Blogroll Me! How This Old Brit Sees It ...: Syrian ' Suicide ' - Is This The Start ?

12 October 2005

Syrian ' Suicide ' - Is This The Start ?

This will be the shortest Old Brit blog entry - ever.

One day after posting regarding US intentions/threats/whatever, toward Syria - comes this from the BBC.

Syrian minister 'commits suicide'

Kanaan (left) was Syria's top official in Lebanon for yearsSyria's Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan has committed suicide, the official news agency in Damascus says.

He was reportedly questioned by a UN investigator last month over the murder of ex-Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri.

For many years Kanaan was Syria's powerful intelligence chief in Lebanon, which was dominated by Syria until its military withdrawal earlier this year.

He returned to Damascus in 2002 as political intelligence chief and joined the cabinet in 2004.

"Interior Minister Brig Gen Ghazi Kanaan committed suicide in his office before noon," the Syrian Arab News Agency (Sana) reported.

I want to make clear that our relation with our brothers in Lebanon was based on love and mutual respect

The authorities are carrying out the "necessary investigation" into the incident,
Sana reported.

This Old Brit certainly knows how he sees it -- but like it says in his profile -- "You Decide".

* N.B.
Please don't let the brevity of this blog post detract from it's potential significance.

For now --- that is all.

Full latest from the BBC at this link:


Blogger Elaine Supkis said...

How convieeenient.

Suicide: option #2 for all spooks.

3:59 pm  
Blogger Richard said...


Yeah! How convenient, eh?

The bastards are getting more brazen by the day and still getting away with it - so far.

5:29 pm  
Blogger Friendly Fire said...

Bush II should be reminded Syria sent troops to GW1

5:58 pm  
Anonymous graniab said...

Interesting comment on - thanks to Mark from Ireland - re today's 'suicide'. I also discovered I must admit to knowing nothing about Syria. So far Juan Cole has not commented on this latest piece. I look forward to gleaning more information from the Old Brit crew.

6:50 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:02 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

friendly fire,

Many thanks to you, too. I'm taking the liberty of passing on your INTERESTING link to evryone here, too. {Scroll down at freindly fire, to the sub header - Syrian Cooperation}

8:05 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

graniab [& mark],

Thanks - for that - it's a VERY interesting Syrian link.

8:08 pm  
Anonymous bluey said...

Walk this way --> to World War 3

9:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're right. They ARE mad!!!!!!!!

9:40 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

bluey and anon,

I can't pretend that thought's not entered my head. But, I can't, can't, can't, let myself believe it. In fact, I won't.

Years ago, Albert Einstien[s?] said [paraphrased] "I don't know what the next world war will be fought with - but any wars afterwards - will be fought with bows and arrows".


11:57 pm  
Blogger markfromireland said...

I think Josh Landis is completely barking up the wrong tree with the "Amercian plotter" idea. Sorry but it doesn't wash - I'll grant you that the current govt is both divided and unstable, that was to be expected, but one thing Assad senior did do very successfully was make it damned difficult for a coup to take place.

Not saying it's impossible and Josh Landis is very expert. But in this case - I think he's way off base.

Go here:

Then go here:

You're quite capable of adding 1+1 yourself so I'll leave you to draw the obvious conclusion :-)

In related news: The street price of an AK47 in Beirut continues to climb with some buyers now complaining that they have been told to either pay a "delivery commission" or join a waiting list. Depending on where you go an AK's price is $1200 - 1400. Or to put it like a 100% increase in just a few months.

1:12 am  
Anonymous Rosemary said...

Richard, I had to do some catching up as I hadn't read your entry for yesterday...

I know little about Syria and Lebanon and what all has gone on there during the course of this Iraq war, I'm ashamed to say.

My mind reels with elaborate fantastic scenerios of what this may portend, but such speculation is just that, speculation.

I am looking at the breadth of legal challenges developing in the U.S. against this Bush regime, and I fear the regime is pulling out all the stops to create confusion and distraction and probably extreme terror. Who knows what else is in their game plan, ready to be pulled out when needed? And who knows who is pulling THEIR chain?

