Arab Countries


Materials addressing U.S. and British involvement (or the lack of it) in Syrian affairs in the period 1949 to 1961 are in a separate Covert Action/Syria file.

Included here:

1. To 2009

2. From 2010

1. To 2009

Bennett, Richard. "Syria's Intelligence Services: A Primer." http://www.thepalmerpress.com/syria_EXP.html [Jack Morris ceased maintaining this site on 7/1/05].

"A special assessment on Syria's several intelligence services acquired from the archives of the Middle East Intelligence Bulletin."

Rathmell, Andrew. "Brotherly Enemies: The Rise and Fall of the Syrian-Egyptian Intelligence Axis, 1954-1967." Intelligence and National Security 13, no. 1 (Spring 1998): 230-253.

This is the story "of allied services whose ties helped bring about a union between their two states. However, after the collapse of the union the services concentrated their energies on attacking each other."

Rathmell, Andrew. "Syria's Intelligence Services: Origins and Development." Journal of Conflict Studies 16, no. 2 (Fall 1996). [http://www.lib.unb.ca]

The Syrian intelligence services, or mukhabarat, play a "crucial role in buttressing [President Hafiz al-Asad's] authoritarian rule," as well as a "major role[] in Syria's foreign affairs. Their involvement in terrorism is most well-known, but they have also become, notably in Lebanon, leading arbiters of foreign policy in their own rights." [footnote omitted]

Sherlock, Ruth, and Carol Malouf. "Bashar al-Assad's Spy Chief Arrested over Syria Coup Plot." Telegraph (London), 11 May 2015. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]

The Assad regime has placed Ali Mamlouk, head of Syria's National Security Bureau, "under house arrest after suspecting he was plotting a coup." He "was accused of holding secret talks with countries backing rebel groups and exiled members of the Syrian regime. Prior to Mamlouk's arrest, the Syrian intelligence agencies were "in turmoil.... Last month, Rustum Ghazaleh, the head of the Political Security Directorate, died in hospital after he was physically attacked by men loyal to General Rafiq Shehadeh, his opposite number in military intelligence, who was in turn sacked."

Thomas, Martin. "Crisis Management in Colonial States: Intelligence and Counter-Insurgency in Morocco and Syria after the First World War." Intelligence and National Security 21, no. 5 (Oct. 2006): 697-716.

This article "analyses the performance of French security services confronted with violent unrest and communal rebellion in Morocco and Syria in the 1920s.... [T]he central proposition ... is that the inter-war protectorates, mandates and colonies stretching in an arc through the Arab world were 'intelligence states.'"

Wege, Carl Anthony.

1. "Assad's Legions: The Syrian Intelligence Services." International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 4, no. 1 (Spring 1990): 91-100.

2. "The Syrian Socialist Party: An Intelligence Asset?" International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 7, no. 3 (Fall 1994): 339-351.

The author argues that the Syrian Social Nationalist Party is an operational asset for Syrian intelligence services.

2. From 2010

Schmitt, Eric. "C.I.A. Said to Aid in Steering Arms to Syrian Opposition." New York Times, 21 Jun. 2012. [http://www.nytimes.com]

According to U.S officials and Arab intelligence officers, "[a] small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government.... The weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria's Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said."

Whitlock, Craig. "U.S. Secretly Backed Syrian Opposition Groups, Cables Released by WikiLeaks Show." Washington Post, 17 Apr. 2011. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to classified U.S. diplomatic cables provided by WikiLeaks, "[t]he State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel [Barada TV] that beams anti-government programming into the country." The "cables show that the State Department has funneled as much as $6 million to the [Movement for Justice and Development, a London-based network of Syrian exiles,] since 2006 to operate the satellite channel and finance other activities inside Syria....

"The U.S. money for Syrian opposition figures began flowing under President George W. Bush after he effectively froze political ties with Damascus in 2005. The financial backing has continued under President Obama.... It is unclear whether the State Department is still funding Syrian opposition groups, but the cables indicate money was set aside at least through September 2010."

Miller, Greg. "CIA Ramping Up Covert Training Program for Moderate Syrian Rebels." Washington Post, 2 Oct. 2013. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

According to U.S. officials, the CIA "has sent additional paramilitary teams to secret bases in Jordan in recent weeks in a push to double the number of rebel fighters getting CIA instruction and weapons before being sent back to Syria. The agency has trained fewer than 1,000 rebel fighters this year, current and former U.S. officials said.... The descriptions of the CIA training program provide the most detailed account to date of the limited dimensions and daunting objectives of a CIA operation that President Obama secretly authorized in a covert action finding he signed this year."

Miller, Greg, and Joby Warrick. "CIA Preparing to Deliver Rebels Arms through Turkey and Jordan." Washington Post, 14 Jun. 2013. [http://www.washingtonpost.com]

"The CIA is preparing to deliver arms to rebel groups in Syria through clandestine bases in Turkey and Jordan that were expanded over the past year in an effort to establish reliable supply routes into the country for nonlethal material, U.S. officials said.... U.S. officials involved in the planning of the new policy of increased military support ... said that the CIA has developed a clearer understanding of the composition of rebel forces.... Within the past year, the CIA also created a new office at its headquarters in Langley to oversee its expanding operational role in Syria."

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