Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ice queens of the Arab world

As protests hot up across the Middle East, the lavish lives of aloof Arab royal wives are in the spotlight

Nesrine Malik
guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 15 February 2011

"It started with Leila Trabelsi, the wife of President Ben Ali – the Arab world's answer to Imelda Marcos, the Lady Macbeth of Tunisia, who allegedly made off with copious amounts of gold after the uprising that ousted her husband.

Attention then shifted to Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt's ex-first lady, who shares her husband's estimated $70bn fortune.

In the wake of King Abdullah's dismissal of the government in Jordan this month, the latest Arab Wag in the spotlight is Queen Rania. Last week she was the subject of an unprecedented attack by a group of Jordanian tribal figures complaining about the ruling family and widespread corruption. According to the statement, the queen and "her sycophants and the power centres that surround her" are dividing Jordanians and "stealing from the country and the people".

As the wave of dissent sweeping the region puts Arab presidents and monarchs under the spotlight, their wives are also being scrutinised for their lavish lifestyles and "interference" in politics......"

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