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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tlass Blood is Thicker Than Loyalty.

Manaf Tlass

The world has witnessed Egyptian tank commanders in Tarear Square restraining and refusing orders to fire on protesters. This is a rare event in the Muslim world. Solders and low level officers are trained and instructed to strictly obey orders in a Middle Eastern dictatorship. Unlike Western solders the troops in the Middle East are not trained to think for themselves, but to roboticly follow orders or be disciplined. A personal moral decision was made that day in Tarear Square and that may have been attributed to American instruction and leadership. The last thirty years of Egyptian military leadership and instruction has been heavily influenced by American technology and innovation. This influence has given rise to independent thinking and self reliance. Therefore the moral turpitude of the individual soldier has been risen to the point of self sacrifice rather than the implementation of an illegal order.
Resistance fighter with American M4 rifle 

The military doctrinaire of the former communist block does not recognize the idea of an illegal order. As trainers in Muslim states like Syria and Iran this attribute has also been passed on. Therefor the states that have aliened themselves with the former communist block countries do not encourage this moral question in the mind of their military. As a result of this the individual solder has three options, 1 follow orders, 2 do not follow orders and be tortured and killed, 3 defect and leave behind your family to receive your punishment in your absence. This is what is being contemplated in the mind of the Syrian Sunni soldiers.
Free Syrian Army solider sniping in Rastan with American M16 rifle

Then there is the Sunni glass ceiling that prevents a segment of the Syrian population to rise above a certain level. We can deduce that this is the reason way we are seeing the military defections, the choice between no future under al Assad or the chance for a future in a Sunni Syria. 

There is much less accountability of the foot-soldiers in relation to officers, so when five or ten disappear from a patrol their absence is not readily noticeable. Like in any army the higher up in rank the more responsibility and accountability that soldier has so his disappearance proportionality more noticeable. Recently we have noted that upper level officers have turned coat and are joining the resistance. This is partly because Syria has commenced their so called “war games” and in the kayos of fighting the resistance and the operation the officers are able to slip away. The high profile defection of Brigadier General Manaf Tlass was achieved not by the fog of war games or by his anonymity among thousands. Tlass's escape was successful because of a diversion. General Tlass was in charge of the Republican Guard forces responsible for the security of the palace as well as the Assad families personal protection.

The Assad and the Talass families have enjoyed a long standing relationship that goes back more than 50 years when the patriarchs Hafez al Assad and Mustafa Tlass became friends in the Syrian military academy. The two men organized the movement within the military that overthrew the government of Salah Jadid in the 1970 coup known as the Syrian Corrective Movement. Tlass a Sunni and Assad an Alawite together were a unifying force within the military that guaranteed the coups success. 
Akram Ojjeh

Mustafa the farther of four, sons Faris, Manaf and daughters Sarya and Nahed was the countries powerful defense minister until 2002. In 1978 Nahed married Akram Ojjeh very wealthy Saudi arms dealer at the age of 18. Shortly after the marriage the newlyweds moved to France where her 60 year old groom died leaving her the benefactor of a billion dollar fortune sister Sarya married a Lebanese man and is living in Lebanon. 

Since the escalation of violence in Syria Nahed, very well connected politically had facilitated the escape of her farther and now her brother General Manaf and his family to France her brother Faris left Syria for Dubai UAE. He is the operator of the only company that supplies the Syrian military with everything from A to Z. Abdul Razzaq Tlass a lieutenant in the Syrian Army and cousin to the general fled Syria for Turkey. In 2011 Abdul Razzaq, once in Turkey, proclaimed very publicly that he has defected from the Syrian Army and is taking up arms against his former compatriots to fight with the Free Syrian Army. 

It is not significant that two army officers a businessman and a former political crony left the country but it is extremely significant that they are who they are. This news is just real bad PR for President al Assad and bolsters all Sunni Muslims within the Syrian Army with the fact that it is not impossible to get out. One of the remarkable facts that has come out is that A Republican Guard General in charge of Assad's palace security was under a sort of house arrest imposed by Bashar al Assad himself. When the demonstrations and protests started in March of 2011 it was Manaf who was the point-man in negotiations between the two sides. Apparently he was successful with both sides giving in to a compromise. The deal was unacceptable as it was laid out to Assad and his advising generals, so it was decided to crush the uprisings with an overwhelming show of force. General Tlass protested this decision to Assad and the military, so he was admonished. The deadly military response in the towns of Douma and Rastan by Assad garnered a backlash and the protests increased in their intensity, the countries violence continued to ratchet up ever sense. 

The straw that broke the camels back for General Tlass was an all-out military offensive in Rastan the hometown of the Tlass clan the general again protested and again he was rebuffed. Late into the action General Tlass was ordered to go into Doma and Rastan to facilitate the peace and he did not refuse to obey the order but he did say the he would not issue any orders to shoot protesters. This was unheard of in the Syrian chain of command. General Tlass was then relieved of his duties and placed under house arrest (his own house).

Akram Ojjeh's TAG Aviation jets in Geneva 
Manaf made the best of his house arrest, sources that are close to him say that he was jogging every day sometimes swimming and playing sports with his friends. Manaf also was making plains for his bug out transferring funds, collecting cash and shipping antiquities from his farther collection. One source reported that one of the items sent out of the country was the sword of Imam Ali? Reports on twitter now claim that the Tlass properties have been ransacked and looted so anything left behind is now gone. 
So did the general simply go to the airport in Damascus, jump on a private jet and fly to Paris? We just do not know the particulars of his defection but one of his cars, a Honda, was found in the Rukn ad-Din neighborhood of Damascus and then there are reports he was in Turkey but now we know that his billionaire sister greased some palms in France and he shows up in Paris. Sounds like a James Bond movie. The one thing that is for certain is that western intelligence agencies will be on him like a cheep suit.

The symbiotic relationship between the Tlass and al Assad families has catapulted both to power and wealth. The two families share the responsibility of Syria's tumultuous past, present and future and that must be remembered. It is probably safe to assume that the close personal relationship between the two clans is now over and for the short term any one with the Tlass name should avoid dark allies and be looking over their shoulder for an Assad henchman.  Now that The fighting  is ratcheting up and the sectarian sides are becoming more defined Syria is in for a long hot summer of war and it seems that some will sit it out on the sidelines sipping champagne. When it comes to Syrian dictators Blood is thicker than loyalty.

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