Roy Gutman reports: When Syria’s national uprising began in March 2011, Gen. Awad al Ali was in charge of criminal investigations in the Syrian capital. One year later, the country’s top police professional was a marked man.
A string of mystery suicide bombings had targeted major security installations in Damascus and Aleppo, Syria’s biggest city, starting in late December 2011, and al Ali, fearing he’d be next, took the modest precaution of blocking off a street near his office.
The real threat, he later concluded, was not from “terrorists” that the regime said was behind the suicide bombings—but from the regime itself.
The first sign the regime was behind the bombings was when a top military aide to President Bashar al Assad stopped by al Ali’s office to examine his security arrangements. Gen. Salim al Ali, Assad’s special assistant for Damascus affairs and no relation to Awad al Ali, wasn’t there to urge better precautions. Just the opposite. [Continue reading…]