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 dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com

©The Bulletin 2008

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.