Muhammad Sadeq Al-Hashimi, the Head of the Iraqi Center for Strategic Studies, said in an August 5, 2020 interview on Ahd TV (Iraq) that the recent Beirut port explosion was an attempt on Israel's part to send a message that it can "restore the balance of power in the region." Comparing the blast to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Al-Hashimi said that Israel wants to show its allies in the Gulf that it is stronger than Iran and its proxies, and that it will not tolerate Iran's attempts to export the "resistance." He said that Israel is targeting Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, and that that the Beirut port explosion, along with the January assassinations of IRGC General Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi PMU Deputy Leader Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, are a part of an Israeli plan to start a world war.
Following are excerpts:
Muhammad Sadeq Al-Hashemi: "Israel wanted to send a message [with the Beirut port blast] that it can restore the balance of power in the region. It wanted to tell its allies in the Gulf that they are suffering from a crisis that is a result of the victory of the other axis in the Gulf, which is Iran and its offshoots in the region. [Israel was saying] that it can carry out a Hiroshima-style strike that will restore balance to the region. Israel also wanted to send the message that it will not stand idly by if somebody says that they will extend the resistance from the heart of Tehran to Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. Israel will not stand idly by. In addition, [Israel is saying] that the 'silk road' will not continue if Iran wants to be the source [of the resistance] and export it to Iraq, and prepare the Beirut port for it... [Israel is saying] that this, too, is impossible. It wanted to put Hizbullah in a Hiroshima- and Nagasaki-like situation, like [when] Japan was forced to surrender. That is, it wants to push Hizbulla in Lebanon to surrender.
"I believe that the blood being spilled by Israel will cause instability in the region, and the consequences will be significant. Much blood will be spilled because of Israel. This will also happen because the U.N. and the Security Council have failed to defend the weak or punish the arrogant, and it [stood by] as these crimes took place and are still taking place. [As a result,] Syria has been burned down completely. It is finished.
"Israel is no longer playing war games. Not at all. After the resistance and its weapons reached the depths of Israel, and after being hit by 700 of Hamas' missiles, and after Hizbullah has won all of Israel's wars in Lebanon, there is no chance that Israel will sit silently and that the Gulf will be weaker than Iran. It must think about the war that will break out one of these days, even though it cannot manage such a war. [Israel] must think how to strike in a way that is crushing and destructive. The first strike of 2020 was the [killing] of Hajj [Qasem] Soleimani, which is worth 20 Hiroshimas to the U.S. and Israel. Since then, it has become more daring, since it feels like it cannot back down, and it is now targeting Sayyed Nasrallah himself. Since they haven't managed to kill him, they attacked Beirut in a fashion that will affect Sayyed Nasrallah. At the very least, Nasrallah is now standing before a nation that is being slaughtered, and it is obvious that he will require a lot of funds to bring the nation to its feet. So [Israel] assassinated Hajj Soleimani and the martyr Hajj Abu Mahdi (Al-Muhandis), and it has now attacked Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to cause pain and special circumstances for him and for Hizbullah in Lebanon. This is Israel's plan. It is a sign that Israel is no longer playing war games, and that it is entering the phase of [starting] a world war."