Friday, August 18, 2006

Hizbollah hands out cash for Lebanese war victims

Should I say where the money comes from or is it stating the obvious? While many survivors of the 2003 Bam earthquake in Iran are still living in tents, mullahs are giving away millions of dollars of Iran's oil revenue to their puppet in Lebanon to buy him support and eventually votes. This, while Major Arab countries and the US have already pledged enough money for Lebanon's reconstruction. Tom Friedman raises the same points today in NY Times which I'll feature in my next post.

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hizbollah handed out bundles of cash on Friday to people whose homes were wrecked by Israeli bombing, consolidating the Iranian-backed group's support among Lebanon's Shi'ites and embarrassing the Beirut government.

"This is a very, very reasonable amount. It is not small," said Ayman Jaber, 27, holding a wad he had just picked up from Hizbollah of $12,000 in banknotes wrapped in tissue.

Israeli and U.S. officials have voiced concern that Hizbollah will entrench its popularity by moving fast -- with Iranian money -- to help people whose homes were destroyed or damaged in the 34-day conflict with Israel.

Hizbollah has not said where the funds are coming from to compensate people for an estimated 15,000 destroyed homes. The scheme appears likely to cost at least $150 million. The Lebanese government has yet to launch anything similar.