In Beirut

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Some of you have shown an interest in the explosion in Beirut. I was not there, I was in Latin America. However, let’s discuss it.

The Beirut explosion transposed over a map of Chicago if the bomb were to have gone off at Navy Pier. Really puts things into perspective.

Hezbollah Arsenal




Lebanon’s President, Michel Aoun, blamed the detonation on 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that he said had been stored unsafely at  Warehouse 12 in the port. What else was in Warehouse 12? And at Warehouse 10…At this point, whatever was there was vaporized.

Iran has suffered a number of fires and explosions at its nuclear fuel processing facilities over the past couple of months. The fire, that led to a partial evacuation of the docks, which then went high-order and destroyed the area may be part of the same series of unfortunate accidents. Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy.

Ammonium nitrate, mixed with fuel oil and initiated with something like plastic explosive has been responsible for a lot of damage around the world. It’s the go-to improvised explosive device of choice for poor people who want something to go high-order. It’s what Timothy McVeigh used when he carried out the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others, and destroyed one third of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. And it was driven to the destination in a small truck. Low tech and effective.

I suggest that you take the fire and the high order detonation separately rather than portions of the same continuing event. The fire started. Then the roof of Warehouse 12 was seen to be burning at about 18:00 (15:00 GMT).  There was a large initial explosion, followed by a series of smaller blasts that some witnesses said sounded like fireworks going off. About 30 seconds later, there was a colossal explosion that sent a mushroom cloud into the air and a supersonic blast wave radiating through the city.


19 thoughts on “In Beirut

  1. The videos are very interesting to watch. One actually showed the initiating explosion that set off the Ammonium Nitrate explosion.

    Really makes you wonder exactly what was in that building, especially with Hezbollah recently stating they were going to AMFO some if Israel’s ports.

    And on top of all these shenanigans, the attacks on mil-facilities in Iran and now Beirut, a number of muslim terrorist states have had fires and explosions in food processing facilities, food marts, food storage facilities and on farms. Someone is attacking the food supplies of these countries.

    Makes you wonder what the heck is going on that we don’t know.

    1. Beirut in specific and Lebanon in general, provided a haven for Hezbollah. Maybe they’ll rethink the strategy?

  2. Just some quick number crunching: 2,750 tons equals about 5,000,000 lbs.
    Fertilizer weighs 107 lbs cubic foot.
    I think a 5gal bucket is 70lbs, so it is heavy.
    That would be a pile less than 40′ x 40′ x 40′.
    That is a tiny area on the map picture. That amount might enough to fertilize 100,000 acres of crops?
    Anyway such a small package compared to the scale of damage.

    1. it wasn’t fertilizer. it was ammonium nitrate prills especially for the mining industry, supposedly heading to Mozambique on a russian freighter that had problems. i’ll leave it up to you to figure out why they kept it for seven years, or why they stored 85% of their grain in one place, or….

  3. Seems the Lebanese President is blaming a faulty Russian ship. Since the ship was vaporized, whose to say he is wrong?

    Allah must be displeased with Iran given all the fires and explosions in their country and their interests in other parts of the Middle East. Wonder whose hands are doing his work?

  4. The ship has been gone for years. It was stored in a warehouse on the pier, and the port authority had been trying to get it moved/disposed of since 2014. One source says there was also a ‘quantity’ of confiscated fireworks also stored there.

    1. ANFO is a useful weapon because it’s stable until you initiate the detonation. Often it’s delivered in a regular fuel truck of the sort that might deliver gasoline to your local gas station. Because it goes high order, there is a great deal of bresance (shattering effect) to the explosion and concrete comes apart. I’m surprised that the grain elevators were still standing. Who would have figured that.

      1. Empty, the grain elevators would be gone. But grain can serve as an amazing shock absorbing material, much like dirt in a backstop reacting better than cinder blocks. You can see the wall of grain that spilled out of the now open elevators in some of the pictures.

        I wonder if the grain is ruined from whatever toxic substances got splashed on it by the explosion.

        And, well, if the elevators were only partially full and not really clean, the cookoff of a grain elevator explosion would have just been icing on the boom-cake of doom. Grain dust explosions, heck, fine flammable powder explosions (like from sawdust and cotton lint) are powerful to behold, from a distance, with no skin in the game (like owning said elevator or silo.)

        1. I can’t say for a fact, but I’d think that what grain there was (that absorbed the energy) would look more like talc now. And I’m not a baker, but the problem will be that the material that was ‘grain’ is now open to the elements and is blended with the material that will have spalled off the structure. I wouldn’t eat it.

  5. re: being in Latin America…my wife snickered and said “yeah, sure he was”….

  6. Seems like everybody is taking what the Lebanese “authorities” are saying, about stored ammonium nitrate, at face value. This ignores the 8oo pound gorilla sitting in the corner. His/her name is Hezbollah. An organization with a well established record of keeping large quantities of rockets, mines, ammunition, and various other types of explosive ordnance, in heavily populated urban areas.

    1. I saw a post, now deleted, saying Hezbollah had a rocket-assembly plant near the grain silo.
      It was very generous of Lebanon to gift Hezbollah all that explosive – I wonder when/if they’ll admit involvement?
      Most civilized countries site (all types of) powder mills and explosive depots well away from civilians. There must be some complicit & now very worried Lebanese awaiting a knock on the door (if they still have a door).

      1. Yeah, it was their arsenal, right on the dock so that weapons could be unloaded. And the supply of ammonium nitrate was there for a reason. Neither the weapons (so-called ‘fireworks’) or the ammonium exist anymore. And maybe Lebanon has learned a lesson about who their friends are.

        As an aside, the Saudis rebuilt Beirut, spending billions to repair the war-torn portions of the city. Now the industrial portion of the port is completely flat or wrecked. The loss of the warehouses (many of those standing will have to be torn down) and their contents will put a big hurt on Lebanon, and don’t look for the loving Mullahs from Iran to fund the reconstruction.

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