Name? Tarek Bitar
Westphalian identity? Lebanese
Why is he in the news? Tarek Bitar is the second judge investigating those responsible for the Beirut blast of 2020 and apparently he is asking the right questions and hitting some nerves. In the past few days, former finance minister and senior lawmaker from the Shiite Amal party, Ali Hassan Khalil, has called for political escalation over an arrest warrant against him and other politicians supported by Hezbollah.
Why do we care? Because the political escalation called against judge Tarek Bitar escalated properly. At a protest against him in Beirut today, gunfire erupted between different groups killing several people and creating images similar to the 1975-1990 civil war. It is suspected that Hezbollah forces clashed with Christian Lebanese forces (closer to Bitar).
Why should you care? This comes at a horrible moment for the Lebanese population. To be frank with you, there aren’t any suitable moments in Lebanon these days, but amidst a worsening food and fuel crisis, the country is at the edge of actually drifting into an internal armed conflict. Now that we have an “incorruptible” judge like Bitar who is looking to bring justice, the costs of this might be worse than we can all imagine. You should care 8/10.
Who else cares? Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian. Last week he visited Beirut and declared that Iran aims to continue to deliver oil to the people of Lebanon on Hezbollah’s behalf. While Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati rejects any of such measures as a breach of sovereignty, Hezbollah relies on these fuel deliveries to increase its presence and importance to the Lebanese people desperate for fuel and food.
Any further comments? The protests in Beirut today show one thing to the world. There are some very strong actors who have very little interest in Bitar discovering their fault or blame in the Beirut Blast, at all costs …