'It is clear that Hezbollah was involved in Beirut explosion'

Writer and researcher Ken Timmerman analyzes the situation in Lebanon and what is behind the country's civil protests.

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Aftermath of Beirut explosion
Aftermath of Beirut explosion
AZIZ TAHER/ REUTERS

Rod Bryant and Jerry Gordon bring back New York Times best-selling author and intrepid Middle East investigative journalist, Ken Timmerman.

Timmerman addresses what lies behind the "historic" blast that destroyed Beirut's port with hundreds dead and missing, 7,000 injured, hundreds of thousands left homeless and violent protests resulting in the fall of the government.

He notes that the blast of over 2,750 tons of explosive grade ammonia nitrate stored in Beirut port since 2013 was the largest non-nuclear explosion in history.

It was ten times greater than the 1983 US Marines and French Paratroops blasts in Beirut that killed over 300, injuring hundreds that were perpetrated by Hezbollah global terrorist Imad Mughniyeh. It was 1/15th the size of the nuclear bomb exploded over Hiroshima in August 1945 estimated at 20 tons.

He accuses Iran and Hezbollah of involvement in triggering the blast. He points out Hezbollah leader’s brother-in-law in control of the port who was not detained, while the hapless senior port official was. Timmerman accuses Hezbollah of siphoning off 3 tons of the ammonia nitrate from the impounded Russian oligarch-owned ship MV Rhosus cargo that was found in the UK. Then there was the 2 tons uncovered in Germany, that led to listing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Some of the supply of ammonia nitrate may have provided explosives for IEDs used in terror attacks in Syria and Iraq.
Timmerman notes the comments by ex-Pentagon national security and Middle East expert, David Wurmser in a Center for Security Policy report drawing attention to three explosions including fireworks and possible rocket motor propellant. Timmerman spoke of intelligence community contacts who called the Hezbollah bombers "bozos" for inserting detonators.

Sky News reported discovery of a labyrinth of tunnels under the Beirut port following the blast. Timmerman suggests that Iran supplied German and Austrian made tunnel equipment. That was used to tunnel under the Israeli border in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, where he was present as a correspondent. The tunnel found under the Beirut port fits the modus operandi of Iran and Hezbollah and may have been used to manufacture precision rockets and motors. This he considers “extraordinarily dangerous”.

Timmerman noted the resignation of the current Lebanese government, with the exception of President Michel Aoun. He knew Aoun when he was a Free Lebanon leader. Now, Timmerman effectively considers him a "puppet" of the Islamic Republic of Iran. When prompted by Rod Bryant he expressed admiration for the resiliency of the Lebanese people and its diaspora who have withstood these Iran-backed assaults and forced the fall of several governments.

We discussed the looming verdicts in the UN-backed $ 700 million trial of several indicted perpetrators of the Valentine’s Day 2005 assassination of the late Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri. Timmerman suggests that truck bombing by Hezbollah had the support of both Assad’s Syria and Iran.

Timmerman noted that Israel has kept a low profile. The Lebanese Flag that was displayed on the Tel Aviv Municipal building was viewed as showing empathy matched for the victims of the Beirut port blast.

He said Israel only does targeted covert actions with little collateral damage. As an example, he cited the joint CIA-Mossad takeout of Hezbollah terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyeh in a bomb attack on his SUV after attending a celebration at the Iranian Embassy in Damascus in February 2008. Timmerman cited the irony of CIA 'concerns' over sparing the life of then Quds Force commander, the late Qassem Soleimani.



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