Beaucaire From Syria, joined Sep 2003, 5252 posts, RR: 26 Posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 1277 times:
In a development that looks like a cheap spy-movie scenario,a military advisor to President Assad, Brigad. General Mohammad Suleiman ,was shot in his villa close to the city of Tartouse (Syria) from a sniper in a boat off the coast.
Suleiman was acting as intermediate between Hezbollah and Syrian authorities.
Since Syria's shift in politics seeking peace with israel and moving closer to the West,radical elements have been removed from power or put under arrest.It might never be known who is behind the killing,but chances are that Mossad is not strange to the action.
So if Israel was not behind the killing,who was it ?
Rogue elements within the Syrian army ? Assad is in a very tough situation,since he is determined to turn around the Syrian ship but can't do it without keeping former officials at large.The risk of him being killed by elements opposed to his politics it genuin.
He might be in the delicate position to ask assistance ( intelligence ) from outside services (Turkey,Israel,Germany,France..)
Assad is currently in Turkey (Bodrum ) on a short vaccation trip,where he will meet Erdogan..
In French but with some interesting photos ,made durings Assad's most recent visit to Tehran-smiling when arriving-deadly-frustrated during the press-conference,just minutes after he learned about the assasination of his closest military advisor.
Suleiman basically was the key-interface between the palace and the army,Hezbollah and he rran the palaces security services,independant from the official secret service.The likelyhood that Israel would kill one of his closest advisors during a time of "detente" seems irreal..
MD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 13336 posts, RR: 64 Reply 4, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 1191 times:
Quoting Beaucaire (Thread starter): Since Syria's shift in politics seeking peace with israel and moving closer to the West,radical elements have been removed from power or put under arrest.
So it would be quite stupid by the Israelis to stirr up trouble, if there is a chance for a lasting peace. What does Israel have to gain from a renewed confrontation with Syria? I think absolutely nothing.
I'd rather suspect one of the radical elements acted on his own to cause trouble and to PREVENT an agreement between Syria and Israel.
If Syria and Israel would agree on a peace treaty (which bydefinition would have to be a compromise), it would leave quite a few radicals with their absolutist demands standing in the rain.
Beaucaire From Syria, joined Sep 2003, 5252 posts, RR: 26 Reply 6, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 1182 times:
I've read through quite some arab-media reports today and the opinions are quite divers.
I think a Mossad involvement is excluded for the obvious ,counterproductive peace-negotiation reasons.
That leaves four potential venues- Iranian, Lebanese,Syrian1 and Syrian 2
Iranian because the change in attitude and focus towards the West and Israel does not please some people within the Republican Guards (a far fetched reasoning but not totally excluded )
Syrian 1 : coming from unsatisfied hardline-elements with the Shu'bat al-Mukhabarat al-'Askariyya (Department of Military Intelligence) to show their power and capacities to Assad.
Syria 2 : from Idarat al-Mukhabarat al-Amma (General Intelligence Directorate) to eclipse a trusted friend of Hezbollah who was instrumental in furnishing supplies to Nazrallah .
Finally there is still a Lebanese thesis,from sections within the Lebanese security cercles that still believe that Suleiman was responsible for the killing of Hariri and the killing og Suleiman was revenge.
Sv7887 From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1025 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 1138 times:
I have a very basic understanding of Syrian politics so apologies in advance if I seem naive or ignorant.
I read that Assad is a Western educated doctor and from all accounts was rushed to succeed his father. (Not the first choice?)
If this is all true, he cannot be stupid. Perhaps this peace process is realization on his part that Iran's days are numbered? I think Iran or Hezbollah would want to disrupt his apparent re-approachment with the West.
I know he was nearly assassinated a few months back, and also some Israeli jets overflew his house to send him a message, so the guy is clearly a marked man. Could it be Assad is pulling a Libya and saying "We want out of being considered an extremist state" for purely economic and social reasons?
What is the social situation in Syria? Is there widespread discontent with the regime like there is in Iran?
We don't get much news on Syria in the US other than the usual negative crap so it would be good to hear from the resident Anet experts.
