The purported Arab Spring 2.0 which I would say as Arab Autumn 2.0 has begun, and the bad omens are writ large, as not even a week has passed, that Lebanon is seething against its government, after the mushroom cloud of blast had enveloped it on August 4, 2020, which was foretold by Simpson Cartoon 1 in advance, and all the government representatives are in a huddle or are fleeing Lebanon.  Lebanon had been a French colony and the first foreign head to visit was France President Emanuel Macron on August 7, 2020 2. But, are his intentions genuine or has he donned the mantle of being Emanuel Bonaparte as suggested by an article published in The Washington Post on August 8, 2020 3, which also refers to an online petition saying seeking France re-take Lebanon back into its fold.

The immediacy with which Macron rushed to Beirut when the security of the whole nation was in alarm and visited the shattered neighbourhoods  while residents welcomed him with slogans that ‘he was their hope’ and ‘not to support the corrupt’, while justice minister MC Nejem was pushed and had to resign 4 , was a wonderful sight, but was he ‘rushed-into’ to pre-empt the prospects of a China-aid package to Lebanon, as it is only China which is readying to answer West, US and Israel as the next superpower.  Lebanon president Michel Aoun has ordered a probe if a foreign rocket or bomb had caused the blast 5. US president Trump has twice reiterated that the blast was an attack 6 and Richard Silverstein, who writes a blog, on the same day i.e. August 4, 2020 had written that ‘Israel Bombed Beirut’ 7 . He is also giving interviews too available on his website 8.  It therefore, does not come as a surprise that Israel former member of Knesset Moshe Feiglin tapped the mood and called the Beirut blast as a ‘gift from God’.  “Today is Tu B’Av, a day of joy, and a true and huge thank you to God and all the geniuses and heroes really (!) who organized for us this wonderful celebration in honor of the day of love,” Feiglin wrote on Facebook. Tu B’Av is a Jewish holiday similar to Valentine’s Day 9.

Israel has quite understandably denied its involvement and is maintaining a sickening hypocrisy 10  but did Israel push Macron in order to fill into the vacuum created in Lebanon where even a Lebanese born porn star Mia Khalifa has been made to accuse Hezbollah, the militant group supported by Iran, in conflict with Israel, to be responsible for blasts. 11 There is now going to be an all out rebellion against Lebanon government by people in the next coming days as Lebanon was already tagged as a ‘failed-state’ by its foreign minister Cherbel Wehbe  12 who had resigned a day before the blasts, and now protestors have started to storm government ministries 13 and information minister Manal Abdel Samad has just tendered her resignation 14. How Israel will try to benefit, out of the new situation arising in Lebanon will need to be judged by the moves of Macron in the days ahead. Nine member of parliament of Lebanon have until August 10, 2020 have resigned 15 .

This leaves a wide question to be answered. Did Macron went with a tacit understanding with Israel as he on August 9, 2020 has said that Israel is willing to help Lebanon after Beirut explosion, as reported in The Jerusalem Post 16 which the newspaper has called a ‘developing story’. Lebanon has refused aid from Israel but speculations are rife that ‘Macron is trying to re-conquer Lebanon rather than help it in the wake of the devastating explosion at its capital which has killed more than 150’ 17.

UP President Donald Trump has in a virtual conference to discuss the international response on Beirut Blasts on August 10, 2020 urged the Lebanese government to conduct a ‘full and transparent investigation’ 18  into the deadly explosion  and expressed his support to the protests who want reform in the country. Thus, US meddling into Lebanese affairs is now an open guess.  Trump has already twice said that the blast had occurred due to an attack by a bomb.  Michel Aoun, the president of Lebanon, since 2016,  has also confirmed that only three-weeks preceding the  blasts he was first told of the dangerous stockpile ( of 2750 tones of ammonium nitrate which went into fire)  nearly three weeks ago and ( had)  immediately ordered military and security agencies to do “what was needed” 19 .  These comments came on August 7, 2020, and on the same day he also pointed that the blast could have been a missile attack or a bomb and that he had  asked French President Emmanuel Macron to provide with aerial photos to determine whether there were planes or missiles, and if the French did not have such photos ‘then we (he) might seek them from other states to determine if there was a foreign assault’ 20

The Lebanese government is now on a verge of collapse 21 and more chaos is to follow. But, the protests are very much expected to be exported to the whole Arab world, as Qatar is right now under the watch-list of the newly coined Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and its specter is what looms large on it.   It has been put under the scanner to have hobnobbed with Hezbollah which Israel detests to the core. There have been  a series of reports that Qatar is involved into financing weapons delivery to Hezbollah 22 worldwide.  The Jerusalem Post  23 on July 30, 2020 carried  a story on the same and Fox News 24 warned that Qatar is responsible to putting 10,000 US troops at risk. Now a ‘ deliberate claim’ and then a campaign against UAE-getting accused of money-laundering by FATF is also likely to be kicked-off no sooner than later,  and all this would get mass protests to be triggered in the whole of Gulf states, which of course,  will end into more and more ruin.

