Rafik Hariri (Rafik HARIRI)( Prime Minister of Lebanon)
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Biography Rafik Hariri (Rafik HARIRI)
On Sunday 3rd September in Lebanon ended in the second round of parliamentary elections. Prime Minister Salim al-Hoss admitted his defeat. Experts believe that the new government headed by his former head of Rafik Hariri.
. Who is he - this old-new leader
. In October 1992, Lebanese President Elias Hrawi appointed 46-year-old Saudi construction magnate and billionaire Rafik Hariri (Lebanese origin), the Prime Minister
. Then the appointment was seen in Beirut as the last chance to save the country. Judge for yourself: the damage to Lebanon 17-year civil war and the devastating Israeli incursions, exceeded, according to expert estimates, 25 billion. It is five times more than the lost Kuwait from the Iraqi aggression in 1990-1991.
Taking advantage of a relatively stable political situation, the new Prime Minister has managed to stabilize the currency. It is alleged that he used his own cash to raise the 30 percent rate of the Lebanese pound against the dollar. In other words, he created a team in the first three months of selling its dollars to cope with a wave of currency speculation.
The Prime Minister himself explained:
- Currency has stabilized, because I headed the government. No other reason no.
Whatever it was, but the stabilization of the Lebanese pound has allowed Hariri to return to the country of 2 billion dollars in savings, the Lebanese, who had gone abroad. This in turn has increased the bank deposits of more than 20 percent, which enabled the head of the government to launch a program of rehabilitation of Lebanon, a 10-year. She economists estimate will cost $ 12 billion.
Guide those repairs and largely banking security - these are the two main areas, which day after day engaged the Prime Minister. And very successfully! As observers note, "along with the stability he gave his imperial manner of Lebanon - the country that has never suffered the emperors.
But the case of Hariri - a special. For it was he, according to his supporters and opponents acknowledge, put Lebanon on the legs. But for this it was necessary to appoint their people by almost all key positions in government. Ministers of Finance, Economy and Trade, Posts and Communications - they were loyal to his employees of his companies.
The Prime Minister created a state within a state. He spent his fortune by buying real estate in Lebanon, became the country's largest owner of media - newspapers, radio stations and two television channels, including 50 percent stake in state-owned Tele-Liban ". On their own money created the company "Solidere"
. - He tried to build another kingdom of Saudi Arabia - ironically Omar Dohuk, scion of one of the traditional ruling families in Beirut.
. Nevertheless, in the tower of Sadat, located in West Beirut, a few dozen well-dressed graduates engaged in the development of models of the Lebanese economy
. Several people worked on the "private" Center for Economic Research Hariri - an institution associated with the Ministry of Finance, but staffed exclusively by companies belonging to the Prime Minister. In this very ministry only a few employees were allowed to use office phones, not to mention computers. Paid to them by the government wage was less than 60 percent of the amount paid by Hariri.
This two-tier government was worried some Lebanese. First of all, because in Lebanon, where the important role played by clan ties, many accused the prime minister in an effort to bring the benefits of staying in power for their own religious communities - Sunni Muslims, to create the very political base. The restructuring was included in the pact in 1989 that ended the civil war and strengthened the position of Muslim politicians at the expense of Christians. And although the document called for an end to the existing distribution system in Lebanon power between the religious communities, the Prime Minister has not implemented any secular reforms.
. In addition to the class contradictions, the rise of Hariri and the "financial police", as in Lebanon, called his subordinates, threatened status of the families of the Muslim and Christian elites who for decades ruled the country
. Many of their representatives during the Civil War were in Europe and the United States, hoping to one day return to restore the state. Then, when control over Lebanon, a Prime Minister Hariri, with the support of their "oil" friends from the Gulf, those hopes were in vain.
. - Who's the nouveau riche HaririN - indignant Mahmoud Shatila, heir of one of the largest Sunni families in Beirut
. - We were rich for four generations. One of my ancestors was the first Prime Minister of Lebanon. Fifteen years ago, that Hariri was a nobody.
He was seconded by the nephew of former Prime Minister Salam architect Asama:
- What should be done after 17 years voynyN restore confidence in official institutions. Creating their own parallel machine, it can be done.
Many representatives of the Lebanese elite thought of Rafik Hariri, who was born into a poor peasant family from the city of Sidon, an outsider for a Diverse Beirut. Perhaps, because the future Prime Minister of boys left Lebanon and settled in Saudi Arabia. It was there, in 1970, an ambitious 24-year-old accountant said the Crown Prince Fahd and invited him to become a contractor of the royal court. During the next twenty years, he owned company Odzher enterpraysis, built a dozen items - from airports to palaces, from hospitals to hotels - to the Saudi royal family and the emirs in the Gulf.
. Hariri and King Fahd became close friends
. Moreover, the guy from Sidon was awarded the prestigious award for a foreigner in the kingdom - has Saudi nationality. He even spoke in Arabic with the Saudi accent.
Incidentally, the jet owned by a corporation which enjoys the prime minister, has Saudi markings. Sons welcomes Hariri's father, kissing his hand, which is typical of Saudi Arabia, but a rarity in Lebanon.
. Assets chapter of the Lebanese government, as measured from 3 to 4 billion dollars, according to Forbes Magazine, allowed him to take a place among the 100 richest people in the world
. Along with other companies it owns banks in the Middle East and in Europe, the fleet of private jets and one of the largest publishing houses in Saudi Arabia, producing Quran. He also owns real estate on four continents, including 75-storey building of a Texas shopping center in Houston.
