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Is Hezbollah losing influence in Lebanon? Kim Ghattas on Lebanese divisions & unity

Some of the worst sectarian clashes since Lebanon's 15-year civil war (1975-1990) broke out in Beirut this week between supporters of Hezbollah and Amal, both Shiite political parties, and Christian, far-right Lebanese Forces. Shiite protesters were rallying against the state probe into the Beirut port blast, which occurred last year. They say authorities were singling out Shiite politicians for questioning and blame. In this video, watch Ian Bremmer's conversation with Lebanese journalist and author Kim Ghattas on GZW talking about the future of Lebanese politics and sectarianism in the county after the after the blast. It was originally published on August 19, 2020.

In Lebanon, "a majority (are) united in wanting a different future, a future that is non-sectarian, that is non-corrupt, that provides prosperity, justice, dignity for people," journalist Kim Ghattas told Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

In this interview, Ghattas discusses the opportunity that could arise from the tragedy of the Beirut explosion which killed 200 and injured thousands more. The Lebanese are "fed up" with the militant group Hezbollah, she tells Bremmer, and want to strive for a government that better resembles the diversity and cosmopolitan nature of its citizens.

Watch the GZERO World episode: Lebanon Post-Blast: Rage in the Streets of Beirut.

What's next for Lebanon?

Some of the worst sectarian clashes since Lebanon's 15-year civil war (1975-1990) broke out in Beirut this week between supporters of Hezbollah and Amal, both Shiite political parties, and Christian, far-right Lebanese Forces. Shiite protesters were rallying against the state probe into the Beirut port blast, which occurred last year. They say authorities were singling out Shiite politicians for questioning and blame. Below is our original piece on the Beirut port explosions published on August 5, 2020.


The twin explosions at Beirut's port on Tuesday were so powerful that the aftershocks reverberated as far as the Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus, 150 miles away. The specter of fire and smoke was such that many suggested on social media that Beirut had experienced a nuclear blast.

In the days ahead, more details will come to light about why a deadly cache of materials was haphazardly stashed at a port warehouse, and why Lebanon's government failed to secure the site. So, what comes next for crisis-ridden Lebanon?

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Hezbollah’s dwindling reputation

"Here is Lebanon, not Iran," Lebanese chanted last October, when widespread protests calling for reform of Lebanon's dysfunctional sectarian power-sharing system broke out across the country. It was a war cry meant to expose the destructive role of Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Shiite group, in Lebanese politics in recent years.

Now, recent events — including the deadly explosion at a Beirut port earlier this month that killed at least 200 people and wounded thousands, as well as the country's economic tailspin — have again shined a spotlight on the role of Hezbollah within Lebanese politics and society.

What is Hezbollah, and why does it matter?

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Lebanon post-blast: rage in the streets of Beirut

It was a blast heard around the world, an explosion so big it literally sent shockwaves through the streets of Beirut. More than 200 were killed, thousands injured, and hundreds of thousands left homeless. On this episode of GZERO World, Ian Bremmer examines the aftermath and fallout of the catastrophe in Lebanon, a nation that was already aflame in political turmoil. Ian Bremmer talks to acclaimed journalist Kim Ghattas, author of Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East, about the road ahead for Lebanon and how this moment could impact the region.

Deadly Beirut explosion: a first-hand account from a Lebanese journalist

Just days after an explosion tore through the heart of Beirut on August 4, journalist and born-and-raised resident Kim Ghattas described where she was when the blast happened, some of the unanswered questions - and what she thinks was the cause.

This episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer begins airing Friday, August 14 on US public television. Check local listings.

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