The intelligence services in Syria are doing everything possible to prevent a copycat uprising in the country, following the overthrow of Ben Ali in Tunisia.If Assad is good at anything, it is staying in power.
President Bashar Al Assad held a meeting with the principal as well as regional heads of Syria’s security services on January 16. On the agenda was how to ensure that the current wave of opposition in Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt does not spread to Syria’s streets.
In a bid to preempt unrest, Assad ordered a crack-down on corrupt officials. He also told the security services to position their officers in meeting places throughout the country, in the souks and in town centres, ready to deal swiftly with any demonstrations of opposition. Military security was also told to increase the pace with which it takes down satellite TV dishes (IOL 632).
The various units in charge of phone tapping are going to increase their presence in call centres, and they are going to set up an emergency plan that, in case of trouble, will isolate a village, a town or even a region from the rest of the fixed and mobile telephony network.
On January 17, Assad took a highly rare meeting with Interior Minister Saed Samour, police officials from the different regions and the heads of Criminal Security branches: usually, the president only takes meetings with the interior minister and the head of Political Security.
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