The Syrian Opposition Coalition’s (SOC) Strategic Consulting Office held an online panel discussion about the latest developments in Lebanon and their impact on Syria and the region. The discussions focused on the upcoming announcements of the verdict by an international tribunal on the assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik al-Hariri, the Beirut explosion, and Hezbollah’s involvement in these developments.
The discussions were moderated by Head of the Office Ahmed Ramadan. Keynote speakers included former Lebanese Minister of State for Refugees Affairs Mouin Merhebi, Ameed Hammoud, SOC members, experts, and researchers.
Participants discussed the party that might be behind the Beirut explosion, especially as it took place just a few days before an international tribunal’s announcement of its verdict on Hariri assassination.
They stressed that the explosion that rocked Beirut will have serious repercussions on Lebanon and the region, citing reports about Hezbollah’s use of the ammonium nitrate cache that was stored at the Port of Beirut.
They also discussed the Lebanese government’s refusal of the launch of an international investigation and its decision to assign Director General of Customs to chair the investigation committee. They said that the Director General has close ties to Hezbollah militia, which will affect the objectivity and accuracy of the investigation.
Moreover, participants indicated that there is widespread popular anger in Lebanon as well as demands for the government to resign, holding all previous governments accountable, and the launch of an international investigation into the disaster. This may be possible in the event international pressure was put on the Lebanese government and after France launch its own investigation into the death of French nationals.
For his part, Merhebi did not rule out that Iran was behind the deadly explosion, citing the US’s mounting pressure on Iran in Iraq and Syria, along with a series of mysterious explosions that have taken place in Iran in recent weeks.
He also said that Hezbollah is trying to place the blame on the Lebanese government, adding that “we are working to expose the role of Hezbollah and highlight its loyalty to ran instead of Lebanon.”
Merhebi pointed out that the incident will have considerable impact on Syria, especially as there are strong indications of Hezbollah role.
He stressed that Hezbollah is to blame for bringing Lebanon to the brink of famine due to its terrorist actions as well as its close connections with Iran. He pointed out that the continued economic pressure in Lebanon will eventually prompt everyone to revolt against this militia.
(Source: SOC’s Media Department)