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Beirut explosion: Five conspiracy theories explained

Author: Rayhan Uddin 

Affiliation: Freelance journalist 

Organization/Publisher: Middle East Eye 

Date/Place: August 5, 2020/UK

Type of Literature: Article 

Word Count: 1200 


KeywordsLebanon, Beirut Explosion, Israel, Turkey, Hezbollah 


In the aftermath of the devastating Beirut explosion on 4th August, many conspiracy theories have emerged in the absence of a clear narrative from the Lebanese government. The most notable one was that it was a plot hatched by the Israeli forces and it was backed by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s tweets hinting at an attack on Hezbollah forces. However, this claim is unfounded and has been rejected by Israel and even Iran. Another theory that has emerged was Hezbollah involvement in the explosion, citing old videos of Hezbollah Secretary General in which he speaks of causing a ‘nuclear-like’ explosion in Israel’s Haifa port. However, Lebanese officials reject this claim saying that the hangar was not a Hezbollah depot. With the graphic videos of the explosion shared online, people were quick to label it a nuclear explosion given the mushroom-cloud appearance. The US President expressed a belief that it might have been a deliberate attack but didn’t give details. Then there were those mistaking pictures of birds and other wreckage in the explosion for a guided missile or thermobaric weapons. Some even accused Turkey of having sent the ship there; this is false as it has been proven it was a Russian-owned cargo which was stopped by Lebanese port authorities. Another concern was that the explosion seemed to have fireworks involved in it as observed from the videos. This was rejected by Lebanese authorities initially but now they have suggested that perhaps fireworks were also stored near that area. From all these observations, even the most far-fetched conspiracy theories seem a better alternative to the shocking truth, which is that this was a result of an extraordinary amount of negligence by the Lebanese government. 

By: Sahar Sadiq, CIGA Research Intern



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