Clooney father-in-law hails wedding as good news for Mideast

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BEIRUT: George Clooney’s Lebanese father-in-law said on Sunday that his daughter Amal Alamuddin’s wedding to the Hollywood heartthrob was “very good news” for the turmoil-ridden Middle East.

“The wedding was more than perfect,” Ramzi Alamuddin told AFP by telephone from Venice.

Clooney and his Lebanese-British lawyer bride married on Saturday at a star-studded private wedding, although they are expected to officially tie the knot on Monday.

Ramzi Alamuddin said the wedding was a “grand” but “simple” affair, with close friends and relatives attending an event he described as “good news”.


“It is very good news among the bad news we are living now,” he said.

The celebrity nuptials come as unrest grips much of the Middle East, where a US-led coalition is staging air strikes on the jihadist Islamic State group in Lebanon’s neighbour Syria and in Iraq.

Saturday’s ceremony also coincided with Al-Qaeda’s Syria franchise, Al-Nusra Front, threatening reprisals against the coalition which includes several Arab allies.

Other Lebanese agreed that the wedding was the only good news to have emerged from their problem-riddled Mediterranean nation.

“The roads in the country are blocked, we don’t have a president, parliament is paralysed, (Prime Minister Tammam) Salam is busy with the issue of the soldiers (kidnapped by jihadists), and the country is on the verge of collapse,” said one Twitter user, using the hashtag #congratulations.

“But thank God, Clooney has become the son of Lebanon,” he added.

Parliament in Beirut has tried but failed several times since June to elect a new president, but a vote has been delayed again and again by political wrangling.

The Syria war has also stoked existing tensions, particularly between Sunnis who tend to back the uprising and Shiites, including the powerful Hezbollah group, who generally support the Damascus regime.

Last month, Lebanese troops battled jihadists who crossed the border from Syria, and around 30 Lebanese soldiers and policemen are still being held hostage since the clashes.

Al-Nusra Front killed one hostage and rival jihadists of the Islamic State group beheaded two more.

But far from the turmoil, Clooney, Alamuddin and their close friends and relatives danced until dawn on Sunday at one of the most eagerly awaited celebrity marriages in years.

“It was grand simple and perfect. The couple really do match,” said the actor’s new father-in-law.

“The couple was very happy about how they were welcomed in Venice,” he said.

Alamuddin said the guest list included “the closest from the family and the closest from friends”.

Among the guests were Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cindy Crawford and her husband Rande Gerber — rumoured to be Clooney’s best man.

Amal, 36, is a prominent international lawyer who in 2004 worked at the International Court of Justice. She has represented Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and Ukraine’s ex-prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

She was just a child when her family left Lebanon for Britain, during a 15-year civil war that ended in 1990.

She comes from the Druze community, a minority sect of the Muslim faith who live mainly in Lebanon and Syria.

Watching from afar, one Twitter user effusively welcomed Clooney, 53, as Lebanon’s new “son-in-law”.

“God bring you prosperity and children,” she tweeted.

Nisreen, a 24-year-old technician, joked that Clooney should have chosen her instead.

“Where was I?” she wrote, adding “She must be a special one for him to have chosen her.”

Amal’s father taught tourism at the prestigious American University of Beirut. Her mother, Baria, heads the international section at London-based pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat.

AFP

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