The Sayyed …

“You know, they used to bring billions of dollars and to distribute them among themselves. We were even accused by some analysts, politicians, and observers of naivety and lack of political experience. They said that Hezbollah knows how to fight, but it does not know how to work in politics. This is because we did not know how to steal, and we still do not know how to steal.”


26 Replies to “The Sayyed …”

  1. seriously? i mean you must be joking. if not this is freakin hilarious!
    so what do you call the millions -if not billions- of dollars he got from iran last summer to distribute among the chiia population? legitimate?

  2. no chilling.

    First of all, the word “legitimate” has not been used by anyone. I love these loaded terms that don’t mean anything except what the utterer of the word wants it to mean.

    Second, what is the problem with getting money from Iran? Also, when Hizb gets money from Iran it goes to the people, infrastructure etc. and not one penny to officials. whereas, when “international” aid comes, where does the money go? How did pax-syriana Hariri reconstruction happened? how are they ‘rebuilding’ today?

    And so many other considerations…

  3. FYI: the counter thingy suggests our posts are being fed into various locales, hence our new “friends.”

  4. bech, my dear bech,

    “when Hizb gets money from Iran it goes to the people, infrastructure etc. and not one penny to officials.”
    with all due respect, this is enough for me to know that you have no clue what really goes on in lebanese politics. in fact i wouldnt be surprized if u said that the hizb was god-sent.

    ur comments were enough to point out that i wasnt welcome here. but hey, no hard feelings eh? however, keep up the interesting -although sometimes hilarious- work. and i’ll make sure to keep my comments to myself:)

  5. Ramzi,

    I have repeatedly said that you are most welcome here. If you choose not to believe me, that is, well, your choice.

  6. Addendum:


    I agree with your point, somewhat, but do you seriously wish to contend that Hizbullah is as corrupt as other Lebanese parties?

    You are right, though, that Iranian funds have, to an unknown extent subsidized the “cleanliness” of their hands.

  7. one thing is for sure that diverse banks owned by diverse Lebanese actors, made huge money on government bonds. at interest of any were between 14 and 38 percent.
    it is also know that a number of people owning construction companies made huge amounts on highways/ sports stadium etc.
    the big one wasnt in that sense stolen it was channeled very wisely. (and sometimes at rather high rates).
    And it is also true that were state institutions are absent in the south hisbollah is providing good services. (not saying that hisbollah doesnt profit from this, but that profit pays in loyalty rather then in material goods)
    as food for thought…..

  8. apokraphyte,

    imho i beleive being corrupt cannot be quantified. one is either corrupt or not. therefore, all those thugs ranging from hariri to hezbollah, passing by aoun and samir geagea are all in the same basket.

  9. Ramzi,

    To hold that it is not quantifiable is not sustainable. Have you ever incurred a debt or issued a loan? If you have, you know such things are quantifiable in the extreme.

  10. Also Ramzi,

    Please appreciate that I am working through problems on this blog, not providing definitive answers. I offer my incoherence as exhibit A in my defense.

  11. for the record:
    30 billion in debt from interest.
    deduced as follows:
    Total debt + Total gov. revenue – total gov expenditure without interest payments= Total debt from interest payments.
    Source: Georges Qorm.

    high interest rates because of supposedly high risk. despite declared government and Central Bank policy of inflation reduction/stabilization (and on a number of occasions very active Cb support for the pound).

    but you are right that is not by definition corruption. I think some call this odious debt.
    more like very legal exploitation.

    well the money was used to reconstruct the country. the guys who own the banks also own the construction companies. (that is just by the way). and then there was indeed also a couple of very expensive highways, oil deals/trade etc.

    while not to be pin pointed a guess one could get rather interesting estimates.

    Oh and bech:
    they are not rebuilding today :).

  12. Ramzi,

    you speak by uttering negative statements but you don’t make a point. First what do you mean by corruption, because there is a very simple definition of it: “the use of public resources for private benefit”.

    In this case, Hizbullah is not corrupt are at least is way less corrupt than other parties. This can be seen by their practices since their early days till today. Things may change now that they take part in the government, but for now from what I have observed there are no corruptive practices to signal.

    Winston Smith, all the examples you gave are exactly what Hariri and co. did. Hizbullah did not siphon off money in the south for the simple reason that nobody made this case. Even those who oppose Hizbullah cannot hold a straight face and accuse them of doing so (and thus nobody ever did it).