So, I am going to wait and watch.

Richard, you do have a good eye for spotting the most important developing news stories. (re: your post yesterday)

1:42 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Their all gonna get whats comin to them - ALL of them

So will YOU and people like you got here Brit

USA - NUMBER - ONE!!!!!!!!!!

11:36 am  
Blogger D.F. Facti said...

Agree w/ Rosemary.

Fortunately FitzGerald plays poker while all BushCo knows is War -
but who in the gov't and military is on board with the Iran Syria battle plans?

That is the troubling question.

2:17 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

mark, [& Rosemary & d.f.f.]

The plot still thickens, I see.

Btw, thanks for the latest links, mark - I WILL get to them, soon.

2:30 pm  
Blogger Richard said...


I should have said - you too, should be interested.

2:34 pm  
Anonymous Sinclair said...

Now that a move has been made to start the process of 'dealing' with Syria, I wonder when the Iran move is going to be made. Already the news stories this week are cranking up the ante (today, whilst buying a sandwich I heard a radio news segemnt stating that Iraqi insurgents are now being trained in Iranian camps!!).

As far as I can see, it's all about the pronounced setting up of the Iranian Oil Bourse in March 2006. The US do not want this to happen (look what happened to Iraq when they tried to use an oil exchange mechanism other than the petrodollar (

Further info is at

4:25 pm  
Anonymous graniab said...

OK so the neocons live in an alternate reality but where is the US going to get troops for these field trips. We have having a hard enough time getting recruits for Iraq. Don't even think of the draft. I live in a solidly Republican area (yes Democrats are tolerated there) and while the parents in my community support George there is no way they would support the draft. After all these are the kids of parents who avoided Vietnam because of educational deferrment. I am totally silenced by mark from Ireland's superior knowledge - I need to start cramming now. Any anonymous - get a life!

7:34 pm  
Blogger markfromireland said...

Better hurry Richard those sites tend to archive into paid material quite quickly. :-)

Grainne - thanks for the kind comments. To be fair the clash between secularism and fundamentalism has been my "thing" since I was a cadet with a very far seeing C.O. who (long story) suspected I might be able to get a better handle on the fundamentalist mind set than others. I've been doing this for more than 25 years now so I hope something stuck inside that skull of mine! :-)

This point about all of what's going on though is that it is genuinely very very frightening.

My broad concern is this: The political boundaries and structures in the entire Middle East are highly artificial. They arise from the post World War I carve up of the Ottoman empire by the British and French. A large part of what worries me is that escalating violence in Iraq is spreading.

Do you remember the recent Saudi public nervous breakdown about the situation in Iraq? Let me translate it out of diplomatic-speak for you. The prince wasn't talking about Iraq other than as Iraq qua starting point. The Saudis are living through the start of their nightmare scenario. The Eastern province which is where the oil is.

It is also where the Kingdom's Shia minority live. And the Saudis aren't the only ones who can fund, arm, and train Jihadis.

Let's get back to Iraq:

In Iraq itself Shi'ite political demands have become more intense as a direct reaction to Kurdish nationalism. (We can discuss the extent to which there is a genuine grassroots Sh'ite national
movement some other time on balance I'm inclined to say there is but it's not quite what's portrayed here in the West)

As for the Iraqi Sunni Arabs, well perhaps it was true that they saw themselves primarily as Iraqis or Arabs, and then as Sunnis. But as their Kurdish and Shi'a bbrethren define themselves ever more strongly as Kurdish and Shi'a. The Iraqi Sunni Arabs in Iraq faut
de mieux
are going to be defined both by themselves and others as "other" whether they wish it or not.

Irrespective of what emerges from the constitutional process, either the eventual dismemberment or at the ecentralisation/federalisation of Iraq is, in my view, now inevitable. I for one have long been convinced that this was a real albeit unstated war aim
of the Bush administration. Look at these maps:

do you see how many countries it borders?

