The 2020 Beirut port explosion

At 15:08:18 UTC a massive blast rocked the city of Beirut, originating in the port. As of this writing 157 people were killed in the blast and over 6000 were injured, most from the blast wave and flying glass. It has also left upwards of 300,000 people homeless. The cause of the blast has been the subject of some wild speculation on the net, with fingers automatically pointed at Israel. The blast comes at the worst possible time for Lebanon, whose economy is cratering, which has been rocked by protests and is rife with corruption. Speculation is also that this event could spell the end of Lebanon as a state. To be certain, the blast and the crisis will be played to the maximum effect by all parties. The big question, especially if it was sabotage or an attack, is cui bono? We will look at that here, along with the causes of the blast and where it may be likely to lead Lebanon into the future.

The blast was large enough that it was registered by the USGS as a seismic event of 3.3 magnitude and was heard as far away as Cyprus. The blast chart is below (bigger):

The chart of the blast is clear enough. Jupiter was on the Ascendant, activating two eclipses (covered later) and in a partile square by Mars, which also squares the Horizon. Uranus was on the IC of the chart, showing the sudden rupture of infrastructure. The Sun squares Uranus from the 7th house, and the blast occurred the day after the full moon, which featured the full moon axis forming a t-square with Uranus at the apex.

The midpoints to Pluto, which should always be examined in the case of such a large event, show the nature of the event:

  • Plu=Sat/Asc: Suffering through violent or brutal suppression. – Compulsory confinement or retention.
  • Plu=Jup/Sat: Violent changes, separation, restriction
  • Plu=Mars/Sat: The fury of destruction, the deaths of a large number of people

As to the nature of the blast itself, the size of it is shown by Jupiter on the Ascendant of the chart. The colors of the clouds after the fact indicate nitrogen compounds were involved. That automatically excludes other theories about the cause of the blast. There is a very good rundown on the causes of the event and the people and substances involved by Elijah Magnier, who has many connections within Lebanon and knows the country and the port very well. It is well worth the hour of listening to his recounting of events. Uncited comments to follow can be referenced in that interview.

Officials have known for over 6 years that over 2700 tons of prilled ammonium nitrate fertilizer was stored at the facility in unsafe and substandard conditions. This type of nitrate is used in explosives, primarily for mining and excavation purposes. A welder set off the initial fire some three hours earlier, having been called to the site to seal off a steel door to the nitrate, ironically, to prevent entry into the area. He was not apprised of the contents there, did his little job and then left the scene. There was a container of fireworks close by, which subsequently caught fire and caused a small secondary explosion. That was enough of a catalyst to set off the main blast, calculated to be at least equivalent to 400+ tonnes of TNT, and at most 1000+ kt of TNT. It would have been the size of a small nuclear blast. The blast left a crater where there was once a port.

We will not cover all the details of the blast or its causes here as Magnier and others have already fully described it. But the bottom line is that the explosion was the result of incompetence and criminal negligence due to the massive corruption in Lebanese politics. The conspiracies simply do not align with the facts. Here is what we can pretty well definitively say about any conspiracies around it, given the evidence thus far:

  • There were no Hezbollah weapons or missiles stored at the port. The area is controlled by factions antagonistic to Hezbollah. And, there are too many eyes at the port. Everyone knows what is there. The port has been nicknamed the “Cave of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves” because of the endemic corruption that takes place there. Hezbollah would not advertise their missiles by storing them at the port.
  • Reports from “a confidential highly-informed Israeli source” claim that Israel bombed the harbour. Thierry Meyssan and Veterans Today, both questionable sources, claim a small nuke was used. These reports are false and based on poor background information. As to the “Israeli source”, Richard Silverstein has been snookered yet again. Mossad is expert at disinformation and manufacturing ‘evidence’, such as Bibi’s 2018 presentation (transcript) about Hezbollah’s ‘missiles’ at the port.
  • It was not in the interests of the Israelis to destroy the area where most of the people unfriendly toward Hezbollah live. That area was a rich area, and was in the vicinity of the port. Now it is largely rubble, the people homeless. The blast was not to Israel’s advantage.

The real story here is how the blast will affect Lebanon, and for that we need a working chart for the Lebanese state.

