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Syria's spy chiefs meet untimely deaths

Ten years following the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon, many of the Syrian security officers who once ruled Beirut are now slowly disappearing within Syria.
Syrians carry returning intelligence chief in Lebanon, Rustum Ghazaleh, in Damascus April 26, 2005. The last Syrian soldiers and intelligence agents left Lebanon on Tuesday, ending three decades of Syria's direct involvement in its small neighbour. As their buses crossed the frontier, many Lebanese hailed the completion of a withdrawal that had taken seven weeks as the start of a new era. But although Damascus's domination is past, many believe its influence in Lebanon is far from over. REUTERS / Khaled al-

It seems that a curse has befallen the Syrian intelligence officers who took up posts under the Syrian tutelage in Lebanon from 1990 to 2005. Ten years following the withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon on April 26, 2005, a series of tragic events has befallen these security officials. One by one, their names have been struck off the "Lebanon’s Syrians" list. Most recently, Rustom Ghazaleh was pronounced dead in Damascus on April 24. His death came weeks after news of a mysterious accident in February, involving his beating and torture at the hands of a Damascus intelligence branch.

Ghazi Kanaan was the first to be struck by the “Lebanese curse.” He came to Lebanon in 1984 as head of Syria's security apparatus in Lebanon, assigned to the post by the late Syrian President Hafez al-Assad. Not long after the Syrian army took full control of Lebanon in the fall of 1990, Kanaan became the de facto ruler of the Lebanese Republic. He would suggest a candidate for Lebanon's presidential elections, and impose ministers, members of parliament and public administration employees. He continued to have full rein over Lebanon until his superiors moved him from Beirut to Damascus in October 2002.

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