German spy chief: End is near for Assad

2012-08-11 20:19

Berlin - Germany's spy chief said Syria President Bashar Assad's government appeared to be in its final phase because its army had been depleted by casualties, deserters and defectors to the opposition.

Gerhard Schindler, head of Germany's BND intelligence agency, said Assad's once 320 000-strong army had lost about 50 000 troops since the uprising against his rule began 17 months ago.

Smaller, flexible rebel units were sapping the strength of the army with guerrilla tactics, he told Die Welt newspaper in an interview published on Saturday.

"There are a lot of indications that the end game for the regime has begun," said the president of the Bundesnachrichtendienst agency.

"That [army losses] includes those who have been wounded, deserted and about 2 000 to 3 000 who have defected to the armed military opposition," he said.

"The erosion of the military is continuing."

While Assad's grip on the country has been loosened as the uprising has gathered momentum, his forces have overwhelming firepower advantage against lightly armed rebels.

However, Schindler said small rebel units were offsetting that by using their speed and manoeuvrability to strike quickly in ambushes.

"Because of their small size, they're not a good target for Assad's army," he said.

"The regular army is being confronted by a variety of flexible fighters. The recipe of their success is their guerrilla tactics. They're breaking the army's back."

Assad is fighting to crush a rebellion that aims to end his family's four decades in charge of Syria.

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-08-11 20:51

    Interesting to read an authoritative confirmation of what any unbiased person can predict

      sansagain.sansagain - 2012-08-12 09:24

      man you forgot your logic somewhere? 1.Spy chief of ANY country nevel will give any interview!!! 2. if he gave this interview- so he is another politician only, but not a real spy chief 3. just words here- no proof. So if want to believe him- it is your choice 4. americans will never allow Germany has any seriuos spy agency after WW2

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-12 09:28

      MI6 and CIA chiefs give interviews to media every day. Germany is part of Nato. Hello!

  • lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-11 21:04

    "they can polish their medals and sharpen their smiles, and amuse themselves playing games for a while" Tyrants and kings always believe they can alter their destinies. Always they are proved wrong

  • larry.lachman.54 - 2012-08-11 21:36

    The fallibility of Assad's regime and his military is that as it weakens, even slightly, more and more will defect to the rebel opposition as a means of self-preservation. This momentum will increase exponenentially as the Assad government becomes weaker. None want to be the loser so the rebels will gain strength until overthrow is realised.

      sansagain.sansagain - 2012-08-12 09:52

      Wow Larry- you know such smart words as "exponentially". May be you can use your smartness and take other conditions of this conflict into account and you will see that equations are that simple.

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-11 22:01

    It is only these silly radicals, with their childish anit Western rhetoric, who believe this monster can survive. The battle to overthrow thse assad sacumbags started over 30 years ago. In this period, THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS Syrians were arrested, beaten up, tortured, raped, and TENS OF THOUSANDS murdered. Their crime; They asked/demanded a change of government. It started with the daddy of this current monster; Assad government drew criticism for its policy of terror and repression of his own people. In particular for ordering the 1982 Hama massacre, which has been described as "the single deadliest act by any Arab government against people in the modern Middle East"; as well as others such as the Tadmor Prison massacre, the Siege of Aleppo, Tel al-Zaatar massacre and the October 13 massacre.[4][5] Wikipedia. The current assad continued keeping Syria, the most oppressive regime in the world. He learned well from daddy; ANYBODY in his way; gets KILLED. But 50 years of darknes are now comung to an end. Everyone deserves a fair trial, including monsters, but lets hope they make an exception, and do a gaddafi on him; blow his sick brains out; live on RT.

      sansagain.sansagain - 2012-08-12 08:40

      Are you writing another Hollywood scenario?? Try better

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-12 09:41

      Anthony, the most oppresive regime in the world is Saudi Arabia, that US ally. You are not only ignorant, but as dumb as you write.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-12 10:39

      Fidel, Maybe you got info from your silly childish conspiracy sites, that the Saudi Arabian regime, MURDERED , TWENTY THOUSAND of its citizens during the past 17 months, but let me tell you, THAT is not true, BUT your HERO, that assad terrorist, DID !!

  • fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-11 22:17

    Because the Syrian army is essentially made up of the Syrian people, who essentially are sparks of human consciousness wanting more freedom and more self-determination. Just as Apartheid was doomed to fail because the first friends of White children were Black children, and those White children grew up and would not turn against their Black friends, the overwhelming majority of Syrians will choose to not turn against their countrymen, women and children.

      sansagain.sansagain - 2012-08-12 08:41

      what an idiotic comment

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-12 09:24


      sansagain.sansagain - 2012-08-12 09:47

      because in Syria army soldiers are well paid and can support their families. Before they and their families have may not perfect but good and quite life. Now they have to fight with bandits Apartheid is not doomed, it simply took another form. Now it is between rich and poor. And I do not see way out of it with modern political structure

  • imam.madi.129 - 2012-08-11 23:34

    The west and its terrorist bandits will never defeat Syria. The Syrian army is the most professional in the middle east. It is still intact after so much strain from the crusaders and their proxies and inshallah, the Madi army of Iraq, the galant figthers of Hizbollah and the unwavering Iranians will join the fight and defeat the conspiracy once and for all. Like most Muslims in the world who are a silent majority when our blood is spilt for the entertainment of westerners, we will continue to pray for the terrorists and their backers to runaway with tails in between their legs. Least we forget, syria and iran resist zionist domination of the middle east while saudis have given the world al Qa'ida and 9/11. Syria and Iran never attacked anyone but will fight to the end against invaders.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-12 02:28

      The Iranian regime adjusts elections to hold onto power. It has stolen the Iranian government from the Iranian people. It funds the Jihadist movement that has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of innocent people, mainly Muslims in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. It is supporting Bashar Assad's brutal oppression of Syrians wanting nothing more than the right to vote. It supports the stoning of women. It openly calls for the elimination of Israel and denies the Holocaust, the single biggest attempt at human genocide in human history: six million people. It is dishonest, highly repressive, and self-serving at the expense of the Iranian people and humanity. It's days are numbered, and it knows this.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-12 02:31

      Imam does not know it, but he is unwittingly supporting the open slaughter of innocent Muslims by unelected dictators and Jihadists. Thankfully millions of Muslims in the Middle East, of which Imam is not one, are now seeing through the lies and open oppression, and freeing themselves.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-08-12 10:23

      It is hardly possible that a modern human being can be so indoctrinated but under Islam that apparently is possible.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-12 00:01

    The end has been near for the Syrian government for the past year and its military force, made up of mainly Sunni foot soldiers is still holding. 2000-3000 that have defected out of 320000, and this points out to a depleted army? More wishful thinking!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-12 02:33

      It has not. The end is nearer now, after Assad has chosen again and again and again to use the Syrian people's own military against them in a futile attempt to hold onto power. Just as the Apartheid regime was doomed to fail when it tried to do this, so is Assad.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-12 02:34

      Fidel doesn't understand what is going on as he holds a reality-distorting core belief that the West is evil. This is all he sees. Amazingly this leads him to also believe Nelson Mandela is an Uncle Tom, a phony, a lackey of the West. He has written this in the US/Mandela thread. It's there right now.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-12 05:17

      Fidel, The Syrian terrorist regime and its mighty military force have now for 17 months been unable to get the upperhand of the opposition and the FSA. Anyone , with even half a braincell, will realize the assad terrorist have lost the battle. Maybe , one day, when you get out of this 'teenager' phase of silly and childish anti Western crap, you will reakize that the alternative to this " noisy circus every 4 or 5 years", is TYRANNY. When you reach that stage, you might also learn the difference between 'real politik, and 'reality' in politics !!

      larry.lachman.54 - 2012-08-12 06:47

      Fidel, you will be mocked.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-12 08:46

      The difference between me and you is that you swallow every rubbish that get spewed by these so called intelligence experts despite diametrically opposed evidence. The bogus Observatory for Human Rights estimates that +- 20000 Syrians have perished, including soldiers, terrorists and civilians, and out come this intelligence expert from Germany throwing out numbers of 50000 "lost" soldiers. Someone is definately lying and I won't be suprised if you lot skim-read the first paragraph and race straight to the comments, switching your fingers on before your brains. It's never too late to ask questions, to scrutinise sources. Asking questions doesn't make you a cheerleader for Assad – that's a false argument. It just makes you less susceptible to spin. The good news is, there's a sceptic born every minute.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-12 09:24

      Fidel is lying to himself. He hasn't recognized this yet. Hopefully soon he will.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-12 09:49

      Patrick, Logig says, that in the struggle of the Black people in SA, to get rid of an oppressive minority regime, you took the side of the Nats. And that the ANC freedom fighters were terrorists. or does THAT not fit into your silly and childish anti Western BS ??

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-12 19:17

      Fidel, ""2000-3000 that have defected out of 320000"" And after 17 months, 320000 soldiers are STILL battling to defeat a mere 3000 ????????? More thinking wishful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-12 21:04

      It's terrorists, using guerilla tactics, hiding behind civilians. In Afghanistan Nato has been there for over ten years and the Afghans are still fighting. Common sense!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-08-13 03:32

      Fidel, the amount of palin BS you continue to poast, is just mind boggling. I am sure you believe this crap yourself. Shame !!