Now consider

So what about the rest of the Mashreq? I've already touched upon the Saudi situation and I've a fair
amount of evidence to indicate that the Saudi Shi'a are in ever closer contact with some of the more militant of their Iraqi neighbours to the north

As both Jordan and Syria destabilise the same process
is likely to occur amongst the eastern Jordanian and southern Syrian tribes they're already beginning to strengthen their ties with their fellows in Iraq. Do you remember the wedding the got shot up? Do you
remember the rhetorical questions used to justify that?

"Who holds a wedding in the Desert?"

and so on.
Answer: The people who live there, they're nomadic and consider the border a complete irrelevance.


9:50 pm  
Blogger markfromireland said...

So we have a situation now where the two powers who between them and the French saw to it that Arab democratic secular reformers got wiped out by the regimes they propped up. Have invaded one of the Arab heartlands and have, to put it mildly, deliberately behaved in a way calculated to inflame anyone let alone people who have been left with nothing but their pride and are now trying to escalate.

Syria is ruled by an Allawi elite minority (Allawis are a Shii offshoot most Muslims including most Shii don't regard them as true Muslims.) Assad senior ruthlessly repressed all dissent and challenges to his power. The result - surprise surprise - is a heavily fundamentalist opposition. And these loolahs want to overthrow Assad?


Ditto with the quite incredibly stupid agent provocateur tactics being used by the British in Southern Iraq generally (and Basra in particular) to ramp up to a war with Iran.

and ditto for the claims that a large percentage of the fighters in Iraq are foreigners. Yeah right anyone who knows anything about any Middle East society will tell you how unbelievably thickwitted that claim is. At most 12% of the fighters are non-Iraqi and my guess would be it's half that.

Similarly for the claims about that so-called intercepted letter:

Excuse me? did they think nobody would read the effing thing? Before they posted it:

Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden's 2nd in command, and IMO the real brains in the outfit, writes to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Setting out a strategy for taking over Iraq.

and then in the last bit of the letter says this

"My greetings to all the loved ones and please give me news of Karem and the rest of the folks I know, and especially:

By God, if by chance you're going to Fallujah, send greetings to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi."

Thick witted numbskull idiots who were stupidly arrogant enough to believe that they could launch a war to undo what happened in '79 have handed over tactical control of the situation to the people who hate them most.

And all they can think of is expanding the war to the entirety of the mashreq?

Oh please give us all a break - one set of stupid puerile lies for one war - and now two sets for expanding it further. Do they think all of us are as stupidly ignorant as they are? Evidently the answer to that question is "yes."

To hell with them.

10:31 pm  
Blogger markfromireland said...

Hmmm - i'm not in good temper - I'd better log off and coold down :-)

10:51 pm  
Anonymous graniab said...

Thank you Mark for sharing - I'll watch out in the newspaper for a story about enraged Irishman running amok in Helsinki. Where would be all be w/o the internet? I love the University of Texas website - great French grammar drills. Thank you Richard for making this all possible!

11:24 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Tahks for the contributions, everyone. But, bear with me a while -- something strange is going on with this blog-site -- stay tuned.

2:58 pm  
Blogger markfromireland said...

Greetings :-)

2 points:

1) Blogger is database driven and they've been doing upgrades - so all sorts of weirdnesses like a picture of Maggy appearing sans anything else - when I got here lates night - and then not being there a few minutes later.

It's likely SNAFU on somewhat underpowered servers running not yet entirely debugged code rather than sinister.

2) If you're on windows and haven't cleared your cache recently windows' inherently dippy memory management kicks in.

Try clearing history and temporary internet files.

Reboot the computer - and I don't mean re-start I mean bring it down completely & switch it off.

That can make a difference.

Point 2 should be done by everybody at least once a day btw. Microsoft do great consumer software. But their o/s memory management has never exactly been what you could call "good"

Hope this helps a bit.

3:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bbc page full of syrian stuff here

10:28 pm  
Anonymous Hydrocodone said...

sy1k7g The best blog you have!

9:36 am  

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