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Monday, November 20, 2006 

EXCLUSIVE: Is Hariri being investigated in a major international corruption scandal

The Swiss government says a "prominent Lebanese politician and a wealthy Syrian businessman" (possibly Khaddam) with close links to the Saudi regime are being investigated by the Swiss and British authorities.

Hariri (or someone close to him) and the Syrian are alleged to have acted as middlemen between Britain's biggest arms company BAE Systems and the Saudis. It involves a $200 million deal to buy warplanes for Saudi. The deal over the past three years is thought to have been riddled with bribes.

Access to the two men's Swiss bank accounts is being sought by Britain's Serious Fraud Office and their money is likely to be frozen. The two men have already launched an appeal. Two days ago, Saudi Arabia threatened to break diplomatic ties with Britain unless the investigation is dropped.

It comes at an embarrasing time for the March 14 movement and their Saudi backers. Their government is on the brink of collapse, and the opposition called massive public demonstrations yesterday.

As the Americans say:

"Pass the popcorn."

Also with your permission may I blog tout?

Abdulbari Atwan offers his thoughts on the sudden, friendly Syrian involvement in Iraq, and where he thinks it fits in the evolving drama of American regional defeat. The opening paragraph of "Badger's" latest posting. He's doing good solid work and isn't a "pundit" I particularly like how when he doesn't know something he says so. I also like how he does his best (successfully I think) to make analogies that North Americans will understand. You might like to keep an eye on his work.

Finally thanks! You've saved me doing a blogpost on this. I'll just doff my "lovely blue beret" ;-) and point people here later on tonight when I'm doing my postings.

Gemyel was assasinated ,Jumblat predected that , i think he did it to prevent a collaps of the goverment.

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