The Interior Minister of Syria, Brig. Gen. Kanaan, is reported by Syrian news sources as having commited suicide early Wednesday morning. Kanaan was
a hard-liner within the Syrian autocracy, and also was part of the old guard. Kannan was the infamous head of Syrian intelligence in Lebanon during
the occupation of that country.
He was also under investigation for any involvment in the recent assasination of their former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
Syria's interior minister, one of several top officials caught up in the U.N. investigation into the slaying of Lebanon's former prime minister, died
Wednesday. The country's official news agency said he committed suicide in his office.
The death - just days before the final U.N. investigation report is due - was a new and startling sign of turmoil in Syria, whose authoritarian regime
is girding for the chance that the U.N. report might implicate high-ranking officials in the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri. He
was killed by a bomb in February as his convoy drove through Beirut.
``Interior Minister Brig. Gen. Ghazi Kenaan committed suicide in his office before noon,'' the Syrian Arab News Agency reported. ``Authorities are
carrying out the necessary investigation into the incident.''
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Extremely interesting turn of events, considering the pressure that's been on the Syrian regime and also considering previous (and very sketchy and
unreliable and perhaps ultimately false) reports about internal strife in syria. To me, it looks like this means that they're capitulating; I don't
think anyone here beleives that this was an actual suicide, anymore than many beleive that Hariri was simply murdered without a connection to the
Syrian government. Interestingly, CNN noted, as they reported this, that President Assad had just granted an interview to CNN. Perhaps this is all
part of a collapse of the hardliners within the Syrian government and a corresponding strengthening of what might be a more dovish Assad faction.
Kannan also made a statement on Voice of Lebanon Radio just before his death, stating:
"I want to make clear that our relation with our brothers in Lebanon was based on love and mutual respect... We have served Lebanon's interest with
honour and honesty,"
I also notice that Syria had been the focus of US policy in the region for a while not so long ago, but that the pressure on that in the media at
least seemed to downtick, with an uptick in pressure on the Iranians following. Perhaps the Bush Administration had gotten Assad to assent to being
more cooperative, and had now shifted attention to the other regional threat?
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