FILE PHOTO: A view shows damage at the site of a massive explosion in Beirut’s port area, as part of the city’s skyline in seen in the background, in Beirut, Lebanon August 12, 2020. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis//File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Lebanon’s top investigator of an explosion that killed hundreds filed charges Thursday against the acting prime minister and three former top officials.

The four are the most high-profile officials out of 37 charged with negligence in this summer’s explosion, which occurred when a stockpile of 2,750 tons of explosive material ignited, causing a blast that destroyed a chunk of the capitol, injured thousands and killed more than 200. The investigation has since found that top security officials and politicians knew about the stockpile and its danger but did nothing about it. The four are Hassan Diab, the acting prime minister, as well as a former finance minister Ali Hassan Khalil, and two former ministers of transportation and public works, Ghazi Zaiter and Youssef Finianos. 

Diab denied the allegations in a statement. Diab resigned as prime minister days after the blast but continues in his office until his replacement can form a new government. Diab’s charges are significant in that many worried that those responsible would be too powerful to prosecute, which his statement seems to suggest: “The Prime Minister’s conscience is clear. He is confident that his hands are clean and that he has handled the Beirut Port blast file in a responsible and transparent manner,” read a statement from Diab’s office on Thursday. “Hassan Diab will not allow the Premiership to be targeted by any party.”

Judge Fadi Sawan will begin questioning the suspects Monday.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

Beirut blast: The ship of ‘lost lives and dreams’ – BBC News – 12/5/2020
The centre of the blast was Beirut port where the country’s only cruise ship, the Orient Queen, was docked.

Does The US Need A Lebanon Policy? – Hoover Institution – 12/8/2020
Lebanon is not a U.S. ally. It is, rather, an Iranian satrapy under the control of Hezbollah, the local arm of the Qods Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Hezbollah uses the country as a base for worldwide military and terrorist operations, for training other Iranian-led militias, not to mention as a center for money laundering and illicit finance.

Remember The Huge Explosion In Lebanon? Judge Hits Top Officials With Charges, Including Caretaker Minister – Daily Caller – 12/10/2020
In the letter, the customs official warned of the “dangers if the materials remain where they are regarding the safety of (port) employees.” The letter proposes the material be exported or sold to a Lebanese explosives company.

Long road to recovery for Lebanon’s blast survivors – The New Humanitarian – 12/9/2020
But despite the vast sums of money and large numbers of groups trying to help, people like Mehieddine Lazkani, a 28-year-old student and hospital worker who lost his father in the explosion, told The New Humanitarian he and his family are still waiting for most of what they have been promised.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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