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President George Bush brennmerket Syrias to sikkerhetssjefer i Libanon, Ghazi Kanaan and Rustum Ghazali, og gjort alt økonomisk samkvem med dem forbudt.

The two men, Ghazi Kanaan and Rustum Ghazali, are pillars of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, and they served successively as Syria’s de facto rulers in Lebanon during the two-decade occupation that ended in April.

Mr. Kanaan is now Syria’s interior minister, but served until 2002 as chief of military intelligence in Lebanon, while Mr. Ghazali succeeded him as the intelligence chief there. The Treasury announcement noted that Mr. Ghazali was said to have threatened late last year, several months before Mr. Hariri was killed, that Syria was determined to physically harm anyone who caused a crisis of confidence in Lebanon.

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Flynt Leverett, the author of a new book «Inheriting Syria: Bashar’s Trial By Fire,» said he regarded the step as «part of a broader campaign by the Bush administration to up the pressure on Damascus, to see if, by ratcheting up the pressure, dynamics will be set in motion that will start the unraveling of the Assad regime.»

U.S. Freezes Assets of Syrian Officials Active in Lebanon