBC on Friday that the Rhosus only stopped off in Beirut because its owner had money trouble. The captain said he was told the ship needed to collect an additional cargo of heavy machinery, to fund passage through the Suez Canal.
However, the machinery proved too heavy to load, and when the ship's owner did not pay the port fees and fine, the Lebanese authorities impounded it, along with the ammonium nitrate, he added.

I suspect there never was any buyer in Mozambique. The whole deal was set up to deliver the ammonium nitrate to Beirut. Compare it to this story: Were the Russians Hiding a Nuke in D.C.? -- Petri Krohn (talk) 00:12, 14 August 2020 (UTC)

Extended version of news story here, also BBC.

One can ask about anything accidental was it pre-planned. The story of some Russian/ex-Soviet businessmen running out of money sounds totally natural to me (eg no cheap credit is available, etc). Taking extra cargo to make extra money is also a routine matter. I read somewhere that the ship was leaking (a bit). I understand that it eventually sank. It's true that if somebody would want for an old dilapidated ship to develop technical problems, it will be a 1/2 bottle of vodka to do. But this does not tell or mean that this is what really happened. In the end of the day, it was huge load sitting there in plain sight for years, and I do not see how one can count on this to be that way and not sold, moved, disposed, etc. Unless you really have control over the place (which would mean Hezbollah, not some Armenians who would not be interested in blasting their own place) --Resup (talk) 04:50, 14 August 2020 (UTC)

  • [1] ‘We can confirm that yes, we did order it,’ a spokesperson for FEM told CNN. But it never turned up at its supposed destination, the central Mozambican port of Beira.
FEM said it never paid for the ammonium nitrate. However, the Lebanese law firm Baroudi and Partners told the “New York Times” that Mozambique’s largest commercial bank, the Millennium-BIM (International Bank of Mozambique) paid for the chemical on behalf of FEM.
But the FEM spokesperson told CNN it had worked with an outside trading company to facilitate the transfer of the chemical from Georgia to Mozambique. But several months after the ammonium nitrate left Georgia, the spokesperson said the trading company told FEM it would not be arriving: ‘We were just informed by that trading company: there’s a problem with the vessel, your order is not going to be delivered,’ the spokesperson said. ‘So, we never paid for it, we never received it.’
According to AIM, FEM appears to have been caught unwittingly in an international swindle. The ammonium nitrate was on board the Moldovan registered ship, the “Rhosus”, which was leased by a Russian businessman, Igor Grechushkin.
There are some indications that he never intended to send the ship on to Beira. First, the crew had not been paid, and secondly Grechushkin claimed he did not have the money to pay the fees for using the Suez Canal – even though, according to the ship’s captain, Boris Prokoshev, he had received a million dollars to take the ship to Beira.

Israeli offer of aid and its non-reception

  • Twitter (in Arabic), Avichay Adraee (of Syrian Jewish, Iraqi Jewish, and Turkish Jewish descent), Lieutenant Colonel in the Israel Defense Forces and head of the Arab media division, August 4, 2020
    Under the directives of the defense and foreign ministers, Israel went to Lebanon through international security and political bodies and offered humanitarian and medical assistance. Israel has great experience in these areas, and this has proven this during numerous humanitarian relief missions around the world in recent years. It's time to put all conflicts aside
  • Twitter, Avichay Adraee (see above), August 8, 2020
    Lebanon's flag over the municipality of Rahat, southern Israel. The municipality of Rahat raises the # Lebanon flag over the municipality building, in solidarity with the victims of Beirut and the people of Lebanon.
  • Twitter, Avichay Adraee (see above), August 9, 2020
    From the Holy Land - Israel to the homeland of the saints. Prayers were raised yesterday from Nazareth in solidarity with the tragedy that befell Beirut. The Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth adorned the Lebanese flag with the intention of the Victims of the Beirut Port explosion
  • Israel offers medical aid to Lebanon, response is silence - JPost, August 5, 2020
    The heads of several Israeli hospitals have reached out to Lebanese officials and the United Nations offering medical support to the country’s wounded.
  • Israel's Lebanon aid offer unlikely to find a taker - AFP, August 8, 2020
    For some it's a gesture of goodwill, to others sheer hypocrisy: Israel's offer of humanitarian aid to Lebanon after the massive Beirut blast is unlikely to be taken up. The two neighbours are still technically at war, have no diplomatic ties and mutual suspicion, even animosity, defines their relations.

