Weekly Geopolitical Report – An Inflection Point in Lebanon (August 17, 2020)

by Bill O’Grady | PDF

On the afternoon of August 4, there was a massive explosion at the Port of Beirut.  The explosion was one of the largest non-nuclear blasts in history, a seismic event with a magnitude of 3.3 on the Richter scale.  At latest count, 220 have been confirmed dead, 110 are missing, and over 6,000 were injured.

The Middle East is undergoing significant change.  The U.S. is clearly reducing its footprint, leading nations within and outside the region to adapt.  The explosion occurred amid this evolving environment and it has the potential to be a catalyst to accelerate changes.

In this report, we will begin by detailing the event, followed by an examination of Lebanon’s political and economic backdrop to frame how these conditions contributed to the accident.  The third section will discuss the U.S. withdrawal and the scramble by players both inside and outside the region to gain control or protect their interests.  This discussion includes a look at the states affected by the machinations of others.  As always, we conclude with market ramifications.

Read the full report