Ahmad el Assir’s Money Sources

I recently read an article about the financial means of Sunni extremist cleric Ahmad el Assir. After all, those weapons (that he doesn’t have) and the growing support he is garnering are not coming out of nowhere, despite his support arguably remaining very minimal across Lebanon, even among Sunnis despite what many want you to believe.

The article in question talks about where Mr. Al Assir is getting his money and the list is the following:

  • Qatar with input reaching the hundreds of thousands of dollars, through Beirut’s international airport and under the coverage of a member in the Lebanese cabinet. I want to know who.
  • Fadel Shaker. I regret buying that sporadic album I gave my mom on Mother’s Day way back when Fadel Shaker filmed music videos about love and with women.
  • Rashed Shaaban, owner of “Amir Rashed” restaurant and the uncle of one of the Islamists apprehended as a suspect in the assassination of Francois el Hajj.
  • The infamous “Kaak Abou Arab” shops.
  • Shawarma Abu Bahij in Saida
  • There are other sources which you can check at the link but these are the ones that seem familiar to me.

    Ahmad el Assir’s phenomenon isn’t “unusual” given the current situation in Lebanon. It doesn’t mean that this phenomenon is acceptable and I, for one, won’t support it in any way, even indirectly.

    That’s not to say those that those Al Assir speaks out against are better. They’re more dangerous than what he will ever become and he’s an irrelevant entity in comparison. But isn’t that how they all begin?

    I can’t do anything about Qatar. They have so much money they’re about to start using it as toilet paper. But I can stop going to Kaak Abou Arab and do what I can, 1000LL at a time.

    Al Jazeera’s Maronite Patriarch Caricature

    Taking a cue from Saudi Newspaper Al Watan (click here), Al Jazeera decided to tackle the Patriarch’s visit to Syria in their own way. If you thought the Saudi caricature was bad, this one is even worse – at least the other one was decently drawn:

    Al Jazeera Patriarch CaricatureI reiterate what I said before regarding these caricatures.

    • I don’t care about the content of the caricatures: Bechara Al Raï is not a holy figure.
    • I care about the source of the caricatures – Al Watan and Al Jazeera are of the same mold.
    • If these caricatures came from a country where freedom of speech reigns supreme, I would have accepted them without any hesitation. I’d have made posters out of them.
    • These caricatures originate from countries that have no freedom of speech, next to no liberties and are only functional because of the copious amounts of oil beneath their soil.
    • The publications in such countries do not get the right to exert their freedom of speech on me when they have countless problems in their own backyard that could be discussed.
    • Seeing as these publications’ corresponding governments have supreme control over what appears in them, it wouldn’t be far fetched to assume this has also passed through the approval of relevant authorities.

    Of course, such caricatures do not warrant replies from Lebanese that – although very creative – go like this:

    Lebanon Saudi Arabia picture King Saoud Jal el Dib highway

    It’s not because we have to worry about our expats. It’s not because we have to worry about the Saudis coming for tourism. It’s simply because their low level of discourse does not even warrant the effort put into that poster.

    Now let’s await a new poster for the Qatari prince and then Qatar will definitely act out all hormonal and threaten to kick all the expats out of its land because its ego was bruised.

    Dear Fu*ked Up Arab Countries

    This is going to be short and straight to the point.

    Some Arab countries, notably those who happen to float on oil, have decided to throw expulsion threats at the Lebanese living there if anything happens to their nationals in Lebanon.

    It started with Qatar and now Kuwait seems to be following suit. Some Khalijis were even using a hashtag on Twitter recently to get the Lebanese out of their island. They make us feel so loved. “Let the Lebanese out of our countries – they abuse our riches and don’t give anything back in return” was some of what was said.

    As if they can manage to run a country to begin with. But that’s another issue altogether.

    These countries seem to forget that when their lovely nationals were busy terrorizing it up over at Nahr el Bared, killing our people and army, we didn’t throw threats at them. Sure, you could say we don’t have that leverage. But I’m fairly certain that even if the Lebanese state had the means to buy a national football team, build climatized football stadium and have an income average of more than $100,000, we wouldn’t be as narrow minded, stupid and downright xenophobic as to throw such threats around.

