Monday, November 19, 2007

Hezbollah Rebuilds South Beirut

by Bassem Mroue from The Associated Press

The muslim militant group Hezbollah has launched a massive project to rebuild south Beirut, devastated in last year's war with Israel - and it's paying for much of the construction with international donor funds that were meant to strengthen its top rival, the Lebanese government. Western-backed Prime Minister Fuad Saniora's government has been distributing the funds as compensation to families whose homes were destroyed by Israeli bombardment so they can build anew. The money going into the government's family compensation program comes mainly from Islamic and Arab nations, chief among them Saudi Arabia - a strong supporter of Saniora and opponent of Hezbollah - which has given $570 million, said Sanaa al-Jack, government spokeswoman for relief and reconstruction projects ... A Saudi Foreign Ministry official said his country has "nothing to do with how the government distributes the money." The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

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