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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

Feb 27th
Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Intelligence arrow Assassinated general was No. 2 in Syria, liaison with N. Korea, Hizbullah
Assassinated general was No. 2 in Syria, liaison with N. Korea, Hizbullah PDF Print E-mail
Written by World Tribune   
Thursday, 07 August 2008


LONDON — The assassination of an army general under mysterious circumstances has been confirmed and the officer identified as the second most powerful man in Syria.
Arab intelligence sources said Maj. Gen. Mohammed Suleiman, the leading adviser to President Bashar Assad, was the most powerful man in both the Syrian military and government.

The sources said Suleiman was Assad's liasion to Hizbullah as well as North Korea, a leading military supplier of Damascus. They said Suleiman, killed by a sniper on Aug. 2, was more influential than Syria's defense minister and chief of staff.

[On Aug. 6, the Syrian regime acknowledged the death of Suleiman, Middle East Newsline reported. Officials said an investigation has been launched.]

"He was involved in every single military or security issue meant for Bashar," an Arab source said.

Suleiman, 49, was described as the right-hand man of Bashar sought by the United Nations in connection with its investigation of the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005.

The sources said Suleiman was entrusted with North Korean nuclear cooperation with Syria. They said Suleiman, trained in the former Soviet Union, helped oversee the North Korean construction of a plutonium production plant in Al Kibar in northeastern Syria. The plant was destroyed in an Israeli air strike in September 2007.

"Suleiman knew all the secrets of the Syrian regime," the intelligence source said. "He was completely trusted by Bashar and did not harbor any political ambitions."

Syrian opposition sources said Suleiman, an Alawite, was believed to have been assassinated as part of an attempt by the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah to avenge the death of its operational chief, Imad Mughniyeh, in February 2008. The sources said Suleiman, killed in the Syrian port city of Tartous, was accused by Hizbullah of being linked to the car bombing that killed Mughniyeh outside the office of then-Syrian intelligence chief Assaf Chawkat. In June, Chawkat, Bashar's brother-in-law, was dismissed and placed under house arrest.

A Syrian source told the London-based A-Sharq Al Awsat that the death of Suleiman marked a severe blow to the Assad regime. The source, reporting a power struggle within the regime, said the killing pointed to a loss of control by Assad as well as the isolation of the Syrian leadership.

"Undoubtedly, the regime is in a difficult and complex situation complicated by the suppression, the recent incidents in Sidnaya [prison], the policy of isolation and exclusion and the sectarian tensions in Syria," the source said. "Of course, such a tense situation is bad for Syria and the regime is to blame for it."

At this point, Syria has not identified any suspects in the Suleiman killing. Hizbullah has denied any involvement.

"A liquidation operation does not take place except following a central decision," the Syrian source said. "This was a big operation. This person was important in the regime and within the army."


Last Updated ( Saturday, 16 August 2008 )
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