--Resup (talk) 23:47, 9 August 2020 (UTC)

Warehouse 12

See also: Fireworks

Volume of ammonium nitrate is easy, density 1700 kg/m^3, densely parked, so 2750 tons is 2750000/1720= 1598. = about 1600 m^3. Like maybe 20*53*1.5 , width*length*height (whatever the width is; height may be compared to humans besides bags). It can be located anywhere, surely there are forklift loaders at the port, those car size beasts, not just cranes, which cannot load through roofs --Resup (talk) 09:45, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

Hav revised the points referred to. I WAS seeing fixed cranes setting in through, I guess, flip-open roof panels. Surely taken off the ship by crane, they'd be moved wherever, and blast center seems more north than I thought anyway. But thanks for the volumetrics (is't that a word?), and Diagonal for the photos I'd barely seen. To consider when I re-map the scene. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:58, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

"Electric tool" may be electric (arc) welder or grinder, either of them potentially fire-triggering. I can imagine they welded some doors or holes shut and left as their day ended. Low, possibly no-flame fire may started while they were finishing up. Ammonium nitrate is a good oxidizer, and likely some was on the floor, spilled after loading; that may feed low fire to develop. Also windows seem broken so may be some draft. No big need for the feared Syrian Mossad to arrive. --Resup (talk) 10:17, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

Also the issue that "gate" and "door" have the same usual word in Arabic - bab (Lebanon 24 article translated warehouse door as bab amber). Welding is more likely related to the facts, seeing as how they allegedly went to fix one door that wouldn't open right and left it with all of them sealed shut, as if welded shut, and that unlucky fire started in the process. No other kind of tool is as likely to be involved in the real plot this guy seems to know about. --Caustic Logic (talk) 14:58, 10 August 2020 (UTC)

Port of Beirut

  • Lebanon: the temporary committee of the Port of Beirut soon replaced - Libnanews September 7, 2019
    After managing the Port of Beirut for 29 years, its “temporary” committee will be replaced, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced on Friday. It will be a question of further defining the future, status with either the choice to set up a private company or via a public / private partnership, such as those being planned under the CEDRE economic aid plan in Lebanon. An interministerial commission will be responsible for defining the future management method of the Port of Beirut . For now, the Minister of Transport Youssef Fenianos and the director of the temporary committee Hassan Kraytem are working on formulating a preliminary draft.
    As a reminder, in 2015, the Minister of Finance, Ali Hassan Khalil, already in his post, indicated that the corruption of the Lebanese customs - which depends on the Ministry of Finance - costs the state more than 1.2 billion dollars annually.
  • Tender announced
    The “Gestion et Exploitation du Port de Beyrouth “is calling for an international bid to Manage, Operate and Maintain the Container Terminal at the Port of Beirut. Those who intend to participate in this bid must collect the Tender Documents from the Cabinet of the Port of Beirut, fifth floor, from Friday the 17th of January, 2020 during the regular working hours against a sum of /10.000/$ (Ten thousand US dollars). The deadline to submit the offers is Tuesday the 17th of March, 2020 at noon (12:00) (...etc) Beirut on 17 / 01 /2020 The President General Director Hassan Kamel Kraytem
  • Hariri (and Kraytem ?) on port visit photos, Sep. 6, 2019 1, 2, 3.
  • Beirut Port Director, Hassan Koraytem, has been arrested -, Aug. 7. 2020

I guess if one in the mindset to see the explosion as arranged, there would be many actors who could be hypothetically behind, like in a detective story with, like, 20+ dudes, each with a reason to kill some guy/fuck some girl/etc. (The above port stuff may, hypothetically, qualify). --Resup (talk) 20:47, 14 August 2020 (UTC)