General Intelligence Directorate (Syria)

The General Intelligence Directorate (Arabic: إِدَارَةُ الْمُخَابَرَاتِ الْعَامَّةِ‎, ʾIdārat al-Mukhābarāt al-ʿAmmāh) is the most important civil intelligence service of Syria and plays an important role in quelling internal dissent.[1][2]

General Intelligence Directorate
إِدَارَةُ الْمُخَابَرَاتِ الْعَامَّةِ
ʾIdārat al-Mukhābarāt al-ʿAmmāh
Syrian General Intelligence Directorate.png
Agency overview
Formed1971
JurisdictionGovernment of Syria
HeadquartersDamascus, Syria
33°31′13″N 36°18′42″E / 33.52028°N 36.31167°E / 33.52028; 36.31167Coordinates: 33°31′13″N 36°18′42″E / 33.52028°N 36.31167°E / 33.52028; 36.31167
Agency executives
Parent agencyMinistry of Interior

OrganizationEdit

The General Intelligence Directorate is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior.[3] It is divided into three branches:

  • Internal Security Division
  • External Security Division
  • Palestinian Affairs Division[2]

The internal security division is responsible for the internal surveillance of the population. The external security division is responsible for foreign intelligence work. And, the Palestinian division is responsible for monitoring the activities of Palestinian groups in Syria and Lebanon.[4]

Hisham Bekhityar became the head of the General Security Directorate in 2001, replacing Ali Hammoud, who became the Minister of Interior.[5] General Bakhtiar was close to Bashar al-Assad's deceased brother-in-law Assef Shawkat.[6] In the late 20th century Maj. Gen Ali Houri was director of General Security Directorate.[4] The service was in competition with Idarat al-Amn al-Siyasi in the late 20th century.[6] Gen. Ghazi Kanaan possibly headed international security of the General Security Directorate in the late 20th century.[4]

President Bashar Assad in June 2005 appointed General Ali Mamluk as commander of the General Security Directorate.[7] Six years later in April 2011, the US government imposed sanctions on Ali Mamluk, saying he had been responsible for human rights abuses, including the use of violence against civilians. His agency had repressed internal dissent, monitored individual citizens, and had been involved in the Syrian government's actions in Daraa, where protesters were killed by Syrian security services. The next month, the EU also imposed sanctions on Ali Mamluk, saying he had been involved in efforts to suppress anti-government protesters. A Sunni, he is said to be on good terms with all of Syria's intelligence agencies – the heads of Air Force Intelligence and the Political Security Directorate were once his assistants. He is a part of Bashar al-Assad's inner circle.[1]

Heads of General Intelligence DirectorateEdit

  • Adnan Babagh (1971–?)[8]
  • Ali Madani (1970s)[8]
  • Nazih Zirayr (?–1983)[9]
  • Fu'ad Absi (1983–1987)[9]
  • Majid Sa'id (1987–1994)[9][10]
  • Bashir an-Najjar (1994–1998)[10]
  • Ali Houri (1998–2001)[4][5]
  • Deputy director: Hassan Khallouf (June 2005–?)[7][12]
  • Internal branch (251): Fouad Nasif Kheir Bek (June 2005–?)[7][12][17]
  • Deputy director: Jamil Hassan (?–2009)[15][18]
  • Information branch: Zouheir Hamad (?–July 2010)[18]
  • Zouheir Hamad (July 2010–July 2012), the European Union sanctioned him for "the use of violence across Syria and for intimidation and torture of protesters during the Syrian Civil War".[15][16]
  • Deputy director: General Nazih (?–July 2012), the European Union sanctioned him for "being responsible for the use of violence across Syria and intimidation and torture of protestors during the Syrian uprising".[1][16]
  • Information branch: Ghassan Khalil (July 2010–present), the European Union sanctioned him for "being involved in repression and violence against the civilian population in Syria during the Syrian uprising".[15][16][18]
  • Deputy director: Zouheir Hamad (July 2012–present)[1]
  • Internal branch (251): Tawfiq Younes (2011), the European Union sanctioned him for "being involved in violence against demonstrators during the Syrian uprisings".[16]

Regional Heads of General Intelligence DirectorateEdit

  • Homs (branch 318): Brig. Gen. Firas Al-Hamed (2012) accused of "ordering or committing crimes against humanity".[20]
  • Latakia branch: Brig. Gen. Khudr Khudr (2012) accused of "ordering or committing crimes against humanity".[20]
  • Daraa branch: Brig. Gen. Ahmed Dibe (2011).[21]
  • Raqqa branch: Brig. Gen. Khaled Al-Halabi (2008-2013) accused of being involved with the arrest and torture of dissidents, as well as telling security forces to fire on any unauthorized gathering of more than four people.[22]

Other Syrian intelligence agenciesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Bashar al-Assad's inner circle". BBC News. 18 May 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-01-13. Retrieved 2008-10-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ John Pike. "Syria Intelligence and Security Agencies". Globalsecurity.org. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
  4. ^ a b c d e MEIB (July 2000). "Syria's Intelligence Services: A Primer". Middle East Intelligence Bulletin. 2 (6). Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Gambil, Gary (Feb 2002). "The Military-Intelligence Shakeup in Syria". Middle East Intelligence Bulletin. 4 (2). Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  6. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2020-04-24. Retrieved 2008-09-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ a b c Phares, Robert G. Rabil ; foreword by Walid (2006). Syria, the United States, and the war on terror in the Middle East. Westport (Conn.): Praeger security international. p. 215. ISBN 9780275990152.
  8. ^ a b Rathmell, Andrew (Fall 1997). "Syria's Intelligence Services: Origins and Development". Journal of Conflict Studies. XVI (2). Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  9. ^ a b c Seale, Patrick (1990). Asad of Syria: the struggle for the Middle East. University of California Press. p. 430. ISBN 0-520-06976-5. Fu'ad Absi syria.
  10. ^ a b c Zisser, Eyal (September 1995). "The Succession Struggle in Damascus". The Middle East Quarterly. 2 (3): 57–64. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  11. ^ Bar, Shmuel (2006). "Bashar's Syria: The Regime and its Strategic Worldview" (PDF). Comparative Strategy. 25 (5): 425. doi:10.1080/01495930601105412. S2CID 154739379. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  12. ^ a b c "SyriaComment.com". Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  13. ^ Leverett, Flynt (2005). Inheriting Syria Bashar's trial by fire ([Online-Ausg.] ed.). Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press. p. 93. ISBN 0815752040.
  14. ^ a b Bar, Shmuel (2006). "Bashar's Syria: The Regime and its Strategic Worldview" (PDF). Comparative Strategy. 25 (5): 424. doi:10.1080/01495930601105412. S2CID 154739379. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  15. ^ a b c d "Syria's Assad 'reshuffles security chiefs'". UPI. 21 October 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2011.
  16. ^ a b c d e f "Joint Proposal for a COUNCIL REGULATION concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria and repealing Regulation (EU) No 442/2011". EuroLex. 52011PC0887. 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2012.
  17. ^ "Cable Viewer". Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  18. ^ a b c "Stratfor report on Syrian Security, Intelligence Leaders (Corrected)". Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  19. ^ http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/assad-has-many-generals-1486458.html
  20. ^ a b c d "Torture Archipelago". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  21. ^ https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/syria1211webwcover_0.pdf
  22. ^ https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/09/20/how-a-syrian-war-criminal-and-double-agent-disappeared-in-europe