The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

How Lebanon works, cont.

From the State Dept. via Wikileaks via FLC:

12. (S) The Saudis had come through with a USD 10 million cash injection to Jumblatt himself three months ago, he told us openly. Jumblatt, who employs a legion of retainers and security personnel and is obligated by his quasi-feudal position in Druze society not only to spread cash around but to outdo the patronage of his Druze rivals, had nearly run out of money in mid-late 2006. The new Saudi money, he said, would last him for "a couple of years only." (Comment: The revelation that Jumblatt had just received a cash lifeline might explain a number of observations about his recent behavior. Not only had he seemed calmer and more confident in the last few months but bolder, assailing Hizballah in public with allegations of involvement in Rafiq Hariri's assassination and the attempt on Marwan Hamadeh's life. Jumblatt told us in earlier meetings that Rafiq Hariri used to give him about $3 million a year to keep Druse loyalty on his side. End Comment.) Jumblatt said that he would visit Saudi Arabia following the Prime Minister's next visit.

The more I know about the sordid details of Middle Eastern politics the more I wonder if, ultimately, politics everywhere is the same. It's just that here we get the raw, unfiltered version.