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Sunday, November 06, 2005 

Mehlis can question Showkat and Maher Al-Assad ... in private

In a shock announcement, Syria says it will allow Maher Al-Assad and Asif Showkat to be interviewed in private by the UN investigator.

They are the two members of Bashar's inner circle who Mehlis pointed the finger at for the Hariri murder.

"Mehlis can meet them completely alone, even choose a place in Damascus with a UN flag," Sami Khyami - Syria's Ambassador to London said.

He even suggested that Mehlis would be able to meet Bashar Al-Assad if he wants to.

American sources were quoted last week as reporting a mass flight of capital from Syria to banks in the Gulf region in anticipation of the publication of a list of senior officials of the Assad regime who are suspected of being involved in the assassination of Lebanon's Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The names of six officers were published Saturday.
The London-based Al Hayat quoted U.S. officials as saying, several wealthy Syrian businessmen, among them close associates of the regime, have transferred billions of dollars and moved their businesses to the Gulf region.
This latest development has been reflecting the fears within the Syrian business community about the possible collapse of the Baath regime following the adoption of U.N. resolution 1636, which ordered Syria to cooperate "fully and unconditionally" with the UN investigation team. It also manifests the lack of confidence in the Syrian economy, analysts claim.
No names were mentioned in Al Hayat's report, but Albawaba sources in the Gulf region indicate that Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the main destinations for the Syrians. However, Albawaba sources can confirm that one of those businessmen, who moved his businesses to the Gulf region is Rami Makhlouf.
Makhlouf is a first cousin of Syrian president, Bashar Assad, and is considered one of the most powerful economic figures in Syria. In the past, business circles claimed no foreign companies could do business in Syria without his consent.
Among others, Makhlouf controls the country's mobile phone network, SyriaTel. It should be recalled that the Syrian tycoon is the son of Adnan Makhlouf, the former commander of the Syrian Republican Guard.

Syria should move to take the lead and call Mehles to Syria to meet with president Asad to discus the investigation and to apoint a Syrian commitee to work with Mehles to find the truth.Asad should not wait for Mehles to ask for a meeting as that will insult Syria and the president.

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