Already the heat around Saudi Arabia crown prince MbS is gathering storm over his alleged role in the murder of Jamal Khashogi as one more Saudi intelligence official Saad Al Jabri  has accused MbS of sending assassins to kill him  25 and may be an inquiry would be made to hound him to the purpose of US policies, the immediate result Is showing,  as there are growing strains between Saudi Arabia-Pakistan ties, both traditional friends for long. The controversial relationship of MbS with Lindsay Lohan can also be put to use to bring infamy to the Saudi heir-apparent. The Arab Autumn 2.0 is brimming to happen as a mea-culpa of COVID-19 spread-out.

Meanwhile, reports of Jews vacationing in Lebanon in 1930s have started flashing in newspapers in Israel as The Jerusalem Post 26 carried a whole article on it on August 9, 2020  . The Jewish state idea of Greater-Israel does not seem to be moving by inches but by leaps and bounds.

A ruinous Arab Autumn 2,0 however awaits to happen. The starting point of it would lie in Jerusalem when on August 2, 2020 more than 60,000 27  protesters had gathered against the official residence of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu accused of corruption charges and it was widely expected that Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz would overtake him, but now, after the August 4, 2020 Beirut blasts Netanyahu is said to have kicked-up his new election campaign 28  as Israel seem all set for its fourth election 29 .

The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner. He is also a lawyer based in Lucknow.

 

References :

1-https://www.indiatimes.com/trending/wtf/the-simpsons-predicted-beirut-blast-519719.html

2-https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/deadly-blast-beirut-residents-macron-relief-200806205048992.html

3-https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/is-france-helping-lebanon-or-trying-to-reconquer-it/2020/08/08/3b582afe-d94b-11ea-a788-2ce86ce81129_story.html

4-https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/deadly-blast-beirut-residents-macron-relief-200806205048992.html

5 –https://www.timesofisrael.com/probe-of-beirut-blast-examining-possibility-of-foreign-involvement-president/

6-https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/us-officials-dispute-trumps-claim-beirut-attacked-72190863

7- https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2020/08/04/breaking-israel-bombed-beirut/

8- https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2020/08/06/ex-cia-analyst-confirms-beirut-blast-initiated-by-munitions-explosions/

9-https://www.newsweek.com/gift-god-former-israeli-parliament-member-celebrates-beirut-explosion-1523395

10-https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-israel-beirut-lebanon-blast-support-1.9050449

11- https://dailytimes.com.pk/649726/iran-backed-hezbollah-is-responsible-for-the-bombing-in-beirut-former-lebanese-porn-star-mia-khalifa/

12-https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/lebanon-foreign-minister-quits-pm-lack-reformist-200803081938960.html

13- https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-53704998

14- https://www.euronews.com/2020/08/08/watch-live-anti-government-protesters-take-to-the-streets-following-beirut-explosion

15- https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/beirut-police-fire-tear-gas-protesters-regroup-live-updates-200810010528285.html

16-https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/macron-says-israel-is-willing-to-help-lebanon-after-beirut-explosion-637994

17-https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8606933/Emmanuel-Macron-accused-trying-reconquer-Lebanon-help-it.html

18-https://www.scmp.com/news/world/middle-east/article/3096671/donald-trump-urges-lebanese-government-hold-full-and

19-https://www.scmp.com/news/world/middle-east/article/3096574/alarm-raised-over-explosive-chemicals-beirut-port-least-10

20-https://www.arabnews.com/node/1715991/middle-east

21-https://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2020/08/09/Lebanese-government-on-verge-of-collapse-with-more-resignations-expected.html

22-https://www.arabnews.com/node/1715466/middle-east

23-https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/qatari-diplomat-allegedly-covered-up-hezbollah-terror-financing-636690

24-https://www.foxnews.com/world/qatars-finance-of-hezbollah-terrorist-movement-puts-us-troops-at-risk-dossier-claims

25-https://www.trtworld.com/magazine/after-khashoggi-murder-mbs-sent-agents-to-kill-saudi-dissident-in-canada-38721

26-https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/when-jews-from-pre-state-israel-vacationed-in-lebanon-638014

27-https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/anti-netanyahu-protests-heat-peak-at-30000-report-637150

28-https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-netanyahu-may-have-just-kicked-off-his-new-election-campaign-1.9050416

29-Will Netanyahu fold? Is Israel headed for fourth election? All the scenarios | Opinion


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