Nicosia, Cyprus – It would appear the Syrians are embarrassed and even in distress over the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of General Mohammed Suleiman.
In life, he was known as the “shadow man,” and in seeming keeping with this legacy, there has thus far been no official comment offered by the regime about his death.
According to Syrian reports, the high-ranking general was assassinated by sniper fire aimed from the sea while he was staying at a hotel on the Golden Sands beach of Tartous.
If indeed he were deliberately assassinated, it would constitute a severe blow to the regime. According to foreign intelligence sources he was in charge of the Syrian nuclear project.
Officially, Gen. Suleiman filled the position of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s national security adviser, and was one of the advisers closest to the Syrian president. However, this ostensibly innocent title did not impress Western intelligence agencies, which carefully followed his activity and learned that the man hiding behind the scenes was in fact in charge of all “special projects” in Syria.
U.S. intelligence also suspected Suleiman of being in charge of smuggling chemical weapons from Iraq to Syria prior to the second Gulf War in 2003. In Gen. Suleiman’s other role, he was in charge of the Lebanon portfolio in the Syrian presidential bureau.
Within this framework, Gen. Suleiman was in charge of the ties between Syria and Imad Mughniyeh and Hezbollah. He carried out most of the coordination through Mr. Mughniyeh’s close aide Ibrahim Akil.
Gen. Suleiman was also behind a series of provocations and assassinations aimed at preserving Syrian interests in Lebanon.
“It doesn’t matter who killed Suleiman,” said a senior Israeli source.
“For a country that always prided itself on its internal stability and its strict and very successful enforcement, police and intelligence services, I would say that things are pretty much falling apart under the hands of Assad and his men.”
Syrian authorities continue to impose a blackout on the circumstances of his death, and newspapers in Damascus were given unequivocal instructions to stay away from the topic and not report it.
Syrian sources have raised many assessments as to the identity of Gen. Suleiman’s assassins, and the possibilities include Iran, Hezbollah, the Syrians themselves and Israel as well.
David Bedein can be reached at email@example.com. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008