Maj. Gen. Abdul Aziz Jazzim al-Shallal, Syria’s military police chief, has reportedly defected from the government. Maj. Gen. al-Shallal announced his defection in a video posted online. “The Syrian military has strayed from its core mission in protecting the homeland to become nothing but armed gangs that kill and destroy the cities and the villages..” al-Shallal said. He escaped to Turkey with rebel help. If reports of his defection are true, it woudl be one of the highest level defections in the conflict. CNN reports that rebel gains combined with defections of high-level and low-level individuals alike point to a weakened Assad regime.
A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that the FBI had counterterrorism agents monitor the Occupy Wall Street movement in the US. The investigation is cited as one of a larger shift in orientation towards domestic terrorism.
In Turkey, protestors had their own clash with counterterrorism enforcement at a protest against a visit by the Prime Minister to Middle East Technical University. Several students were arrested and charged with “being members of terrorist organizations and committing crimes on behalf of a terrorist organization.” The protest last week has caused an outcry in Turkey. Prime Minister Erdoğan has denounced the violence of the students, as have a few other universities. Some critics have turned their denouncements towards the police and their use of force against the protestors.
The UAE has arrested more than 50 Islamists and accused them of “conspiring against the state.” Many of the accused belong to the group al-Islah. The UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs has said that Islamist successes throughout the region since the Arab Spring have embolded individuals such as the accused.
An al-Qaeda group that has taken hostage half a dozen French citizens says that France is endangering their lives by helping to organize a military intervention in Mali. Next month European Union soldiers will begin training a Malian army force that will eventually be able to regain control of parts of northern Mali that are under al-Qaeda’s control. The hostages in question were kidnapped in 2010 and 2011.