Politics 14:59 05/08/2020 Armenia

Armenian expert: Some Arab countries can take advantage of situation in Beirut

The massive explosion in Lebanon’s capital Beirut, which was likely caused by an accident, speaks of the serious governance and systemic problems in almost all spheres of that country, Armen Petrosyan, an Armenian expert in Arabic studies, told Panorama.am on Wednesday.

He states that Lebanon has been experiencing a serious economic crisis since October last year, followed by the coronavirus crisis and Tuesday’s deadly explosion, which caused numerous casualties and damages.

The expert does not rule out that all this may have political consequences.

"Mass protests against the government are likely to erupt in the country, there will be new dismissals, while the opposition will form a new agenda to come to power," Armen Petrosyan said.

Petrosyan finds it difficult to say how foreign players will react to the Beirut developments, only making some assumptions.

"The Lebanese government has ended up in a deep crisis also a result of this explosion, The government cannot overcome it alone, this is where it needs international support. I think a number of Arab countries can take advantage of the situation in Lebanon to increase pressure on the Lebanese authorities,” he said.

The expert stresses in order to overcome the current situation, Lebanon needs serious external financial support coupled with domestic reforms.

"The rich Arab states of the Persian Gulf can provide financial assistance [to Lebanon], linking that support with the policy aimed at weakening Iran's positions. The Lebanese government is not pursuing such a policy at the moment, as it is a Hezbollah-backed government. Therefore, under such conditions, an attempt will be made to diminish the role of Hezbollah, as well as the Iranian influence in Lebanon," he said.

Petrosyan, who is closely following all happenings in the Arab world, almost rules out Israel’s involvement in the Beirut blast.

"The Israeli intelligence is working quite carefully, therefore it would not have caused such a humanitarian disaster. If, let’s assume, Israel was behind all this, Lebanon would declare a war to the country in response. But I repeat myself, this is an unrealistic scenario," he said.

The death toll from the blast at Beirut's port has risen to at least 100 with over 4,000 wounded.

Officials have linked the explosion to some 2,700 tonnes of confiscated ammonium nitrate that were being stored in a warehouse at the port for six years.

The Lebanese president has declared a three-day mourning in the country.



Source Panorama.am
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