Monday, November 07, 2005

This is a few days old, but there's a page of reading on SyriaComment.com, including two full-length articles by the Washington Post's Anthony Shadid, that you should read in its entirety if you're interested in what's going on in Syria now.

The key figure to watch -- if he could be watched -- is Asef Shawkat, the president's brother-in-law:

One of the most dynamic figures in the circle is Shawkat, a tall, husky general with black hair and a mustache. Since February, he has run Syrian military intelligence, the institution that keeps the closest eye on threats to the government. He is a natty dresser, known for expensive tastes. A diplomat recalled that at one function for Assad's father, he was the lone person not wearing a military uniform. He chose instead an expensive Italian suit, the diplomat said. Those who have met him describe him as confident, businesslike and security-conscious, imbued with street smarts that came from his rise through the intelligence ranks.
The mountainous Alawite areas mentioned by Shadid are in the area of Qardaha, the village I visited last week where the elder Assad is buried (see below).


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