Tuesday 14 Aug 2018 | 05:59 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 14 Aug 2018 | 05:59 | SYDNEY

Syria: Levantine Cluedo


Rodger Shanahan


4 August 2008 15:18

Political assassinations by their nature are usually shadowy affairs, but ones perpetrated in the Middle East are more complex than average, given the longer than normal list of suspects. This would certainly appear to be the case in the reported assassination of the Syrian Brigadier Muhammad Suleiman, allegedly shot by a sniper in his hotel room in Tartous, a coastal city in Syria’s west.

If the reports regarding his murder and his closeness to President Bashar al-Assad are true, then Brigadier Suleiman’s killing lays open a range of possibilities as to its perpetrators. Of course, Israel would feature as one of the usual suspects, particularly if reports of Brigadier Suleiman’s links with Hizbullah are correct. Then there is the possibility of spillover from recent fighting in northern Lebanon between pro-government Sunnis and pro-Syrian Alawis (Suleiman being an Alawi). But the professionalism and intelligence required to locate such a senior figure, infiltrate and position a sniper and  then conduct the mission would indicate a degree of professionalism beyond the northern Lebanese ‘militias’.

Another possibility could be Iran or Hizbullah. If, as my colleague Anthony Bubalo postulated, there was Syrian complicity in Imad Mughniyyas death, then this assassination could represent a payback. Or it could be meant as a disincentive to continue peace talks with Israel. Or.......