Alexander Decina and Katherine Nazemi in the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage: “Assad’s control over Syria’s security apparatus is limited”
Beneath an image of centralized authority is a divided system of competing security actors.
Earlier this month, Syria saw its most extensive security reshuffle since the bombing of the National Security Bureau headquarters in July 2012. More than half-a-dozen intelligence heads were appointed, promoted or retired, and more than 50 officers were transferred within the Ministry of Interior. Some might see this high-level and wide-ranging reshuffle as evidence of President Bashar al-Assad’s supremacy over the security apparatus. However, there are strong indications that Bashar’s control is far more constrained.