Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

He Who Gives, Owns | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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It seems that the phrase ‘He who gives, owns,’ is a reasonable explanation for the raging battle in Lebanon since the eruption of the summer conflict, which revolves around who is to receive financial aid and give it to the people. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora criticizes Iran because it provides financial aid to the opposition, namely, Hezbollah and he asks it to grant such aids to legitimate authorities. I once heard officials of Gulf States saying that Hezbollah demanded that the funding for rebuilding the country after the conflict be directly handed over to it, claiming that it is the best party to manage such funding to avoid any form of corruption, whilst everybody is convinced that Hezbollah does not want any other to have ties with the people of South Lebanon except itself. International forces operating in southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) are exposed to criticism from some voices within Hezbollah because they give aid directly to the people of south Lebanon without going through Hezbollah. The UN forces seek to establish good relations with the people, whereas fighters want a prolonged state of war.

In Palestine, the conflict surrounding money is overt, where Hamas and Fatah are battling over the right to take control of spending government funds and foreign aid. The evidence of this is the dispute of international aid. The European Union, which had recently increased its support to the Palestinians, provides funds directly to hospitals, schools and humanitarian organizations. It believes that contributing financially to the political conflict will transform it into a devastating weapon, and as long as the objective is to assist Palestinian citizens, then it is far better that aid be given directly to hospitals or schools so as to ensure that it is wisely spent. In Palestine, the reason is apparent. Fatah, is constantly accused of administrative and financial corruption, on the other hand Hamas is charged with exploiting foreign financial aid to serve a political agenda. Centuries ago yet reflecting the current status quo, Arab poet Al Mutanabbi said, “The world grants no glory for those with little money.”

Money is power, even in other parts of the world. The evidence is clear as we recall that half a century ago American President Harry Truman had a plaque on his desk that read, “The Buck Stops Here”. Senator Hillary Clinton warned President George W. Bush that he would meet the same fate as Hamas, as money to be sent to him would be blocked. She stated that the Democrats would act as a thorn in his side through the Senate Finance Committee by blocking financial funding for his military activities. I believe that the correct historic interpretation of the failure of the United States in Iraq is attributed to the fact that the Pentagon was granted the right to administrate the budget for the war in Iraq. This in turn had enabled the US Department of Defense to control the country. It also eliminated the role of the US Department of State, which came to power with ideas and not with money and was already qualified to organize the new situation. Eventually the former Secretary of State Colin Powell was forced to seclude himself and ultimately resign. The US Department of Defense, and with unusual benevolence, offered over 300 billion dollars to futile political projects to prove to everybody that the dollar alone cannot rule Iraq, as it too must be accompanied by a wise mentality.