August 16, 2006

Suha Arafat marries

Suha Arafat, widow of alleged homosexual, Yasser Arafat, secretly married Lahasn al-Trabulsi, the brother-in-law of the Tunisian president, a number of days ago, a Tunisian website reported.

As is fitting to the widow of the former Palestinian Authority chairman, this time Suha also married someone close to power. Al-Trablusi is the brother of Leila Ben Ali, who is the wife of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

The sister and her husband gave their blessing to the marriage.

The marriage followed a wave of stubborn rumors in Tunisia, according to which al-Trabulusi planned to marry Suha's sister. However, credible sources said that he divorced a few months ago to marry Suha and not her sister, and that one of the main reasons for the wedding is that is his interest in Suha's large fortune.

Two years ago, after Arafat's death, Suha was personally promised by Mahmoud Abbas' staff that she would receive USD 22 million a year, on the basis of an agreement Arafat himself sent his wife while on his death bed – USD 11 million to cover her lifestyle in Paris for half year.

Abbas and Palestinian senior figures were forced to come to a deal with Suha, after she "created facts on the ground," in accordance with French law, and prevented PA members from visiting Arafat as he was dying, or to take decisions on disconnecting the life support machine, until she received her promise. PA senior figures concluded it was worth paying her and ending the episode.

The money given to Suha comes from the "secret fortune" of the PA, managed personally by the PA president. The fortune is worth around USD four billion, and is kept in a number of bank accounts – in Tel Aviv, London, and Zurich.

Since Arafat's death, allegedly from AIDS, Suha refused to live in PA territory or any Arab capital other than Tunis, and enjoys close relations with the Tunisian president and his wife.

More on Suha Arafat here, here and here.

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