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The Beirut Disaster: Implications for Lebanon and US Policy

The Beirut Disaster: Implications for Lebanon and US Policy

Date and time: August 13, 2020, 12 noon Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4)

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This week’s massive explosion destroyed half of Lebanon’s capital, but it also drew more attention to the country’s deeply corrupt and crumbling political system, which the Lebanese people have been calling to reform since October. That is why French President Emmanuel Macron spoke of “a new political pact” for Lebanon when he visited the disaster zone; likewise, the people are calling for an international investigation and accountability in addition to humanitarian assistance. What does all this mean for Lebanon, and what implications does it hold for US policy? To discuss potential scenarios in the coming weeks and months, The Washington Institute is pleased to announce a virtual Policy Forum with Saleh Machnouk (who will be joining the event from Beirut), Hanin Ghaddar, Matthew Levitt, and Charles Thepaut.

Saleh Machnouk is a columnist at the Lebanese daily An-Nahar and a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Cambridge, focusing on state-building and third-party interventions in ethnically divided countries.

Hanin Ghaddar, the Friedmann Fellow at The Washington Institute, formerly worked as managing editor of Lebanon’s NOW news site and as a journalist with the newspapers Al-Safir, An-Nahar, and Al-Hayat.

Matthew Levitt is the Institute’s Fromer-Wexler Fellow, director of its Reinhard Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, and creator of its newly released Hezbollah Select Worldwide Activity Interactive Map.

Charles Thepaut is a resident visiting fellow at the Institute and a French career diplomat. He has worked for several European institutions in France, Algeria, Belgium, Germany, Iraq, and Syria.

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