Since Bashar inherited the presidency speculations have been rampant as to whether he is truly in full control of all his security services. In fact, it has become common place to hear US policymakers openly speculating on the issue. Dennis Ross’s recent interview with the Arab “Al Moushahid Al Seyyasi” magazine is a case in point.
The interview demonstrates to what extent the
Dennis Ross’s assessment of the Syrian situation is not foreign to US officials. In fact, there already exists a special degree of interest in Assef Shawkat amongst many in US policy circles. The powerful head of Syrian military intelligence, and Bashar’s brother-in-law, has exhibited nothing but loyalty to his President thus far. Yet speculation is rife as to whether Shawkat (in particular) will change his ways if Bashar’s miscalculations continue to threaten regime survival.
The speculation amongst many observers of Syrian affairs is not unfounded. Several events in recent years cause one to question what is taking place amongst
The large scale operation to assassinate Hariri, along with attempts still unfolding in
Interestingly enough, in his embarrassing meeting with Crown Prince Abdullah, (which the Saudies then leaked to hsi further embarresment) Bashar told Abdallah that he was not responsible for Hariri’s death. He suggested that the Chief of Internal Intelligence in the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate was the one responsible, and that all found responsible will be punished. Since then, the once powerful Bahjat Suleiman has been demoted and returned to the headquarters on General Intelligence.
Since the Baath Party Conference in June, and in what seems to be an attempt at consolidation of power,