My Mideast Punchlines: The Men from UNCLE…

The official report of the Lebanese authorities on the massive August 4 explosion at the Port of Beirut is that a warehouse near the water containing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded. They claim that this material had been in the warehouse for over six years, with the approval of the court, and confirmed this claim with documentation.

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“Uncle” Hassan Nasrallah was far too quick on the draw — and, this time, he wasn’t blaming Israel. Less than an hour after the explosions, Hezbollah announced that the exploded material was ammonium nitrate. Hezbollah was the first to report it. The reason: Hezbollah was looking for a way to cover up its own negligence and establish an official version that deflected attention away from itself, because no one in the government would dare contradict them.

There was a series of at least three explosions, each of which had a different result. The first created a grey column of smoke that remained for several minutes. The second, a column of red smoke, also remained for several minutes, while the third created a white mushroom cloud that dissipated within seconds. This suggests that at least three different materials were stored in that warehouse (see video).

Anyone familiar with how a port operates knows that the front row of warehouses, which are closest to the water, are used for short-term storage. Cargo that is meant to be stored long-term is moved to warehouses further away from the water.

Anyone who ships sensitive cargo and does not want it to be seen, photographed, or targeted by others from air, space, or ground tries to hide it as close as possible to the water. The warehouse that exploded was on the water’s edge.

Uncle Hassan got fed up with Israel attacking arms shipments from Iran at Damascus airport, and so he decided that it would be better to store them where Israel would not attack because of the close proximity to residential areas. He didn’t reckon on the volatile mix taking on a life of its own. The Men from UNCLE had followed their leader’s orders, so don’t be surprised to see Hassan Nasrallah either step aside from the leadership, or be retired with extreme prejudice.

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