Accounts loyal to the Syrian regime, on social media platforms, mourned Sunday morning over Zuhair Shalish, better known as “Dhu al-Himma Shalish”, a prominent intelligence official, cousin of President Bashar al-Assad, at the age of 70.
The same reports say that Shalish died on Saturday night in the Al-Razi hospital in Damascus, and he was buried on Sunday in his hometown of Qardaha in the Latakia countryside on the Syrian coast.
Shalish, born in 1956, held a series of high-ranking positions until 2019, which coincided with news that he had been relieved of all duties due to embezzlement cases, and Shalish was also targeted by European and American sanctions imposed on the Syrian regime.
Shalish began his career working with Rifaat al-Assad, the brother of the former regime president, before turning in favor of his brother Hafez following the dispute between the two brothers in the 1980s. In Syria, to be the source of exchange for the convoy to protect the head of the regime.
According to information spread about Zuhair Shalish, he was the official of the Syrian Foreign Intelligence, and is accused of playing a prominent role in suppressing the protests against President Bashar al-Assad during the early stages of the revolution, and because he was a major. funder and organizer of the regime’s militias.
Zul Himma owns SIS International, which is active in the construction and import sectors. He is also the brother of Riad Shalish, director of the state construction company, the Military Housing Corporation, which he transformed into his own company in the 1990s.
Zulhima Shalish played a prominent role in suppressing protests against President Bashar al-Assad, who urged the European Union and the United States to include his name, along with a number of government officials for their role in the violent repression of protesters during the early stages of the revolution, and to be a great funder and organizer.
Ordinary death or liquidation?
Yahya al-Aridi, a member of the Syrian Negotiating Committee, confirmed to TRT Arabi that “what governs the work of the Assad gang is a special law that has nothing to do with the natural law of mankind, since nothing is forbidden, there is no deterrent, no control measures, no uses, as the gang takes refuge in its control measures and uses and what guarantees are kept at all costs. ”
Al-Aridi does not rule out all the hypotheses and possibilities in light of Shalish’s liquidation, adding that “Dhul-Himma Shalish was an organic part of the system, and the approach he followed was criminal or out of greed. “which helped him raise large sums of money and property by taking advantage of his relations with the regime.”
Al-Aridi believes the regime can benefit from Shalish’s death for two reasons: the first is to appear as if it is implementing reforms before the international community and to promote the fight against corruption as part of the steps it is seeking to rehabilitate. that, and the second is that it may be an attempt by the regime to get rid of its men who have committed crimes so that they would not be witnesses of it.
Al-Aridi stressed that “the authoritarian regime has a flaw, as it has recently begun to liquidate some of them,” but he kept the hypothesis of its liquidation within the framework of “desirable thinking”.
In turn, Syrian opposition businessman Firas Tlass (son of former Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass) confirmed to TRT Arabi that Shalish’s death was natural and that the latter had been ill for some time.
Indications to get rid of it
In turn, the author and political researcher Ahmed Al-Hammadi saw indications that the Shalish regime was getting rid of, including “dropping the name of Bashar al-Assad and his brother Maher from the nickname, as it is known in the captions published by those close to the family to name the origin, branches and degree of kinship of the Assad family, especially with personalities The weight and the political and military center to indicate the status of the deceased, which not mentioned in Shalish’s nickname.
In an interview with TRT Arabic, Al-Hammadi asked: “If his death was natural, why all this big safety warning and the closure of roads in Qardaha, Latakia and Tartous to the expansion of the Homs countryside ?!”, and added. that “the warning was not limited to the Syrian security and military forces, but extended to the forces. , erected, with helicopters and Russian drones flying for follow-up and control.
Al-Hammadi also noted that clashes took place in Lattakia following the announcement of the death of Dhul-Himma Shalish, among whom were members of the Shalish family, “confirming that the death is not natural, and it is likely that “he will be killed because of the regime’s financial inability to cover its expenses, as it did with Rami Makhlouf, the cousin of Bashar al-Assad.” .
Shalish’s money is in Makhlouf’s footsteps
Regarding the money and property of Shalish, the lawyer and human rights activist in the Syrian revolution, Abdel Nasser Hoshan, said that those who rule Syria are the criminals and thieves of the Assad family and their relatives and in-laws, whether from the Shalish. family or of the Makhlouf family, indicating that they are divided into classes “origins and branches,” and the Shalish family. They come in third place to the Al-Assad and Makhlouf families.
Hoshan added in a statement to TRT Arabic: “If we link the process of seizure of Rami Makhlouf’s wealth and the death of Dhul-Himma Shalish, we will find that wealth is the motive behind his death, especially since the one who this operation is led by Asma al-Assad through her men and gang who have spread them to centers of power and influence, run by the front of the “Syrian Trust for Development”, which presides over its Council of Elders and which is the movement control of any money or to enter or leave Syria, whether relief, humanitarian or commercial support.
Hoshan added, “Therefore, it is not excluded that this gang, of which the world testifies, described him with experience and excellence in this field, since after his death international sanctions will fall on him because they are personal sanctions, and therefore his wealth. will be passed on to Bashar al-Assad by his heirs. “
In turn, political writer and researcher at Jusoor Center for Studies, Wael Alwan, said: “There is no accurate information available on the causes of Shalish’s death, but it does not deny the fact that the regime has turned into mafia gangs, and the latter revolves around influence, power and money, and his death may be part of that process, but not necessarily. “
Alwan added in a statement to TRT Arabic: “Shalish has a large amount of information, and he is part of a large corruption system that is now being reformed within the framework of the redistribution of money and power based on the new reality. “
Shalish and Western sanctions
Shalish has run tenders for the most valuable oil and road projects in Syria. His brother, Riad Shalish, was director of the Military Construction Corporation, which has been responsible for the largest projects in Syria for more than 30 years, accused of corruption turning it into his own company.
Shalish has a long history with the US sanctions program dating back to the era of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. In June 2005, the US government imposed sanctions on Dhul-Himma, his cousin Asif Issa Shalish and their international company “SES”. , in connection with the violation of previous sanctions imposed on Iraq.
According to the US Treasury, Shalish Saddam Hussein’s regime helped gain access to the weapons systems by falsifying end-use certificates and sending the weapons to Iraq instead of Syria.
It is also included in the sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States on officials in the Syrian regime following the outbreak of the Syrian revolution in 2011.