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Crisis Management!

The recent twin explosions in Beirut and the ensuing death of at least 150 people have reminded the Global Community of some past events in Lebanon… Civil War, Sectarian Violence, Foreign Intervention and Terror Attacks. However, the cause of the explosion is completely different this time. Nearly 2,750 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate, confiscated from a cargo ship six years ago, were stored in a warehouse near the Beirut port, and the material has reportedly triggered the twin explosions! Primary investigation suggests that the accident occurred due to negligence, and it was not a terror attack. Nevertheless, the level of the explosion has brought back the memory of the terrible 15-year-long Civil War since 1975, the rise of religious fundamentalists, economic crisis, and corruption! The huge outrage after the explosion also reminded the ruling class of the civil unrest in 2019. The Government of Lebanon has resigned, accepting its inability to handle the situation…

Lebanon has been going through a quite a bit of crisis in recent times. The West Asian Nation is not only experiencing an economic downturn, but has also failed to stabilise the prices of essential commodities, as well as to tackle the foreign exchange deficit. Due to its alleged involvement in corruption, and inability to provide basic services; the Government has lost the confidence of the people. And now, the explosion has displaced 250,000 people. Even, the hospitals are facing difficulties in providing injured people with proper medical treatment. The rescue operation is being hampered, due to huge power shortage. The residents of Beirut have hinted that the recent events are just the tip of the iceberg! They have been suffering a lot for long, and would soon face an acute food crisis. The scenario may trigger a fresh public outrage at any point of time. The resignation of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri in 2019, and the formation of a new Government, seemingly, had paved the way for a solution. This time also, the Government has resigned. However, the political crisis, coupled with most of the other existing ones, is still there!

The Global Community, too, has created trouble for Lebanon. The long-term instability has gradually become a norm in the country. As the Coronavirus pandemic has rocked the world, the political instability has taken the backseat in Lebanon, and various countries are trying to take advantage of this situation. The Arab nations have refused to help Lebanon financially because of the latter’s cordial ties with Iran. The US and some Western European countries have asked Lebanon to bring changes in its politics and economy as a pre-condition of receiving loans. However, Lebanon has received some international assistance after the explosion. The Arab nations have started sending medical aid, while Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, has visited Beirut in this regard. According to experts, this solidarity will be short-lived. US President Donald Trump has already called this incident as an ‘Attack’! But by whom? The US President is yet to explain! It has become increasingly difficult for Lebanon to stabilise its economy without rapid political reform and global financial support. Else, the Lebanese people would have to pay a heavy price.

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