Last week, a massive explosion rocked the city of Beirut, Lebanon, leaving at least 158 dead, 6,000 injured, and 300,000 homeless. There is still a lot of questions that need to be answered about what caused the explosion and why was this amount of ammonium nitrate stored together in a city? The only thing that we know for certain at this point is that this was a devastating explosion that will be felt in Lebanon for a very long time and will likely lead to massive turmoil in the months and years to come.
Even with so many questions left unanswered, I would like to paint a picture of a scenario that is at least plausible, if not likely. I am not saying that this is definitely what happened because it is too early to tell, but the pieces do fit together. The more I dig into this, the more and more likely this is looking.
Ammonium nitrate is a substance that is commonly used in fertilizer and has been used in several well known explosions over the last few decades including the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995, the accidental explosion at a chemical plant in Toulouse, France in 2001, and a deliberate attack at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas in 2013.
When stored alone under normal circumstances and without extreme heat, it is safe. When combined with fuel oils, ammonium nitrate becomes extremely explosive, and is commonly used in quarry work, mining, and bomb making.
The 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate that was involved in the Beirut explosion was seized from an abandoned ship in 2014 and was stored inside the warehouse in Beirut without proper safety measures. We do not yet know why it was never moved like it was suppose to be, despite at least six requests, or what initially caused it to explode. You can of course make the argument that it was accidental, that it was set by someone who just had a bad day at work, or by a terrorist organization like Hezbollah. While the first two are certainly still possible, I am going to focus on the third, and what I believe is a very plausible scenario.
While we do not yet know what exactly caused this blast, we do know that Hezbollah has been looking at doing this style of attack for at least a decade and that they knew about this stockpile and the catastrophe that this would cause if it was used in an attack.
Since 2009, Hezbollah has been stockpiling thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate around the world, which they acquired from the Syrian city of Homs. Homs is a city located just 113 miles Northeast of Beirut. Just this year, hundreds of kilograms of ammonium nitrate was discovered in warehouses in southern Germany. In 2015, London Metropolitan Police discovered three metric tons of ammonium nitrate in a storehouse in London. Since the explosion in Beirut, Hezbollah has come out and denied that they were behind this stockpile and has stated that they do not have stockpiles of any weapons in Lebanon, but as I will explain later, there is a very good explanation for why they would deny this attack even if they were behind it, when terrorist groups normally take credit for attacks.
We also do know that they have had their eyes on doing this style of attack on the port city of Haifa, Israel. In 2016, Hezbollah President Nasrallah bragged that his terror organization could launch a massive attack against Haifa, killing tens of thousands of people and ruin the lives of hundreds of thousands more, with several missiles aimed at Israel’s ammonium nitrate stockpile in Haifa. Nasrallah later joked “In other words Lebanon has a nuclear bomb. This is not an exaggeration,”
One year later, Nashrallah again bragged about how dangerous this chemical is and stated that “There is a ship that brings the ammonia, and distributed it to the Haifa facility and I said that the Haifa facility is the equivalent of a nuclear bomb, but the ship that carries ammonia to occupied Palestine is like five nuclear bombs.”
While we still do not know the cause of this explosion, there should be enough there to make you at least consider the possibility that this was a deliberate attack. No, it was not against Israel, this time, but could it be leading up to something much larger?
There is a very good explanation for why Hezbollah may have carried out this attack in Beirut, even though their ultimate goal is the destruction of Israel.
It’s important to point out that Hezbollah isn’t just a terrorist organization but a political party in Lebanon as well. In January 2020, Lebanon formed a new government under Minister Hassan Diab, with the backing of Hezbollah and it’s allies. Hezbollah is now one of the largest political parties in Lebanon and their influence is continuing to grow, worrying many U.S. leaders.
I would like to point out two potential goals that Hezbollah may have had for carrying out an attack and not take credit for it, like terrorist organizations normally do following an attack. I think a case can be made that it’s likely not just one, but one option that will likely be used to fund the other.
Lebanon has been having severe economic problems, and that was before this explosion. An explosion of this size is going to cripple Lebanon economically. There is no way that President Trump and much of the world is going to send more aid to a country who has a group like Hezbollah as the leader of their country, especially when that group just carried out a massive attack. But by making it look like an accident, the world will continue to send them aid and Hezbollah will get to siphon off some of that massive amount of aid that the world will end up sending them to rebuild. Hezbollah will continue to get stronger and stronger instead of receiving blame for being behind the attack, and a county that has already been struggling will now be in economic and political chaos. With the country in chaos and blaming the President of Lebanon for not taking action to remove this stockpile, a power vacuum will be created and Hezbollah put into a position to fill that vacuum. Hezbollah would now have their own country.
Hezbollah’s ultimate goal is of course the destruction of Israel so they start launching missiles from Lebanon to Haifa, with the intention of hitting their stockpile of ammonium nitrate, leaving tens of thousands dead and likely drawing us into another war in the Middle East.
I want to re-state that I am not making the claim that this is definitely what happened, but that all of the pieces are fitting together where there’s a very real possibility that this could have happened. Hezbollah has been targeting Israel and was created to drive Israel from Lebanon. That is a fact. Hezbollah is currently a major political party in Lebanon and they are continuing to get stronger. That is a fact. Hezbollah has been eyeing this style of attack against Israel and the Western world and have threatened to attack the Israeli city of Haifa. That is a fact.
There is really only one question that needs to be answered. Who was responsible for removing this stockpile? If we can figure out the answer to that, I think it’s going to provide the answer for “Was this an accident or an attack?”
I do want to end this by pointing out that even if I’m wrong and that this wasn’t an attack, we are very likely to see the same circumstance playing out. Someone will need to be held responsible. The country is already in political and economic chaos, which is very likely to lead to a power vacuum. Hezbollah is already one of the strongest parties in Lebanon. Even if they weren’t responsible for this explosion, the outcome is very likely to end the exact same way: a country that is run by the terrorist organization, Hezbollah.
Make sure to follow mikulawire.com. I’ll be providing updates as needed on this developing story.