Lebanon declared its independence on 22 Nov 1943. Independence charts are most often used to cast the national charts of states if they had existed as colonies before, as with the US for instance. In Lebanon’s case we do not have a time of day, so any such chart would be speculation as to the houses and their rulers. Even without a time of day, though, we can still verify the veracity of the independence declaration chart in relation to the blast.

Any working chart for a state must describe its major events. A speculative working chart for Lebanon is below (bigger):

As the story of the declaration of independence for Lebanon is recounted,

“In the early hours of November 11 [1943], Khoury [the first PM], Solh, minister of the interior Camille Chamoun, foreign minister Salim Taqla, minister of economy, trade and industry Adel Oseiran and Tripoli MP Abdel-Hamid Karami were taken from their homes and imprisoned in Rashaya castle…The reaction to the arrests was immediate. A national strike was called and angry demonstrators took to the streets of Beirut…Khoury and his five fellow prisoners were released on November 22 and returned to Beirut in triumph…“We never saw them as they were released at night,” said Mohanna. “They were taken as a government and returned as a government.”

It would have taken several hours at least to reach Beirut from Rashaya, which is almost two hours away from Beirut in today’s measure, whereupon independence would have been declared. Again, it is speculation as to the time, as that was in 1943, when travel times were generally much longer than today, and during the war years at that. But a declaration of independence would have taken place in Beirut. The point of all this is to arrive at a timing for the working chart.

One of the most important things to look for in a national chart when one does not know the time and when there is a major event is the activation of eclipses. There were two eclipses being activated on the day of the explosion – our now-famous 10 Jan 2020 full moon eclipse at 20 Capricorn and the 13 Jul 2018 partial solar eclipse at 21 Cancer. Jupiter was activating both of them on the day, with Mars serving as the catalyst, square to Jupiter. That degree of Capricorn or its opposite point must be prominent in Lebanon’s chart. If the independence chart is set for around 10:00 am local time, events and the character of the nation begin to fall into place, and puts 20 – 21 degrees of Capricorn on the Ascendant.

Lebanon has been notable for less than fortunate reasons. Its government is divided and corrupt. It has endured a civil war as a result, several wars with Israel, has been occupied two times and the nation has strong sectarian divisions. At its founding, according to its National Pact:

Maronites made up 33.57%, Sunnis made up 18.57% and Shiites made up 15.92% (with several other denominations making up the remainder). The National Pact served to reinforce the sectarian system that had begun under the French Mandate, by formalizing the confessional distribution of the highest public offices and top administrative ranks according to the proportional distribution of the dominant sects within the population. Because the census showed a slight Christian dominance over Muslims, seats in the Chamber of Deputies (parliament) were distributed by a six-to-five ratio favoring Christians over Muslims. This ratio was to be applied to all highest-level public and administrative offices, such as ministers and directors. Furthermore, it was agreed that the President of the Republic would be a Maronite Christian; the Premier of the Council of Ministers would be a Sunni Muslim; the President of the National Assembly would be a Shiite Muslim; and the Deputy Speaker of Parliament a Greek Orthodox Christian.

We can see the seeds of trouble right there. Lebanon endured civil war for 15 years, starting in 1975. It was occupied by Syrian forces from 1990 to 1995. Its ex-PM, Hariri, was assassinated  on Valentine’s Day in 2005, which led to the Cedar Revolution and a change in government. In fact, the nation has been embroiled in conflict for all of this century thus far. But in 2006 there was a real turning point, with a solar arc of Saturn squaring the Lebanese independence Sun. Hezbollah pushed Israel out of Lebanon, having drawn them to a stalemate in the July War. Since then, Hezbollah has become the de facto defense force of Lebanon, a force which Israel now is very careful not to antagonize. Given all this, what would we look for in a working chart for Lebanon?

