Ahmadinejad and Murdoch

So he didn’t go to the Park of Iran and didn’t throw a stone over the border after all: ‘Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ended a two-day visit to Lebanon by meeting with Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. The overnight meeting took place at the Iranian embassy in Beirut’s Bir Hasan neighborhood. Nasrallah proudly presented to Ahmadinejad an Israeli rifle seized during the 2006 Israel-Hizbullah war.(…) Before the late Thursday meeting with Nasrallah, Ahmadinejad predicted the demise of arch-foe Israel from Bint Jbeil, Hizbullah’s bastion in south Lebanon, only four kilometers (2 miles) from the Jewish state. “The whole world knows that the Zionists are going to disappear,” he said to thunderous applause before a frenzied crowd in Bint Jbeil. “The occupying Zionists today have no choice but to accept reality and return to their countries of origin,” he added.’

In another interesting development, a Lebanese court has just issued an indictment in the long running case over the ownership of the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), originally the mouthpiece TV station of the Lebanese Forces. The judge indicted ‘[LBC’s] chairman Pierre Daher, members of the board and the affiliated companies on charges of embezzlement and fraud. The indictment noted that Daher as LBC’s chairman was entrusted with shares that are actually owned by the LF. Daher moved the assets and shares of the television, sold its films archive and increased the capital without his personal financial contribution, in addition to bringing new shareholders and establishing affiliated companies, said the indictment, adding that Daher has procrastinated in returning the assets to the owners despite the legal warnings, which is considered a crime of embezzlement. The judge sought three years in prison for Daher on the aforementioned charges.’ Board member Raif al-Bustani and several LBC-affiliated companies were also indicted. Judge Aneisi referred the indicted individuals to Beirut’s criminal judge who is supposed to set a date for trial.’ It is useful to remember that the ‘new shareholders’  include Saudi prince Walid bin Talal and Rupert Murdoch and that the ‘affiliated companies’ mentioned are Kingdom Holdings and Newscorp. To be continued…

On a side note, the International Crisis Group has released a new report on Lebanon called: ‘New crisis, old demons: the forgotten lessons of Bab-Tebbaneh/Jabal Mohsen’, in which it is argued that the state of tensions between these two dirt-poor neighbourhoods of Tripoli (one sunni, one alawi) serves as a barometre for Lebanon’s general state of affairs. A rather academic-analytic argument, but not without its merits. Incidentally, for some strange reason, my own posts on the matter (here and here, written when there was an actual low-grade urban war going on between the factions back in June 2008, and the related ‘Halba in Akkar’ here) are perennial favourites which keep gathering hits for the blog. So maybe other people have drawn the same conclusion too. At some point, I plan to write a post on the ‘greatest hits’ on this blog and the most common search terms used to find it. I can already reveal that ‘Hassan Nasrallah and Haifa Wehbe’ and ‘King Abdullah and Hind Hariri’ are among the high scores…


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