Madoff, Hizbollah and a financial hole

You can’t blame Israel for having a wee chuckle at the financial misfortunes of the Hizbollah. Believe it or not, this Islamic fundamentalist organisation, dedicated to the destruction of Israel and of a pluralist Lebanon, has fallen foul to a Madoff-type scheme.

Leaks to AP started the story. It seems that Salah Ezzedine, a Shi’ite businessman with close connections to the Hizbollah leadership, has gone belly up. The Hebrew newspaper, “Yediot”, claimed that he has defrauded the organisation of US$683 million.

Comparisons are being made to Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. And similar to Madoff, Ezeedine has been involved in numerous charitable projects.

Despite the potential looming scandal, I predict that two things will not change in the immediate future. First, Arab and Western media outlets are just not reporting the story. I will leave it to my readers to speculate as to why there is a blackout.

Second, Hizbollah will continue to pour new weapons into southern Lebanon. Its view of peace will not change, remaining sharply in contrast to the concept understood in the rest of the world. As Hamas has shown in Gaza, poverty is not an excuse for ceasing to invest in a war against Israeli citizens.

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