Middle East Intelligence Bulletin
Jointly published by the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon and the Middle East Forum
  Vol. 2   No. 5

1 June 2000 


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Intelligence Briefs: Syria

Syrian-Iraqi oil pipeline will open in 3 months (19 April 2000)
Bashar Assad meets with Israeli Arab MK (25 April 2000)
Turkish security forces clash with armed Syrian infiltrators (28 April 2000)
Assad reportedly suffers stroke (30 April 2000)
Tlass meets with visiting Pakistani military delegation (7 May 2000)
Jordan may downgrade diplomatic ties with Syria (8 May 2000)
Turkey, Syria to improve trade relations (10 May 2000)
Egypt, Saudi Arabia reportedly promise military support to Syria against Israel (13 May 2000)
Miru meets with North Korean delegation (13 May 2000)

Syrian-Iraqi oil pipeline will open in 3 months
19 April 2000

Al-Hayat (London) reported today that the Syrian-Iraqi oil pipeline linking Iraq's Kirkouk oil fields with the Syrian port of Banias will be opened within three months.

Bashar Assad
Bashar Assad
Bashar Assad meets with Israeli Arab MK
25 April 2000

Israeli Arab Knesset member Azmi Bisharah held a three hour meeting in Damascus today with Bashar Assad, the son and heir apparent of Syrian President Hafez Assad. Bashar reportedly questioned Bisharah about political trends in Israel and the prospects for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights. Bisharah was scheduled to meet with Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq al-Shar'a the following day.

Turkish security forces clash with armed Syrian infiltrators
28 April 2000

The Anatolia news agency (Ankara) reported today that a clash took place in Turkey's southern Sanliurfa province between security forces and a band of armed Syrian gunmen who had tried to cross the border illegally. Security forces patrolling the border region tried to stop the gunmen, who responded by opening fire. Officials said that the fighting lasted nearly two hours and several of the Syrians were killed.

Assad reportedly suffers stroke
30 April 2000

The Sunday Telegraph (London) reported today that Syrian President Hafez Assad suffered a stroke earlier this Spring, leaving him incapacitated for several days. He did not fully recover from the stroke, which has left him with severely impaired eyesight and extremely weak stamina. The report said that Assad was injected with large amounts of steroids prior to his summit in March with U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Tlass meets with visiting Pakistani military delegation
7 May 2000

Syrian Arab Republic Radio reported that Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass met today with a Pakistani military delegation headed by Pakistani Air Force General Nash'at Rifa'i. The talks focused on strategic developments in the region and ways of bolstering military cooperation between the two countries.

Jordan may downgrade diplomatic ties with Syria
8 May 2000

Al-Majd (Amman) reported today that Jordanian Prime Minister Abd-al-Ra'uf al-Rawabidah has recommended that King Abdullah not appoint a new ambassador to Syria to succeed Nasuh al-Majali, who recently retired. Al-Rawabidah advocated downgrading the ties to the level of charge d'affaires based on the principle of reciprocity-- Syria has refused to appoint an ambassador to the Kingdom for several years. Al-Rawbidah and his cabinet collectively boycotted a reception hosted by the Syrian embassy in Amman on April 17 on the occasion of Syria's Independence Day. The only senior government official who attended the ceremony was Abd al-Hadi al-Majali, the speaker of the House of Representatives, who is a political rival of al-Rawabidah.

Turkey, Syria to improve trade relations
10 May 2000

The Anatolia News Agency (Ankara) reported today that three days of meetings by the Syrian-Turkish Joint Economic Commission (JEC) have resulted in a number of decisions which will improve trade relations between the two countries. Turkish Minister of State Recep Onal and Syrian Economy and Foreign Trade Minister Muhammad al-Imadi signed a memorandum of understanding that will supposedly facilitate mutual investments.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia reportedly promise military support to Syria against Israel
13 May 2000

Al-Ahram al-Arabi (Cairo) reported today that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have promised to offer military support to Syria in the event of "Israeli aggression." The paper cited informed Lebanese sources as saying that Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr Musa and Saudi Foreign Minister Sa'ud al-Faisal made the promise to Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Shar'a during their discussions in Cairo.

Miru meets with North Korean delegation
13 May 2000

The Syrian Arab News Agency (Damascus) reported today that Prime Minister Muhammad Mustafa Miru met with a North Korean delegation headed by Jang Chol, the vice chairman of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly to discuss political and economic cooperation between the two countries. Shakir Is'ayyid, head of the Syrian parliament's Arab and Foreign Affairs Committee, also attended the meeting.

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