“There is no oversight,” says Hishem Melham, the Washington bureau chief of the Lebanese daily newspaper As-Safir. “This guy [Harb] hires and fires and sets salaries on his own, and he’ll continue to do it as long as he feels protected by Norm Pattiz and Kenneth Tomlinson.”
Mamoun Fandy, a senior fellow in Middle East policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute, says that the rules governing the networks have made little difference, and that MBN is operating "runaway stations that need to be brought under control." He also says, "Alhurra looks like the Middle Eastern states it wants to change: It’s run by a small dictator who is totally corrupt" — although he and other critics concede that they know of no criminal wrongdoing.
In certain respects Harb resembles Ahmad Chalabi, back in the days when the Iraqi buccaneer was the favorite of American officialdom. He spins the story of the Arabic services’ success to legislators and reporters, charms political patrons in both political parties, and offers a product that at least looks slick and professional to Americans who don’t understand Arabic. Like Chalabi, the broadcasting potentate lives well on U.S. largesse, although neither Tomlinson’s board nor Harb’s spokesman will disclose his taxpayer-funded salary. Sources at Alhurra say that he drives a Hummer (average price: $50,000), and according to real-estate records, he recently brought a $750,000 home in a well-to-do northern Virginia suburb."
Art Levine in "American Prospect."
For the record, I know Harb. In my opinion, he is a secularized Lebanese Shia who has been an American citizen for many years. He is extremely fluent in English and plausibly glib in the extreme.
He is a great deal like Chalabi although he speaks American English a great deal better than the great doctor of mathmatics. I have been told that he likes and admires Chalabi greatlly, and hopes and expects that Chalabi will someday rule (govern) Iraq. He knows Chalabi well. This is something he has in common with his friend, the VP.