By Stephen Bryen
No sane country puts vast stores of explosives in the center of their capital city. Now it is true that some fools in Tehran store nuclear materials underground in their capital; likewise it is true that the terrorist Hamas that runs Gaza put missile launching sites in mosques, schools and apartment buildings –making them into hostages to Israeli retaliation. But no sane political leader would risk an entire city the way Lebanon has just done.
In fact there is no one to blame except Lebanon’s worthless political leaders who have sabotaged the lives of countless of their countrymen and women. These so-called leaders are today either Hezbollah or are pushed around by Hezbollah thugs. Burying rocket manufacturing sites in urban areas, and putting them next to grain storage silos, is about as stupid and dangerous as you can get.
It is now reported that at least 60 people have been killed and hundreds wounded from the massive blast that hit Beirut, near the waterfront, on August 4th. The blast happened in broad daylight and most likely was what the Israelis cynically call a “work accident.”
The blast has been reported equivalent to 3 kilotons. The Hiroshima bomb was 15 kilotons, so the explosion in Beirut was huge.
People on the street in Beirut are reporting that people are suffering from the effects of nitric acid. The videos and photos clearly show the red color of the initial explosion.
Red fuming nitric acid (RFNA) is a storable oxidizer used as a rocket propellant. It consists of 84% nitric acid (HNO3), 13% dinitrogen tetroxide and 1–2% water. The color of red fuming nitric acid is due to the dinitrogen tetroxide, which breaks down partially to form nitrogen dioxide. The nitrogen dioxide dissolves until the liquid is saturated, and evaporates off into fumes with a suffocating odor. RFNA increases the flammability of combustible materials and is highly exothermic when reacting with water.
All of this suggests that what exploded was a missile facility and that it, in turn, set off other explosions, including nearby wheat silos. Video of the silos shows the side blown out. Explosions of grain dust probably is what was seen by the second “white” blast after the initial sequential explosions of the missile fuel.
It is unlikely we will ever get a true accounting on what happened. Hezbollah won’t permit it; the politicians will in any event run for cover and claim that it was a fireworks factory that exploded (no one ever said such a factory existed in Lebanon), and it is clear that, like in Gaza, Iran and Syria, the “people” don’t matter in the least. The Iranians, their Hezbollah stooges, and the Syrians are all on a Shiite domination crusade and could care less about public opinion or have any sentiment about killed or wounded civilians.
Meanwhile Israel has offered assistance to Lebanon, both through the Red Cross (which usually shuns Israel) and directly in the form of Israeli teams that can help find people in the rubble, a specialty that Israel has perfected and offered around the world when disasters happen. Israel also has medical supplies which it is offering, and it will open its excellent hospitals if the Lebanese need them. There is an excellent Israeli hospital in Tzfat, about 60 miles from Beirut, and an exceptional hospital in Haifa, the Rambam Medical Center which is trained to handle mass casualties.
Israel knows it is unlikely to have its aid accepted. While Arabs for years have turned a blind eye to their compatriots getting treatment in Israel and Syria has even allowed Israel to carry out sophisticated medical procedures to save children’s lives, Lebanon is different because it is run by Hezbollah and Iran.
Lebanon, as my wife has recently written
, is on its last legs economically. The Lebanese middle class, which was both prosperous and fairly numerous, can’t pay rents or buy foodstuffs. Imports into Lebanon have all but stopped (aside from Iranian missiles and guns) because there are no dollars or other hard currency. Right now Lebanon is begging China for money, but that will come at a cost and it isn’t clear that even the predatory Chinese will be interested in a sure loser.