19 November 2008

* Bank Al Madina Conspiracy Time Line (part A)

1974 Dr Adnan Abou Ayyash, a hard-working and highly reputable engineer, graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1974 with a PhD in Civil Engineering.

1984 After having worked in Saudi Arabia for 10 years, Dr Adnan Abou Ayyash, had amassed a respectable wealth by hard work in consulting and construction of prestigious engineering projects all over Saudi Arabia, Europe and North Africa. Dr Adnan decided to invest some of the money that he had earned during these years, back in his home country, Lebanon. Thus, Dr Adnan bought a controlling majority in a local Lebanese bank (Bank AI-Madina). Since Dr Adnan was too busy with his engineering work and therefore unable to run the bank himself, he confined the management of the bank to his younger brother, Ibrahim Abou Ayyash.

1985 A young Lebanese woman, Rana Koleilat, was recruited as a secretary to the General Manager, Mr. Ibrahim Abou Ayyash. Rana had no formal university education, but was able in a record time to earn the trust and confidence of the General Manager and his brother, Dr Adnan, and became the entrusted assistant of the bank owners. She was later appointed as the financial advisor to the Chairman.
Because of her position, as the General Manager secretary and advisor, and the fact that Dr Adnan was constantly in Saudi Arabia managing his engineering projects, she acted as the Go-Between of the two brothers and consequently controlled the communications’ flow between them and was able to know their most intimate and confidential matters including becoming acquainted with the size of Dr Adnan’s financial status. That is when she started reflecting on her evil and wicked plan which had one goal only, getting her hands on this wealth.

1998 AI-Madina acquired the license of two other non-active banks “Foreign Trade Bank” and “Commercial Facilities Bank” that were later merged into a new sister bank “United Credit Bank”. During the years, the Bank AI-Madina operations were developing considerably and in less than 15 years the bank had opened more than 22 branches all over Lebanon. At the same time, the Lebanese business operations of the Abou Ayyash family (Dr Adnan and his brother) were also expanding in other industries as well through the Madina Group, a conglomerate of many companies in
various industries including insurance, real estate, beach and hotel resorts,
pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, etc.. The Madina Group and Bank AI-Madina together employed more than 1200 employees.

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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.