In 1993, Hariri bound himself and his Saudi sponsors the restoration of downtown Beirut. Evil tongues spread the rumor that he wanted to prove to King Fahd, which is a true member of the royal family.
Particularly irritated many large landowners Hariri plans to reconstruct the business districts of Beirut. The company, Solidere, which he founded for this purpose, usurped much of the bombed-out center of the Lebanese capital. As compensation for owners and tenants of land from 65 percent of the company. Remaining "Solidere" shares, valued at $ 650 million, were sold to the Lebanese people to bail out the cash for infrastructure. Of the proposed sale of shares to the public head of the Lebanese government has acquired 19 per cent, making it the largest shareholder in the company "Solidere".
. - I call it fraud century - was indignant Omar Dohuk.
. - "Solidere" not acting in the interests of the state, but in the interests of Hariri - Bedzhavi said Mohammed, a member of parliament from the pro-Iranian group Hezbollah.
. Similar complaints were heard in the Christian East Beirut
. The Prime Minister was accused of usurpation in relation to certain property owners, committed with the financial strategy and a distortion of the traditional face the center of Beirut because of too much emphasis on modern architecture.
. - Center of the capital - is the result of decades and decades of development of the Lebanese culture, - says Naila Bustros Senul belonging to one of the oldest and richest families of the Greek Orthodox
. - All religions, and classes worked and lived in the downtown area - clerks, merchants, textile, lawyers ... Now the Lebanese, who mingled there can never go back. Business districts will be available only for the very wealthy Arabs from the Gulf. And the very wealthy Lebanese, who are now abroad.
. The Prime Minister himself put forward a more simple reason for joining the "hornet's nest" of politicians in Lebanon.
. - I - simple Lebanese guy who made a fortune in Saudi Arabia and has not forgotten his people
. More grow my wealth, the more I helped my country. It's in my blood.
Indeed, when impoverished various sources of public funds, he intervened to pay the salaries of university professors, cleaner streets, the Lebanese airline stewardesses "Middle East". He handed out scholarships to the institute and provided generous philanthropic support.
To say about the Prime Minister, but two years after his appointment in Lebanon is almost officially announced "a new era of Beirut". It began in September 1994, when more than 40 thousand Lebanese, holding hands at Martyrs Square, singing along with the Lebanese diva Feyruz, which once vowed not to sing in his country, yet there is no peace. On that day in a white dress, accompanied by a broad cut of forty musicians, she sang: "I love you, my Lebanon!" It was an exciting event. Christians and Muslims, men, young and old holding hands and their voices echoed among the piles of rubble and shell-riddled buildings.
Among these people was and Prime Minister Hariri, also sang Feyruz. True, the Saudi accent.
A few days later, on another bright ceremony, Lebanese President Elias Hrawi laid the stone on the occasion of the beginning of the rehabilitation project of the Lebanese capital. This stone was written one word - Beirut. He was laid next to the ruined shell monument in memory of the Martyrs, which appeared in the center of fighting during the civil war, which began April 15, 1975.
. - We want the stone, which we lay, was the stone, marking a new era and a renewed society - said the president of Lebanon amid stormy applause
. "Culprit" triumph - Prime Minister Hariri was a close
. This ceremony was a sort of symbolic gesture, the president, made to condemn critics of the project of restoration of the Lebanese capital, which is made by the company Solidere.
. Plan Hariri, called "Horizon - 2000", covering 19 individual industries - from education to garbage collection
. The Prime Minister himself directed the program revival of Beirut and Lebanon, through the Council for Development and Reconstruction. Founded in 1977, the Board then ceased to function, and was restored, Prime Minister Hariri shortly before his appointment as head of government.
Restoration of Beirut is in full swing. In the center of the city has already undergone significant changes. In total, destroyed over 150 houses, cleared space for the construction of new buildings. Everywhere there were pictures of artists, reproducing the future panorama of the Lebanese capital
From Martyrs Square will boulevard leading to the Mediterranean Sea. Already there were dozens of new residential buildings. Many of them - high-rise buildings, worth several million dollars.
And although criticism of the Hariri is still continuing, it believed. Moreover, not only in Lebanon. One example of this - the release of the 1995 Eurobond, which carried out the London company, Murray Lynch safeguards Bank Indosuets End Paribas. This - the first Eurobond issue in Lebanon and one of the first in the Arab countries. It was originally defined in the $ 150 million. However, due to the large amount of investor interest was increased to 300, and then to 400 million. Issued for three years, these bonds are expected to be listed on the stock exchange in Luxembourg.
. - This step opened the door to the global capital markets, - told Hariri during a ceremony in London on the occasion of the bond issue.
. Proceeds from these will be used to finance the construction of the main ring road in Beirut and homes for the maintenance of those who left the throes of civil war capital to release the congested areas of the city
. Among the subscribers to these bonds people from nearly 20 countries.
Of course, Lebanon will never have the grace, which he was noted before the war. Then open the Beirut port and the liberal European atmosphere makes it an ideal center of business activity in the Middle East. In the conditions prevailing in the country's bank secrecy laws in the Swiss model, particularly banks prospered. On the Lebanese beaches and resorts flourished tourism.
The Prime Minister is well understood. But he believed in something else: a new era in which Beirut will compete in business with the growing commercial centers such as Cairo, Bahrain, Debye, Tel Aviv and Nicosia.
. Honor and praise Rafik Hariri - a simple guy from Sidon, which is sure to go down in history as the Lebanese people rebuild their country ...