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The Corrupt Political Class That Broke Lebanon

A Decaying Sectarian System Kindled Beirut’s Port Blast

The massive explosion that tore through the port of Beirut on the evening of August 4 left more than 200 people dead, 6,000 injured, and a quarter of a million homeless.

  • Mohamad Bazzi
  • Foreign Affairs

In the frenzied hours afterward, as residents of Lebanon’s capital tended to the injured and combed the rubble for survivors, many initially believed the blast to have been an act of war or terrorism.

It was a natural assumption: most Lebanese have far more experience with air strikes and car bombings than with industrial disasters.

The consensus that the explosion was, in fact, an accident—likely caused by a…

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