    A French national was also kidnapped recently in Lebanon. You don’t see the French state crying like a 5 year old girl over it. On the contrary, they keep their calm together and work towards a diplomatic solution. Simply put, they don’t turn into a PMSing mess.

    Why’s that? Because they know that one person doesn’t sum up the whole nation. I’m not sure you’re familiar with that concept though. I’m not also sure you’re familiar with the economic repercussions of the threats you’re throwing around. You think the Lebanese people will suffer for getting expelled out of your country? Perhaps for a short while. But they will manage to find jobs elsewhere – they always do. On the other hand, when your companies become short on workers, will your overly-indulgent nationals accept to work extra hours?

    I hardly think so.

    Will this be read and reach its respective audience? Obviously not. But sometimes, one has to vent and let it out against those silly countries that some Lebanese want us to love. A place that doesn’t welcome me when the going gets tough is not a place I’d want to be – not one bit.

    Conclusion of the recent days: Those Arab countries can only flex their muscles against the countries that they deem lesser than them. When it comes to biceps flexing for the “greater” causes, you see them cower away like the irrelevance that they truly are. I salute you for your riches.

    PS: Oil doesn’t last forever.

    Lebanon Loses 1 – 0 To Qatar in Football World Cup Qualifier

    I am not here to provide sports commentary. Sadly enough (or perhaps luckily enough for my nerves), I didn’t watch the game. Blame medical school exams scheduling and my very non-existent studying-time managing skills.

    Over 50,000 Lebanese gathered at the Camille Chamoun stadium in Beirut to cheer for our team. These are a few pictures of the people gathered there, with all the enthusiasm they mustered, which is actually a whole lot:

    We’re used to seeing faces painted with the flags of Italy, Germany, Brazil. But never Lebanon.

    Because it wouldn’t be a Lebanese game without some serious trolling

    (Picture by Bachir Itani.)

    For the technical rundown of the game, here’s a source you can check.

    What’s sad about the whole affair is that both teams were nowhere near an equal field when it comes to, well, everything. First, the Lebanese team was full of Lebanese who are underpaid, underfunded and do this more so for “leisure” than for credible prospects in a country where football had taken a backseat to basketball for a long, long time.

    In fact, many Lebanese were upset how none of our local TV stations was broadcasting the game. I have to ask those: where was this enthusiasm when Lebanon went through the World Cup qualifiers year after year and didn’t get anywhere? Don’t blame our “poor” TV station. Blame the monopolizing giant Al-Jazeera which doesn’t let anyone else get the rights for a football game. God forbid that happens!

    But I digress.

    On the other hand, here’s how the Qatari teams breaks down:

    “Hi. My name is Sebastian. And I am Qatari.”

    Doesn’t make sense to you? It’s not meant to. But here’s another one.

    “Hi. My name is Lawrence. And I am Qatari too.”

    When more than half of the team on the field is nationalized, what can one expect? It looks like Qatar have so much money on their hands that they simply decided to purchase a national team. Many people on Twitter, most of whom weren’t Lebanese, had this to say: “Qatar team, why you no have Qataris?”

    So very true.

    Towards the later half of the second half, based on the bits and pieces I watched, the Lebanese team looked totally run out of stamina, which has been the case in their previous games as well. Based on this, what worries me the most is not losing to Qatar, it’s Lebanon having a second game on June 8th against Uzbekistan and then another one on July 12th against South Korea, all the way in Seoul. Will our players be able to handle the severe effort those games will require, let alone the time zone difference and the traveling?

    I really hope so. But sometimes realism needs to tone down the sense of nationalism. And I’ll leave it at that for now.

    Watch the Lebanon vs Qatar Football Game Online

    For the many of you who want to watch the Lebanon vs Qatar World Cup qualifier football game and need an online link for that, I’ve found two for you.

    Just click here and you’re set.

    If you’re a Twitter user watching the game, make sure you add the hashtag #GoLebanon to your tweets.

    Apart from that, good luck and go Lebanon!