  • Corruption, shown by Pluto and to a lesser extent, Neptune. That would place one of those two planets in rulership of the 10th house or in the 10th
  • Weak infrastructure (a weak 4th house or its ruler, or Uranus and/or Neptune involved)
  • Divisions in government (Mars involvement with the 10th house or as its ruler)
  • A strong resistance/defense force (4th/6th house, strong Mars or other aspects showing stubbornness and persistence under pressure)
  • Weak finances (a weak 2nd/8th house axis)
  • Strong enemies (a strong 7th house, its ruler or strong planetary placements in the 7th) The 12th house can also be involved.
  • Strong allies (Look to the 11th house and its ruler)
  • A tendency toward disasters and conflicts (Mars, Saturn, Uranus and Pluto combinations)
  • A rich culture (Venus well-placed and/or Taurus prominent)

We have neither the time nor the space to go through all that here, which we will cover in a separate article in the near future, but the one thing my investigations have shown so far is that the independence chart best describes the points above. With the working chart we have the following transits and directions for the blast, below (bigger):

We won’t cover all the indicators here, saving those for another time. The telling transit is that of Neptune to the Lebanese ‘death axis’ (Mars/Saturn midpoint): “Waning powers and weakening efforts, self-torment, the undermining of the vitality (through poison, gas or an epidemic). – A mysterious death, a grievous and grave loss.” Even that by itself describes the effect on Lebanon in general. There is a direction of Ceres to the Lebanese Moon, with transiting Uranus making a contact by sesquisquare. Ceres is also at the ‘revolution midpoint’ (Uranus/Pluto) natally, which describes disruptive influences and sudden, deep changes. That midpoint is also directed to the Moon. This event has marked a sudden and unexpected turning point in Lebanon’s destiny, especially regarding its people and its infrastructure (shown by the Moon in general).

The doomsayers are saying Lebanon is about to come apart at the seams, that is it the worst disaster that could have happened, and that it will be the end of Hezbollah’s influence. I wouldn’t be so sure. As much as the intelligence services and establishment in the US and Israel may be rubbing their hands, this event may well work against their interests in the long term. Here’s why:

  • The port will need rebuilding. China has the ways and means to do so, as well as with the rest of Lebanon’s infrastructure. It will do so without a loan. It has already sent medical aid to Lebanon. Beirut’s port would be the last overland stop on one course of China’s Belt and Road, after Iran and Syria. Lebanon had recently turned to China anyway due to the US and Gulf States refusing any help without reforms in Lebanon – always conditions and always about Hezbollah and Iran. The US wants China out of the area as well.
  • Syria and Iran both jumped to Lebanon’s aid, pledging their full support. Iran already has a field hospital set up to help care for the 6000+ patients, and has pledged full support at all levels throughout the crisis. Syria has dispatched medical teams is taking in excess patients in Syria. The Russians have sent five cargo planes worth of medical aid already. The ‘Axis of Resistance’ was first on the scene.
  • The Gulf States were some of the first to also respond, with Qatar sending mobile hospitals and Iraq sending medical aid and shipments of oil.

So, Lebanon has not been left to its own devices, and the Axis of Resistance has strong contacts in Iraq. Immediate solidarity was shown throughout the region and more notably from Iran, China and Russia. Iran has been shipping food to Lebanon in the months before the blast and storing it on Lebanon’s border with Syria. The Lebanese won’t starve, at least. The US and Israel even offered help, but at this writing we don’t know if it was accepted or how much. The Beltway has been progressively pushing Lebanon into the arms of Iran through US policy anyway. A war would only strengthen Hezbollah. And it certainly wouldn’t curtail Iran in Lebanon.

But the West has been swift in its efforts to shore up the old system, with Macron being the first world leader to have visited. The people he first met with sent a message – he met with pro-Western leaders in what has been panned in France and abroad as glorified photo-op, in what has been called his ‘retail politics talent’. The wider message was not lost on Middle East observers, though. Macron represents the old imperial interests in the region and those powers who want to continue the factionalism and divisions in the nation, ensconced there as a result of the French Mandate. Lebanon was originally part of the Syrian Mandate and is a product of Western balkanization of the Ottomans after WWI.

Will this event be the catalyst that brings about the dissolution of the state, then, or will something else emerge? Again, we will examine that in another article in the near future. As to talk of war, only the US is crazy enough to want a war between Hezbollah and Israel. Israel certainly wants to avoid war with Lebanon and Hezbollah, another reason why the Israelis being behind the explosion is a false narrative.  Hezbollah would be obliged to seek revenge. The devastation to both parties would be too much to bear. What we are likely to see in the interim is a fracturing of Lebanese society into zones of influence according to clan loyalty. It doesn’t have to be that way, though.

