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Thursday, April 7, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Report: Assad used blood ties and bloodletting
to stave off uprising

TEL AVIV — The regime of President Bashar Assad has retained the support of Syria's military and security forces, a report said.


The report by the Institute for National Security Studies asserted that the Assad regime has maintained sufficient support to quell the uprising in Syria. Authored by Eyal Zisser, the report said Assad's regime, despite battles throughout the country, was more secure than in Egypt and Tunisia.

"Moreover, in Syria, unlike Egypt, the regime continues to enjoy the unconditional support of the army and security forces," the report, titled "The Syria of Bashar Al Asad: At a Crossroads," said. "These, unlike the Egyptian and Tunisian militaries, have not hesitated to disperse the demonstrations with brute and even lethal force."

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Zisser, an Israeli reserve military intelligence officer, has been regarded as a leading Israeli analyst on Syria. He has been retained as a consultant to both the Israeli military and government regarding the intentions of Assad.

The report said the Syrian military command was linked to Assad through family and religious connections, Middle East Newsline reported. Zisser said commanders have determined that they shared the same fate as the Syrian president.

"Indeed, the leaders of the Syrian army, most of whom are members of the Syrian president's family, tribe, or ethnic group, know that unlike Egypt, where the Egyptian defense minister took the reins of government from Mubarak and became the favorite son of Tahrir Square, in Syria the protesters also want the heads of the top brass of the army and security forces, so that if Bashar falls, they fall too," the report said.

The report said Assad was determined to quell the unrest regardless of bloodshed. Syrian security forces were said to have opened fire repeatedly against protesters in such cities as Dera and Latakia.

"The Syrian regime has been dealt a blow, certainly to its image, as the protests have erupted throughout Syria, but it remains standing and prepared to fight fire with fire," the report said. "Indeed, over the past few weeks the regime has proven its strength by recruiting hundreds of thousands of protestors, most of whom are brought in by the government apparatus in an organized fashion to show support for Bashar and his regime."

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