Beaucaire From Syria, joined Sep 2003, 5252 posts, RR: 26 Reply 9, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 1107 times:
Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 8): What is the social situation in Syria? Is there widespread discontent with the regime like there is in Iran?
Basically yes-there is widespread miscontent about many limiting factors in daily life and freedom of speech is obviously not the top priority.
One major difference though with Iran-the position of women in Syria is much easier than in Iran-the country is fully secular and no women is obliged to wear a scarf.Once you attend a marriage in Damascus in one of the big Hotels (Sheraton ,Meridien ) you will be stunned by the amount of alcohol consumed and the show-off of the deepest decoltées for the women..
The country was ruled for 40 years by a Baat'h party system which looked like a Pan-arab socialist phantasy.Bashir's father ruled with an irons fist and his main-enemy were obviously the Israelis but also elements within Syria who dared to show thirst for change.
Bashir is a different breed -and the choice of his very intelligent and attractive secular wife (educated in UK and in Wall-street as investment banker ) should give some insight in the man's thinking.
He has problems from several sides-he needs to get back the Golan,which he is short of succeeding through his peace-talks with Israel.He has no dogmatic barrier to deal with the Israelis and relations between the two counties could normalize relatively fast.
His main problem though are old Baat'h party and military officers who have not changed with the world's evolution and still remain in cold-war theories.There is a complex system of civil and military secret services,and rogue parts of those people had indeed their fingers in dirty action in Lebanon.I do not think Assad ordered the assasination of hariri though-it was to clear for him he had nothing to gain from such a stupid act other than international discontent and isolation.
Other issue is the countries relation with Iran,which Assad is prepared to loosen considerably once the Golan is back in Syrian hands.While Syria wants access to civil nuclear technology,Assad is not seeking nuclear weapons technology.
Syria has quite good relations with Turkey,and Assad is currently making holidays in Turkey's sea-resort of Bodrum with his wife.( where he met Erdogan yesterday for further consolidation of peace-talks with Israel.)
Syrians don't live in worse conditions than say the average Egyptian ,Algerian or Moroccan,-trafic jams in cities demonstrate a certain wealth of the middle-class and there are quite wealthy Syrians who invest abroad.Most average-class Syrian's though are more concerned by consumer-goods,housing and everiday life issues.
There are still quite a number of opponents to Assad either in jail or in closed residence,but that number is decreasing by the months.
Life has changed nevertheless considerably as compared to ten years ago and freedom of press might just be around the corner,once the orientation towards the West has gained momentum.
In overall,a country just ahead of important strategic changes with a troubled political past,but apparently with a leader that will implement his modern ideas and changes to the better.
ME AVN FAN From Switzerland, joined May 2002, 13874 posts, RR: 28 Reply 10, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 1102 times:
Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 8): I read that Assad is a Western educated doctor and from all accounts was rushed to succeed his father. (Not the first choice?)
The original choice as successor of Hafez al-Assad was Basil el-Assad, the elder brother of Bashir. Bashir went to college and university in England, and then had his own practice as eye-doctor in Bond Street. After the death of Basil in a car-accident, he was called home by his father and had to close down his practice, and convince his English born wife to move with him to Damascus. The whole thing was definitely NOT the "first choice" in either way !
ME AVN FAN From Switzerland, joined May 2002, 13874 posts, RR: 28 Reply 11, posted (4 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 1099 times:
Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 8): "We want out of being considered an extremist state" for purely economic and social reasons?
Syria is a bit of everything :
> secular, and liberal in regard to personal life, women's rights, freedom of religion
> one-party dictatorship with a very strict reign, dissidence not encouraged
> acting as liason-link for Iranian support to Hizbullah and Hamas
> support for el-Saika
> tactical, whenever discreet, support for the Kurds
> excellent relations with Iran and Venezuela
> close relations with France
> AND Dr. Assad 2 years ago repaired the relations with Turkey, which had been strained
for ages, not least due to the Sandjak of Alexandrette (occupied by Mustafa Kemal)
Quoting Sv7887 (Reply 8): Is there widespread discontent with the regime like there is in Iran?
NOT to be compared with Iran, BUT many Syrians would love to see an end to the dictatorship and to press-censorship and no longer to restrict open discussions to "indoors"