After a massive fatal explosion in Beirut last week and anti-government protests that followed, the prime minister of Lebanon has stepped down from his position. Prime Minister Hassan Diab made the announcement Monday that he along with all of his ministers would resign. On August 4th, a “stockpile of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate set off the massive blast” after catching fire. The materials had been kept in a warehouse since 2013, despite multiple warnings to government leaders about their potential danger.
LEFT & RIGHT
Both sides of the aisle have criticized the Lebanese government and are calling for international repercussions.
“For decades, Lebanese leaders grew accustomed to neglecting the national interest and eventually being bailed out by international assistance…No long-term assistance should flow into Lebanon without strong conditions on transparency and accountability in how this assistance would be employed.”Dr. Lina Khatib, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Chatham House
Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute agreed that demanding accountability for those in any way involved in the explosion is absolutely necessary, adding that previously in Lebanon, “only the weak and never the powerful face accountability for their actions.”
Vox contributor Zeeshan Aleem noted that while immediate needs such food and medical care are vital, the ultimate demands of the people go far beyond such: a total government restructuring and overhaul.
However, New York Post‘s Jonathan Tobin criticized the notion of attempting to turn Lebanon’s current “tribal and sectarian” government into a modern democracy, writing that “anyone who takes on such a task is ignoring history and common sense and will pay for the hubris in blood and treasure.”
It is predicted that social and political instability will only be increased by Diab’s resignation:
“We are heading toward the unknown.”Imad Salamey, Professor of Political Science at the Lebanese American University