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Saturday, February 11, 2006 

Syrian government reshuffle

Farouq Ash-Sharaa becomes Vice-President (to replace Abdul Halim Khaddam who went into exile in Paris last year)

Walid Muallem becomes Foreign Minister (replacing Sharaa)

Bassam Abdel Majeed becomes Interior Minister (to replace Ghazi Kanaan who commited suicide)

Muallem is clearly a more moderate figure than Sharaa who has inflamed international opinion against Syria with his hardline stance. Is Bashar's promotion of Sharaa to Vice-President a way of keeping him quiet?

That is exactly what happened to Khaddam - he was seen as one of the strongest contenders for the leadership, and Bashar needed somewhere to put him out to graze. It is the ineffectual position of Vice-President that eventually drove him into exile.

Having Sharaa as vice president might have more meaning than just to keep him quiet ,As you all know Sharaa is the highest syrian ever to meet the prime minster of Israel and this move could be a sign i hope Israel will not miss as they have been doing to proceed with peace as soon as posible.

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