Tensions over Beirut blast investigation lead Lebanon to a new crisis

Texas News Today

FILE PHOTO: View of the grain storage silos damaged by the explosion at Beirut port last year at sunset in Beirut, Lebanon July 29, 2021. Reuters / Mohamed Azakir

13 October 2021

Maha El Dahan and Laila Bassami

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon could be plunged into another political crisis as tensions rise over the judicial investigation into last year’s Beirut port bombing, leaving the new government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati to save the country from collapse. I’m having a hard time testing that.

More than a year after the Beirut explosion and killed more than 200 people, Judge Tarek Vital’s efforts to detain senior officials to clarify allegations of negligence faced growing political backlash. Growth. Hezbollah group.

At a cabinet meeting on Wednesday after interfering in Tuesday’s stormtroopers session, a minister, tried to ask in line with politician Vital, was expected to advance his request for dismissal.

However, Wednesday’s session was postponed until the “framework” is agreed to address the issue, official sources said.

The shift away from tackling one of the worst economic downturns in the world risks undermining Mikati, who took office last month after fighting for more than a year for a cabinet seat.

It also emphasized Hezbollah’s greater influence, calling for Vital to be replaced and accusing him of conducting a political investigation.

Vital is not trying to ask Hezbollah members.

Former finance minister Bitel said all options could be extended politically, when asked whether some ministers might resign in an interview on Tuesday.

Karil is the right-hand man of the State Legislature Speaker Nabi Beri (the supreme Shia of the state) and a close ally of Hezbollah. Karil told Armaya Dean TV that the course of the investigation threatened to “push Lebanon towards civil war”.

Betar issued an arrest warrant on Tuesday after Khaleel did not appear for questioning.

Hezbollah and its Shia ally Amal separated the minister from the government during a political struggle. It is a move to dismantle the Sunni-led cabinet by removing Shia representatives.

The Shia party, along with the Christian Marada movement led by Hezbollah ally Suleiman Franzier, called on supporters outside the Judiciary Palace on Thursday to oppose Vital.

Hezbollah’s Christian rival, Samir Jaza, rejected what he termed as obedience to a “threat” by the group, and if the “opposite” tried to force a will, the Lebanese went on a peaceful strike. called for preparation.

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Mikati said Lebanon could not tolerate the loss of a second judge after the first judge was sacked in February after the fairness was questioned.

Mikati’s priority is to revive the IMF talks. But that is not long, and the election is scheduled for next spring.

The Heiko Women of Crisis group said the line “absorbs energy, making (Mikati) look weak.” “It casts a big question mark or adds one to the question that everyone already has about the viability of this government.”

“Hezbollah shows its brutal influence and power, which is undoubtedly a terrifying reflection of the Mikati government,” said Mohanad Hague Ali of the Carnegie Middle East Center.

Nizar Saghih, head of Legal Agenda, an investigative and advocacy body, said the government does not have the authority to remove Bitter, but may overturn a previous decision to transfer the investigation to the judicial council. This would be a major attack on the “separation of powers”.

Potential foreign aid donors are calling for a transparent investigation into the explosion caused by large amounts of ammonium nitrate that are not safely stored.

The US State Department accused Hezbollah of threatening the Lebanese judiciary on Tuesday. Hezbollah MP Hassan Faderla said the statements violated Lebanon’s sovereignty and “indicated the level of intervention for the management of the investigation into the explosion at the port of Beirut.”

All seniors, including former Prime Minister Hassan Diab, have questioned Vital’s denial of fraud.

The Parliamentary Secretariat said that the judiciary has exceeded its authority by any action against the President, Ministers or Members of Parliament. Bitter’s critics say that proceedings against such officials should go through a special process.

(Written by Tom Perry, Edited by William McLean and Giles Elgood)

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