"Khaddam was an important adviser to Hafez Assad and later to Bashar Assad before he resigned at the Baath Party congress in June. He visited Hariri’s grieving family the day after the slaying, calling the assassination an "earthquake" that would reshape Syrian and Lebanese politics.
Despite his public break with Assad’s government, which he attributed to internal corruption and the slow pace of reform, Khaddam said in the interview Friday that he left Syria on good terms with Assad, although the two had "differences of opinion."" Washpost
Subtext – "Consigliere abandons son of "The Boss," seeks his own way in the world." There really is no honor among thieves, despots, and despot wannabes. Abd al-Halim Khaddam was a favored henchman for Hafez al-Assad for many years, serving in a variety of ministerial posts and ending as a vice president. He is from the Sunni faction of the Syrian Baath Party. He has always resented the new Assad. It was hoped by those on the Sunni side of the Syrian Baath that it would be possible to ease the young man out of the succession, but that failed in face of opposition from the largely Alawi leadership of the army and security services. This was a great disappointment in Sunni Arab circles across the Middle East and especially among the moneyed oil people. Bashar has proven unable to master his difficulties, unable to reform the political, economic and international challenges facing the country, and so he is vulnerable.
Oil country money and influence backs the idea of removing him. The United States has followed the "leader" in this matter. Rafik Hariri? He has become an interesting symbol of the possibility of reforms which he never really favored. He, too, was a more or less faithful ally and subordinate of Hafez al-Assad for many years. Now the Sunni, US and French pressure applied to Syria is beginning to look serious. "Regime Change" as a policy now seems to be an open prospect. Up until now, no serious candidate has been located to take the doctor’s place.
This man is a little long in the tooth, but might serve.