At this stage, the “battle for Syria” is a specific role for foreign intelligence agencies, which in the summer of this year, significantly expanded its operations in the country. American, British, Turkish, French and Qatari and Saudi secret services are particularly active on the weakening of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Their subversive work is multifaceted. Until recently, Western intelligence agencies have shown themselves very carefully. This was explained by fears of the U.S. and its European allies to help to strengthen the Islamist component of the Syrian opposition. Because of this the initial work on Syria in a new environment they had a task to set up and establish contacts with Islamic opposition. Once this was achieved, their interaction with opponents Assad markedly increased, and so far in this area has developed a certain “division of labor”.
Ensuring the supply chain and finance arms Assad opponents
Until recently, the main task of the opposition to supply everything you need, including weapons, carried out mainly Qatari, Saudi and Turkish security forces. Their Western counterparts were largely confined to the latest diversion of special means of communication to facilitate the transfer of information outside of Syria and allow the opposition to communicate with virtually no risk of being intercepted by Syrian security forces.
The case detection by Syrian security forces have killed militants special samples of high-precision weapons like sniper rifles Austrian Steyr explained by the fact that the same Qataris being moved to Syria from its own stockpiles.
But now, due to a significant expansion of the fighting, previous approaches revised increase of subversion against the Assad regime. So, in the beginning of August in the open access information leaked that President Barack Obama signed a secret decree authorizing the CIA to supply the Syrian opposition more modern weapons and to provide limited financial assistance to her. Meanwhile, according to U.S. sources, a new beginning is in May of this year
Until recently, most of the illegally supplied weapons to Syria was basically the old Soviet weapons with Bulgarian warehouses, as well as from the Libyan arsenals. However, it is necessary to fight the Syrian army combat equipment of modern anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles (ATGM and MANPADS) militants have been scarce. According to U.S. sources, Obama’s decision to allow a large extent solve the problem: in the beginning of June to Syria hit first series of ATRA. Was selected for the delivery of Russian-made weapons. According to sources in the U.S., ATGM “Metis-M” and “Kornet-E” are purchased in third countries. After that, in July and August, from Libya to Syria were transferred MANPADS Soviet production.
But in this case, the U.S. intelligence services actually perform only an intermediary, helping the Saudi and Qatari counterparts to implement the technical part of the deal and deliver it to the starting point smuggle in Syria, including Jordan and Turkey. On a similar scheme in the supply of weapons involved and France, although made on September 14 during a visit to Beirut public refusal of the Minister of Defence of France, Jean-Yves Le Drian arming the Syrian opposition. In particular, Paris helps Qatar deliver to Turkey and Jordan, assault rifles and grenade launchers, which are paid again on Qatari money.
On a similar scheme of the British security services, which are also not directly involved weapons-delivery, preferring to act through intermediaries.
Meanwhile, Western intelligence agencies have an important role in the armory of the chain, at least, through the Bulgarian state company Kintex, is engaged in the export of arms. According to reports, the weapon is carried in Syria “with the logistical support of a number of Western intelligence agencies, including (French Intelligence. – Ed.) DGSE”.
In turn, the Turkish secret services, which until recently were most active in Syria, the opposition deliver a better explosives. Earlier, in the absence of TNT, plastic explosives and other explosives, opposition fighters used against the Syrian army homemade explosives based fertilizers, inherent in the metal pipes.
But ensuring the transfer of all necessary Syrian militants is not limited to weapons and explosives. This effort also includes the continued delivery of special means of communication (seen in the U.S. and to a lesser extent the French secret services) and providing financial support. This direction is the work of foreign intelligence services in Syria since the start of the conflict lay primarily on the Saudi and Qatari security services, which are paid the lion’s share of the cost of doing subversive work against the Assad regime. To a lesser extent in this area worked their Western counterparts.
West provides financial support rather sparingly and rather makes it symbolically to enhance the effect of the provision of assistance, both supporters and opponents to Assad. So, for example, has already leaked information about the recent allocation of the State Department in a “one-off mode,” the Syrian opposition in the amount of $ 15 million. Another important article replenishment opposition are raising cash of living in the Western states, from Arab countries. This helps to minimize their costs of western countries to overthrow the Assad regime.
The decomposition of the ruling elite
One of the most important in the “Battle for Syria” activities of foreign intelligence services is to establish or resume contact with the functionaries of Assad, inducing them to flee and to provide them safe passage. First of all, this problem is implementing the French DGSE, which organized the flight from Syria Brigadier Manaf Tlaasa and several other senior functionaries of the regime. Part of this work take on the Qatari and Saudi secret services, who mixed success trying to persuade him to move to the opposition Syrian diplomats.