The first step toward change in Lebanon would be to hold the people responsible for the negligence and incompetence to account, leading eventually to a totally revamped political system in Lebanon. As it stands now there is a lot of buck-passing as officials try to evade responsibility and prosecution. And now some of these same officials are calling for a foreign investigation into the incident. It shows a complete lack of leadership in the nation and exposes the corruption for what it is, for those who may not have seen it.

Sixteen people have been arrested over the malfeasance that caused the blast thus far. Grief and shock have turned into rage, as protests again target government corruption and demand change. Nasrallah, as head of Hezbollah, had called for calm in the past and for people to support the government through the nation’s crisis. It did not sit well with some of the protesters. But the point he was making was that it would take a couple of years at least to change the government, and that at present those responsible had to be held to account first.

From the penultimate link, Ken Roth, the head of Human Rights Watch, tweeted immediately after the incident (and just as quickly removed) that Hezbollah needs to be investigated as the perpetrators of the blast. The Israeli propaganda mill is in full swing targeting Hezbollah. Macron met with leaders of Hezbollah after he had met with everyone else and told them to stop serving the interests of a foreign country, a clear reference to Iran and also Syria. But Hezbollah is not an opposition party, as in political party. It is part of the population.

Following on Macron’s comment to Hezbollah, Nasrallah gave his awaited speech (with English translation). In a brief synopsis, Nasrallah stated categorically that there were no Hezbollah weapons at the port, denied that they had any knowledge of what goes on at the port (it is not ‘their territory’), that the state must now root out its internal enemies (i.e., the corrupt politics) and that if the latter cannot happen, then Lebanon may cease to be a state. At the same time, he sees possible silver linings in the disaster.

Nasrallah mentioned the oil and gas that was coming to Lebanon from Iraq via Syria (a major development), still mentions about ‘looking eastward’ as in China and Iran, reaffirmed that the Resistance was more powerful than ever (at least militarily, meaning Lebanon is militarily secure), spoke of expressing unity and compassion to all sectors of Lebanese society and said that Hezbollah stands with every sector of the Lebanese people, regardless. He thus diffused the pressure away from Hezbollah and laid it squarely at the feet of the officials who allowed the event to happen and even enabled it.

In a nutshell, then, the Western powers will seek to keep Lebanon divided and the old sectarian system in place. The nation itself is divided as to whether or not to ‘look east’. There are those sectors of the society who have benefitted handsomely from Western cash and support, especially from the US and France (hence Macron’s visit). There are others who would rather live without electricity than to upset the Western powers. And then, there are those more progressive sectors who would say, “Well, the West has only made us weak and fractured our society. Why not look to the East?” We can already see the start of a proxy ‘cold war’ being seeded in Lebanon.

There is talk now of possible IMF loans to help with the disaster. The one thing Lebanon needs to avoid is another handout of a loan, which would only be poured into the existing system and not go where it is needed. Talks with the IMF as late as the latter part of July this year broke down for that very reason. Turkey has offered to help rebuild the port, this at a time when Turkey’s economy is failing badly and Erdogan is plying his ambitions as the new Sultan. The Turks have offered the use of the Turkish port of Mersin in the interim. Sections of Lebanon’s population have good relations with the Turks, others not. But the Turks are sending food, medical help and supplies.

Now, on top of everything else, a massive fire is sweeping through the mountains to the northeast of Beirut in the Jabal Mashgarah area. Those mountains are the home of the famous Lebanon cedar, which features on the national flag. I have heard it said that bad things happen in threes. Let’s hope this fire is the last of the three, not to be flippant.

Lebanon faces a very uncertain future. It needs all the support it can get at the moment. It also needs change at the top in a big way, and everyone knows it. The elites are doing all they can to avoid it. Revolution is coming to Lebanon, covered here in the near future. For now, let the arrests continue, the resignations of politicians proceed, and may the people heal quickly and then rethink their politics. Beirut may then resume its nickname of ‘Paris of the Middle East’. It may even want to choose another more suitable nickname, given the French involvement with its founding and politics and the current state of Paris itself.

Featured pic from Voice of Media

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