    Forget about the debt. commission gained on infrastructural plans are huge. Anyone working for the state would tell you they did. I worked at the ministry of economy and I heard many concrete examples of companies related to Hariri that made a killing out of this stuff. And Berri, etc.

    Never did I hear stories on the Hizb. And nobody enemy or ally did raise such concerns.

    Also, friends, I think Nasrallah would not bark they Hizb is not corrupt if he did not think nobody can reproach him the contrary. They are genuinely proud of this. They try to make this point everytime and it is true that whatever you think of this party, and how much you can demonize him it is something that sets him apart from the rest.

    And Ramzi, don’t play the persecuted your comments have always sparked the most interesting conversations. Don’t disappear once more for another year.

    And yes WS, the government is not rebuilding anything. Read what happened after Wa3d assessed the state of affairs in the Suburbs.

  13. bech

    yes the commission were gigantic. but so were the interest on the debts initially at least. some 40 -45 billion debt if 30 are from interest (and to be generous only 10 billion represent the inflated interests). There remain 15 that were invested into something or other, spent on salaries. there is more than enough room for corruption but i think it does not compare to what people made through banks.

    i think they both work together it is the same people that make money on inflated interest rated and the construction companies. Lebanon is like a big corporation for some.

    and i agree with you about the sayyed.

    What happend to the Wa3d and where would i read it?

  14. Yes it is a fact that the pious ones are less corrupt then say other players in lebanese politics,if by defenition,we limit corruption,to the theft of property,ie skimming funds.But if corruption was to encompass,all that is taken unjustly,ie intellectual property among a few examples…Hizbollah would be guilty of the greatest corruption of all….Just another thing how about instead of rockets and missiles,that target the innocent in Haifa,target his forgotten poeple with education instead of anti this anti that rhetoric.

  15. oh and bech you are right theri is more in corruption as i forgot to consider that on top of the debt there was also governmetn revenue that was spent on all kinds of stuff.

    would still like to know what it is that you are referring to with the Wa3d project

  16. WS, of course the debt and everything tangential to it is the biggest fraud every made in Lebanon, let alone in any ‘developing’ country as an economist would call it. I was just putting the debt issue aside and pointing out more ‘benign’ day-to-day corruptive practices. There are much more such as the management of EDL, the monopolistic structures in the Lebanese market made possible because the same people holding these companies are in power, etc.

    As for Wa3d, do you read arabic?

  17. myself not very well to not. but i can arrange. is this a new development since Thursday?
    send link or so anyway.


  18. And an important aspect of the debt in Lebanon though is that most of it is internal debt. Where as in most of the other developing countries it is external debt mediated through IMF etc. Lebanon is only just now moving in this direction.
    Which by the way is everything but promising.

  19. Yes, I have always felt that if there was any justification for describing Lebanon as a “special” case, it is the debt structure, specifically the internal holdings. Unfortunately, bech will beat me up if I try and explain how this plays out in terms of the country’s political psychology … 🙂

  20. It is exactly what i meant by “the biggest fraud”. These fuckers enriched themselves between themselves. it’s not some big demon like the IMF, the WB or some ‘capitalist donor’. It’s simply Lebanese. Always Lebanese…

    I’ll get back to you on Wa3d soon.

  21. One other thing to keep in mind, Lebanon issued these bonds even though most government agencies did not face a liquidity crisis of any sort — hence the mantra of “reconstruction.” Now while it is cathartic to castigate the “fuckers” that benefitted, one should not ignore the extent to which this largesse allowed the zaouma to redirect their flocks toward the state (of course, they remained the gatekeepers in this relationship). In one sense, the civil war did not properly end, but was rather put on ice and the debt is in some ways the cost of that freezing process.

    It is not for nothing that the only thing M14 tried to do was make it to Paris again. As m. pointed out earlier, the current crisis may suggest that absent a new cold injection, Taif’s center may melt away.

  22. absolutely so. again your sharp wit strikes.

    and what we are seeing today … is the thawing…. of the frozen past.
    But more importantly i think there have been some rearrangements to the channels thru which the flu shots are administered. M14 cutting out M8 (and not only them) there is a certain coercive logic to debt.

    and now let us infuse the conversation with a note of optimism please…

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