Especially important are the U.S. and, to a lesser extent, the French secret service to supply the opposition intelligence on troop movements regime and data radio communications. The latter is carried out with Turkey, Israel, from specially equipped ships in the Mediterranean. Equally important is the work of spy satellites, the information with which regularly transmits the opposition, allowing it time to go away from the blow of government forces or, alternatively, to make successful raids.
A particularly important task of the secret services of Western countries regarding Syria – training opposition forces and facilitate their transfer to the conflict zone. Since the beginning of the summer this year in neighboring Syria, the country, including Jordan and Turkey, came strength of special units from the U.S., UK and France, as well as enhanced staff stations in those countries under the pretext that they are needed for the case where the Assad regime will collapse and will need as soon as possible to control of chemical weapons in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of the Salafis.
But this was only one of the tasks of Western intelligence services. Thus, the Turkish and French press reported that French intelligence services are engaged in Turkey specialized training for street fighting militants. There is evidence of participation in the training of British intelligence and special forces.
According to sources from Amman, in Jordan only, which is the second most important “springboard” struggle for Syria, finalizing the above “10,000 Libyans”, after which they must throw on Syrian territory. This includes not only the citizens of Libya, and other North African countries, including notable are Algerians and Egyptians.
Preparation and supply of pay Saudi Arabia and Qatar. According to reports, monthly allowance of one such soldier is more than a thousand dollars.
For these purposes, in particular, uses a special operational training center of King Abdullah II (KASOTC), created around Amman in 2009 by American and Saudi allies. In late May of this year, there was training of special forces antiasadovskih countries, including Saudi Arabia, under the U.S. command, which so nervously took the official Damascus.
As for the training itself Syrians, it is under the guidance of experienced instructors with the CIA and its Arab allies. And it’s not about training from scratch. Special training is primarily “people with experience,” many of whom are former officers of the Syrian army.
Similarly, it is with the participation of Western intelligence agencies to train the opposition in Jordan and Turkey. Despite the fact that it is under the guidance of their instructors, they really try not to appear, preferring to provide technical work Jordanian, Saudi and Turkish counterparts. The exception is the training of the transfer of encrypted messages. The training program is aimed at the destruction or seizure of protected sites, including special forces and fight against the Syrian Air Force, the Alawite units, considered one of the most loyal to the regime.
Question of the participation of Western intelligence agencies in fighting in Syria
Despite the fact that the Syrian government sources have repeatedly pointed to the involvement of employees in the conduct of Western intelligence agencies subversive activities and operations in Syria, the Syrian security officials so far only been able to intercept certain types of special equipment or weapons. Nevertheless, in the English language and the Israeli media as there were reports that the special forces of NATO countries in coordination with the intelligence agencies of Western countries have conducted limited independent “intelligence operations” in the border area.
In particular, such information comes from Turkey, where, according to local sources, 26 June British special forces had one of these raids. In these circumstances, is not excluded, and further limited participation of such forces in special operations. For example, despite the fact that it is free Syrian army claimed the destruction of several radar stations along the border with Jordan (the Assad regime has deprived the possibility to obtain relevant information throughout the south-eastern Syrian border), security sources ATS believe that this is the work of “Special Forces CIA.” The meaning of such activities of foreign intelligence services is to transform the Syrian border area in the free zones Assad forces in the future will create staging areas for possible intervention.
The role of Saudi intelligence
Important role in the destabilization of the Syrian regime is the work of Saudi intelligence, traditionally having a wide network of agents in Syria and the region as a whole. Special attention is paid to their Lebanese tracks, through which CAP is still being transferred much of the supplies it with the volume of arms.
Meanwhile, the Saudis have not managed to cope with the challenges they face. It is no accident July 19, King Abdullah dismissed the head of Saudi General Intelligence Service (PDS) Mukrina bin Abdul Aziz, who had to leave the post on or after 2013, and replaced him with Prince Bandar bin Sultan. Before Bandar bin Sultan delivered a double task: expanding covert operations of the kingdom in the region to accelerate the fall of the regime of Bashar al-Assad and providing a counterweight to Iranian expansion in the Middle East.
In many ways, the decision came through the CIA, David Petraeus, the head of which specifically met with King Abdullah in the ten days prior to the appointment of Bandar. The latter was the U.S. ambassador to the CSA in 2005 for 22 years and therefore has personal connections and acquaintances in the American establishment, including the leadership of the U.S. intelligence services.
Although the Saudi authorities have sought to explain care Mukrina allegedly aggravated his liver disease, but in reality there are other reasons.
An important point of destination Bandar bin Sultan is its ability to covert organization of negotiations with Russia.
After all, he was the architect of rapprochement Riyadh and Moscow in 2007 Since that time, the individual focus of his work is the change of the Russian position regarding support for the Syrian regime. And in this he has great potential, given its ability to enter the leadership of the Russian special services and Russian Security Council.
