On the 16th of August 2021, the Lebanese Army raided and seized underground storage facilities housing over 400 tons of diesel and fuel distributed it to a number of hospitals, bakeries, municipalities and farmers.
Recently Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor Riad Salameh (who was appointed by the corrupt ruling class in 1993 and mired in multiple international corruption investigations) took a decision to lift fuel subsidies without an alternative arrangement. This caused fuel in the country skyrocket in price; in turn petrol stations shut down and hoarded fuels leaving the Lebanese people, hospitals, bakeries and farmers without any means of operation.
The army stepped in and took control of many gas stations and discovered depots of fuel hidden and being withheld from the population. The Army went on to distribute the fuel for free to the people who had been waiting almost a day in line. One such site was in Akkar North Lebanon where a hidden fuel tanker mysteriously exploded leaving dozens killed.
The same facility housing tons of fuel was also housing tons of ammonium nitrate, the same material that was behind the Beirut port explosion in 2020. An FBI report estimates the amount of ammonium nitrate that exploded was 552 tons, less than a fifth of the original cargo that was unloaded. There is speculation that some were sold on the black market by the corrupt ruling class that allowed it into the country. Other reports suggest it was being smuggled to Syria to assist terrorist and opposition groups in conflict with the Syrian government.
The owner of this facility is the brother of Ibrahim Sakr who is in the leadership of the Lebanese Forces (a wartime militia involved in atrocities and illicit activities) turned political party.
Lebanon is going through some tough times right now with its economic and political meltdown. The corrupt ruling class simply won’t let go of power or their corrupt ways and will stop at nothing to prevent the reformists from fixing the country.
Some of the corrupt ruling class include:
- The AMAL Movement led by former warlord Nabih Berri (who remains Lebanon’s speaker of parliament since 1992) and is believed to be the Godfather of corruption in Lebanon.
- The Progressive Socialist Party led by former warlord Walid Jumblatt
- The Future Movement led by Saad Hariri (whose PM father appointed the Riad Salameh in 1993 as Central Bank Governor) who are responsible for endemic corruption and skyrocketing national debt in Lebanon.
- The Lebanese Forces led by convicted war criminal and former warlord Samir Geagea.
- The Marada Movement led by former warlord Sleiman Frangieh (a small player in Lebanon’s politics and considered a lackey of Berri).
All of the above have taken part in corruption and the obstruction of anti-corruption and reform laws.
Text and Images by UALM Australia