Lebanon: Anniversary of the explosion in Beirut (August 4)

Support for French initiative needed – for a peaceful coexistence of the different religious communities (Press Release)

On the occasion of the catastrophic explosion in Beirut one year ago, the Society for Threatened Peoples sent an appeal to the German Federal Government, asking for support for an initiative by the French president Emmanuel Macron aiming to provide support for Lebanon. "In Lebanon, the different religious communities – Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Christians, Druze, and other population groups – live together peacefully and share the political power, which is very rare in the Middle East. If this is to stay that way, Lebanon will need comprehensive economic and political support from the democratic states of Europe," stated Dr. Kamal Sido, Middle East Consultant of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), in Göttingen on Wednesday. Further, hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria have found refuge in Lebanon. The human rights advocate warned that – if the political and economic situation in their country of refuge were to deteriorate further – they would probably try to get to Germany and/or the other countries of Western Europe.

According to Sido, the influence of the Shiite regime in Iran and the Sunni regime in Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdogan is dangerous for Lebanon. "The examples of Iraq and Syria have shown that the Iranian Mullahs and the despot Erdogan will try to use every power vacuum to intervene with the internal affairs of the neighboring states and to try and destabilize them." The massive involvement of radical Sunni and Shiite militias has led to proxy wars that are carried out on the backs of the civilian population – and non-Muslim population groups are driven out of the region permanently. Unless the right countermeasures are taken, this will most probably also happen to the people in Lebanon.

"Over the last few years, Macron had repeatedly found clear words in the direction of Erdogan and the Mullahs in Iran," Sido said. "Chancellor Angela Merkel should finally join this political course too, if she really wants to advocate for religious freedom and a peaceful coexistence in the Middle East." On August 4, 2020, hundreds of tons ammonium nitrate had exploded in a warehouse in the port of Beirut. At least 200 people were killed, and large parts of the port and parts of the city were destroyed.