In addition, the resignation Mukrina not least due to its inertness and lack of real progress in strengthening the GRA. It is no accident Bandar bin Sultan after his arrival took steps to attract new employees and professionalism already working.
The work it performs in tandem with his son Abdulaziz bin Bandar, who was considered the number two figure in the PDS in 2003 and is the unofficial rival Prince Mukrina in this special service. Given that his mother, Princess Haifa bin Faisal, the sister of Turki bin Faisal, who led the COP from 1977 to 2001., 35-year-old Abdulaziz is hereditary secret services. However, his uncle, Saud bin Faisal, who served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, and to some extent connected with the secret services.
Coordinating the work of foreign intelligence services in Syria
Great importance in the management of subversive activities against the Assad regime is given coordination. Thus, the work of militant training CIA performs together with the Jordanian General Intelligence Service, with which it has operated successfully in the recent war in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as with Saudi security forces. A separate area of their activities – training “new Syrian intelligence services.” Among their tasks – keeping and identification counterintelligence agents in the ranks of the opposition.
The need for such work is visible from the example of the relevant US-Turkish contacts due to the fact that the Turkish security forces largely paralyzed as a result of deterioration of the Kurdish question. Leaders MIT in September often gave rise allies of the United States to understand that in a sharp activation of the PKK, including serving on the Syrian territory, it is not able to fully participate in the operation against the Assad regime, and therefore request the necessary action to suppress Kurdish separatists of intelligence, primarily resulting spy satellites.
The seriousness of the situation at the Turkish border region indicates that the request was played at least twice: on September 17-18 at the meetings in Ankara, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, USA with representatives of the Turkish military and political leaders, and September 2-3 the relevant consultations in Turkey’s capital head of the CIA David Petraeus.
Of particular importance is the establishment of coordination interaction between Saudi and Turkish security forces.
The new head of the Saudi General Intelligence Service Bandar bin Sultan in September personally met with the head of the Turkish MIT Hakan Fidanom order to establish support for the Syrian opposition in view of the fact that the Turkish security forces forced to divert substantial resources to fight the PKK. By the beginning of September, a group of Saudi intelligence officers arrived at the Turkish base in Adana, located 100 kilometers from the border with Syria, where opposition groups are preparing.
In turn, the fight against the “Iranian threat” Saudis in Bahrain, Iraq and Qatif province, Saudi kingdom help their Pakistani counterparts from ISI. Thanks to this, Bandar bin Sultan free hand to allocate additional resources to respond to the Assad regime.
However, the effectiveness of covert operations in Syria and effect political change. For example, this election in France, which resulted in retired President Nicolas Sarkozy. It was very close last emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, one of the main proponents of increased action against the Assad regime. In order for a change of leadership in the country, including the progress in the security services, to resume full cooperation, it took almost three months, and only in August, French President Francois Hollande confirmed joint covert operations between the French and Qatari special services in support of the Syrian opposition .
Meetings with key members of management of Qatar and France are not recently at least twice a month. They, in particular, deals with the transportation of French arms to Syria and tracking routes for everything you need to Assad’s army, especially from Russia. So far, according to available information, the parties shall refrain from carrying out acts of sabotage against the Russian-Syrian arms trafficking. At least, so far restrained Paris aggressive aspirations of the Emir of Qatar in this regard, preferring to try to influence Russia diplomatically.
Of great importance in the work against CAP is also given support functions. With the help of foreign intelligence services established health care militants not only in neighboring countries such as Syria, Jordan (creating medical and surgical unit Zaatar refugee camp), but also directly on Syrian territory.
An important role is played by the involvement of foreign intelligence agencies in setting rescued from an area of Damascus. In this field manifest themselves French secret services, assisted by Eric Chevalier, who was the French ambassador in Damascus until February of this year It is not only on the supply of food, but also about the structure of government in the occupied areas Assad’s opponents, as it was in Azaz, where he coordinated the work, together with a prominent opposition figure Riyad Seif.
Prospects for foreign intelligence services in Syria
Actions of U.S. President Barack Obama became a kind of a signal to foreign counterparts to strengthen the CIA secret assistance to the Syrian opposition. The West has little to hide his involvement in covert operations in the hope that this alone will serve to Assad and his additional demoralizing factor.
Calculation of the Syrian regime opponents and built on the fact that with the increasing assistance through intelligence fighters inflict losses to the Assad regime, which will lead eventually to its collapse. Judging by sounding a warning to the Syrian president by Russian and Iranian advisers from the military and security services, these expectations are not groundless. As on estimates of both, the Syrian army is ill-prepared for a protracted guerrilla war, fomented by foreign intelligence services.