Majid Suleimen

Jurisdiction: Businessman

Majd Suleiman is the scion of Major General Bahjat Suleiman, the nephew of Hafez al-Assad, who was born to a Murshidi (a sub-division of the Alwi Sect) father and an ‘Alawi mother. Bahjat graduated from the Military College and enrolled in the Defense Companies[1], which were led at the time by the criminal Rif’at al-Assad. Bahjat became Rif’at al-Assad’s office manager and security officer for the Defense Companies. He then became one of the pillars of the Syrian intelligence services and one of the engineers of Bashar al-Assad’s assumption of power. Bashar appointed Bahjat ambassador to Jordan, from which Bahjat was eventually expelled.

Majd Suleiman represents the commercial façade for his father Bahjat[2], who amassed huge fortunes of money derived from his corrupt activities by charging anyone who wanted a meeting with Rif’at al-Assad. He also engaged in theft of building materials like cement, iron, and other materials, selling these materials to merchants on the black market, as well as smuggling between Syria and Lebanon and stealing weapons from Defense Companies armories and selling them to warring factions in the Lebanese civil war.

This situation continued until after the departure of Rif’at al-Assad from Syria, when Bahjat Suleiman gained the position of deputy head of the foreign branch in the General Intelligence Directorate after reporting Rif’at al-Assad’s plan to Hafez al-Assad[3]. He subsequently became the head of Branch 300 of the General Intelligence Directorate, and worked closely with Basil al-Assad to prepare the groundwork to enable Basil to assume power from his father. He played the same role with Bashar al-Assad upon Basil’s death, allowing him to continue imposing his authority over licenses in state ministries and directorates.

In 1998, Bahjat Suleiman – through his son Majd – imposed a partnership upon a Syrian-French businessman resident in Kuwait, Bashar Kiwan, owner of the newspaper al-Waseet in Kuwait and the Gulf states. Bashar Kiwan and Majd Suleiman’s partnership began with the launch of the United Group for Media and Publishing, which specialized in the publication of a number of technical and advertising newspapers and journals in Syria and other Arab states. These included Layalina, Baladna, Top Gear, Marie Claire, Fortune, al-Wasilah al-I’laniyyah, Concord Media for Road Advertisements, and the al-Balad newspaper in Lebanon and Kuwait, in addition to the al-Waseet advertising newspaper which was the backbone of the group. These publications gained a publishing license in a number of Arab and African states. Some were established and licensed in Europe and the United States. These successes led Majd Suleiman to become the Executive Director of the al-Waseet International Media Group AWA. The partnership between the two parties developed to include investment in the communications, banking, tourism, and real estate sectors.

In their foreign commercial businesses, Bashar Kiwan and Majd Suleiman were careful to communicate with the political leaderships of the countries in which they worked, and to employ their wealth far from popular scrutiny. They succeeded in establishing a partnership with the son of the former Jordanian prime minister, but the Jordanian secret police intervened to prevent this partnership, and also prevented the entry of Kiwan into Jordan.

At the same time, Kiwan and Suleiman were able to gain the right to publish the Saudi version of al-Hayat. This led Saudi Arabia into controversy following the publication of reports and news relating to Jewish sites in Saudi Arabia that attracted requests by Jews to visit Saudi Arabia. This led Kiwan and Majd to lose their publishing license, and led the former to be banned from entering Saudi Arabia.

Kiwan and Suleiman then moved into the business of acting as intermediaries and brokers between the French Rafael airplane company and Arab states interested in buying Rafael planes. They succeeded in concluding numerous deals and realizing high profits from them. Recent years have witnessed noteworthy activity on the part of Kiwan and Suleiman in Comoros, where the state apparatus agreed – despite major opposition from parliament – to sell Comoros nationality to businesspersons  who face challenges with mobility because of their nationalities. Kiwan and Suleiman’s role is limited to mediation and brokerage between businesspersons  and the Comoros government, but Kiwan played an active role in Comoros’ presidential elections after successfully securing major revenues for the poor country from the sale of passports.

Majd Suleiman has used all of the media services that he owns to disseminate propaganda for the Syrian regime since March 2011. He also helped fund the Shabihah who participated directly in repressing the Syrian people. In turn, Syrians organized a campaign to boycott the United Group company and its publications.

In the middle of 2011, Yusef al-Nassar, the Kuwaiti former managing editor of al-Balad, reported Bashar Kiwan and his partner Majd Suleiman to Kuwaiti authorities for money laundering in Kuwait and other states in Africa and elsewhere, in addition to sex trafficking, drug trafficking, and spying for the Syrian regime in Kuwait. Nassar presented evidence suggesting that the al-Waseet media company and most of the media subsidiaries of the United Group for Publication are losing money, and quite a bit of it. One of these companies, based in Kuwait, loses as much as 25,000 Kuwaiti dinars per day.

These accusations influenced Kuwaiti public opinion. Bashar Kiwan and his partner Majd Suleiman were attacked on social media and in parliament, and were accused of spying on behalf of the Syrian intelligence services. This led to the restriction of their commercial activities in Kuwait[4].

Bahjat Suleiman is considered the main benefactor of his son Majd’s activity in money laundering on behalf of the Syrian regime at the global level and through global partners. The directors of the office of Bahjat Suleiman and his retinue became millionaires using the millions of dollars that Bahjat gave to his children Majd and Haydarah under the eyes and supervision of the regime[5].

[1] Defense Companies: A sectarian regime unit that has committed the worst massacres in the 1980s, and subsequently after the departure of Rif’at al-Assad from Syria were renamed the Fourth Division, led by Major General Rif’at al-Assad, the brother of Bashar al-Assad. The Fourth Division committed many massacres against the Syrian people throughout Syria since the beginning of the Syrian revolution in 2011 until the present time.

[2] This file is in the name of Majd Suleiman and perhaps includes much information about his father Bahjat Suleiman, given that Majd is no more than a commercial façade for this father.

[3] According to a special report by Zaman al-Wasl:

[4] “Majd Sulayman is the ‘boy’ of the secret police, and the ‘idiot’ millionaire,” Iqtisad, Mal, wa A’mal al-Suriyyin:

[5] Haydarah Bahjat Sulayman works as director of publishing and executive director for the Baladna News media network, belonging to the United Group company.