I asked an informed Syrians to update me about the status of the Syrian military/intelligence apparatus. He says: The Army is different in its composition from the security apparatuses> The critical security apparatuses are led by `Alawite officers while the army is different in its sectarian composition but suffers from the same problems that afflict the security apparatuses in terms of the loyalty of many of its officers to mafias of corruption. The Syrian Army is certainly not a combat army and has lost much of its preparedness due to the internal Syrian situation especially after the withdrawal from Lebanon. Most officers were transformed into protectors of corruption and partners with it. And there local officers (in various provinces who occupy senior administrative positions) who are business agents for Mr. Rami Makhluf in the various provinces. And most of those officers are educated youths who are very corrupt and are appointed by Hafidh and Rami Makhluf. And you can imagine the unbelievable number of middle ranking officers who are waiting at the doors of Hafidh and Rami Maklhuf hoping for positions in new appointments. He tells me that early on protesters were calling for the downfall of the governors (those military officers) in Homs and Hamah and Idlib and in general were involved in across border smuggling with shares for them, and the operations are led by senior Army officers. And he tells me that the government then arranged for large scale dismissals of the officers of Rami Makhluf and then they brought back into services all the surviving officers who formed the team of Hafidh al-Asad in the 1980s and 1990s at the rank of Liwa> Divisions that are talked about in the army are highly exaggerated and don't extend beyond the defections of conscripted soldiers and some volunteers in the army and internal security forces and most are from extremely religious environments like from rural Hamah and Idlib and Dir`a. Asnd the middle ranking officers who defected don't possess critical information and don't hold high ranking positions in the army. The Free Syrian Army is comprised mostly of volunteers who are very extreme in religiosity. He reports that Syrian security apparatuses (especially Al-Amn Al-Askari and Amn Ad-Dawlah) are infiltrated...Al-Amn AlAskiri is the most dangerous and is run by Hafidh Makhluf, from a to z. It perpetrates raids and killings en masse and individually in all Syrian cities. It is responsible for the movement of military detachments and the movement of officers. The transfer of Asaf Shawkat to the staff command (which does not follow Ministry of Defense but follows Al-Amn directly) was at the suggestion of Muhammad Makhluf, father of Rami and Hafidh. It was done to take him out of house arrest that he has been under. Of course, he reto mains insignificant politically. It is part of the tug of war with the Iranian military team in Syria which works closely with Muhammad Nasif, the strongest security man in Syria. Al-Amn Al-Askari is the only authority that can interrogate offices and practices carrot and the stick approach with everybody. I also have information (my informant adds) that Al-Amn Al-Askari is under the control of the Saudis totally, since 2008. The evidence is that all the mosque clerics are appointed by Al-Amn Al-Askari in Syria and the regime was surprised to learn after the eruption of the uprising that most of those clerics are heavily funded by Saudis and were undertaking sectarian campaigns against the regime. More later.