  • sansagain.sansagain - 2012-08-12 08:45

    german spy??? in Syria. it is a joke of the day

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-12 09:39

      He's not in Syria. He doesn't need to be. He's part of a network of intelligence chiefs who have multiple sources available to them, including informers, satellite intelligence, and so forth.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-12 09:39

      P.S. Now that's a dumb comment (yours).

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-12 10:39

    Syrian regime’s core intact: analysts The defection of Syria’s prime minister was a boon for the opposition, heightening regime paranoia, but as rebels and their allies await mass defections, analysts say the ruling core remains intact. The difference between a trickle of defections and a division or battalion changing sides could tip the scales in favor of the opposition, says Wayne White of the Washington-based Middle East Institute. “You could literally turn around a unit like that, and it’s a more potent weapon than rebel forces because it has more equipment, a chain of command and fights in an organized fashion with heavier weaponry.” But the absence of mass army defections shows there are “still a sufficient number of Sunni Arabs throwing their lot in with the regime.” “Of the officers above rank of colonel, I estimate that two thirds are not Alawites,” White says. The regime “needs 20-30 percent of them to remain loyal to stock the army with infantrymen and government with administrators to keep things going -- and that may be what they have.” While the Republican Guard and the elite Fourth Armored Division are expected to remain loyal, it is puzzling to observers that regular divisions which “are even more heavily Sunni” have not broken ranks. “The U.S. and Turkey are waiting for this, hoping for this, wondering why it’s taken so long.” continued below......

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-12 10:43

      But with the rebellion is now in its 17th month and the core leadership -- the family of President Bashar al-Assad and the top echelon of the military and security services -- remains intact. This is despite billions of dollars reportedly pledged by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait to encourage high-level defections, according to a Gulf-based diplomat. According to a Lebanese security official, there are about 1,200 brigadier generals in the Syrian army, and only about 40 have defected. In contrast, there are only about 100 senior-ranking generals, all of who remain loyal. As for the civilian leadership, even the defection of premier Riad Hijab, a Sunni, was not “the death blow,” Lebanese former minister Marwan Hamade says. Remaining high-ranking Sunni civilians “are limited to very few names, principally Foreign Minister Walid Muallem who has never been an influential part of the regime, and others who have vanished from the public scene,” he says. White says: “The PM is a figurehead in this country, deliberately placed because he was a Sunni, to try to appeal to Sunnis in the Damascus area.” In contrast, the security services are heavily Alawite: “This is a job you don’t farm out to your collaborators.” Just two key Sunnis remain in security, according to Hamade, citing Ali Mamluk, newly appointed chief of intelligence, and Rustom Ghazali, former head of military intelligence in Lebanon “who is implicated in many murders.” continue below.....

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-12 10:47

      “Their futures are bleak anyway,” Hamade says. “The chance for them to remain in any future Syria is almost nil.” The importance of Hijab’s defection, he says, is that it “concerns an old time Baath party member” who rose through the ranks. “What sends a chill through regime is that people in every level of government can find the opposition... that people know if they want to do something like this, who they contact and where they go,” White says. “This produces ripple effect of arrests and interrogations to find out who is responsible, who let their guard down -- a witch-hunt.” “To the extent that witch-hunts occur, the regime is being eaten away from the inside.” Each defection sees the security apparatus wrap the noose more tightly around high profile leaders who remain. Analyst Aram Nerguizian of the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies says: “Now there is a degree of internal paranoia and control that make it incredibly difficult for defections at the senior level. “When there’s one pilot who defects, it makes it more difficult for others. They may be grounded or vetted to make sure they don't pose a risk.” According to Andrew Tabler, analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “the Sunni veneer that Hafez al-Assad created in the 70s is coming off... but "the core is still intact.” continue....

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-08-12 10:48

      Nerguizian says that with the Alawite leadership finding their backs against the wall, they are “that much more dangerous in their decision making. “The regime still does have strong nuclei of Sunni support, but that is whittling over time.” “Many outside and inside the regime look at the scale of the crisis, which is increasingly sectarian in nature, and find themselves in support of an increasingly minority-led regime. “This is both a strength and a weakness: a strength because common interests tied to communal survival make the current struggle an existential one for both the regime and the Alawite community,” says Nerguizian. “A weakness because alienating a majority Sunni Syrian population is an untenable strategy for long-term stability.”

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