Four of Syria’s Biggest Businessmen Hit with EU Sanctions as Anger and Fear Spread

Four of Syria’s Biggest Businessmen Hit with EU Sanctions for Supporting the Regime.

Shock waves rippled through the Syrian Business Community this morning as people awoke to the news that four of the country’s most prominent capitalists have been added to the EU sanction list. Their homes, investments, and bank accounts are now being frozen in Europe. The US can not be far behind. Emad Ghraiwati, for example, a much respected Damascus tycoon who seemingly owns a bit of everything in Syria, is an American citizen and owns property in the US. All will be hurt by the European sanctions.

For months the opposition and Western diplomats have been talking about the need to split the Sunni merchant class from the regime. These measures are designed to do just that. Three are Sunnis and one is Christian. This will be an experiment in religious and social engineering in Syria.  Can sanctions been used to pry the Sunni and Christian business elite away from their Alawi partners in the security state?

According to the Syrian businessmen I have spoken to, the first reactions among the community were shock and anger. Many smaller businessmen, some of whom have been liquidating their assets in Syria as best they can in order to squirrel them away in Europe in the hope of riding out the revolutionary storm are panicking. Where can they put their money to guarantee its safety?

All four sanctioned individuals are shareholders in Cham Holding, of which Rami Makhlouf, the President’s Cousin is the largest shareholder. The official charge for three of them was “providing economic support for the Syrian regime”. The charge for one (Mr. Anbouba who is a Christian) was that he was “supporting the Syrian regime economically”.

One is the President of the Aleppo Chamber of Commerce; another is the head of the Damascus Chamber of Industry

Mr. Fares Chehabi (Shihabi): Sunni. The youngest ever head of any chamber of commerce in Syria. Based in Aleppo. He owns Alpha pharmaceutical, is a shareholder in Cham Holding, Fransbank and alsharq bank. Other interests include olive oil filling and packaging.

Emad Ghraiwati: Sunni, President of the Damascus chamber of commerce. Owns the Ghraiwati Group with three other brothers (second generation). Exclusive dealers for LG electronics, Land Rover, Jaguar, Ford, Kia, Mercury and Lincoln cars. The group also owns SMC Cable Company. Shareholder in Cham holding and banque al Sharq as well as Al dunia satellite station.

Addendum: (Sept 4, sent by a reader)

The last I checked the president of Damascus chamber of commerce is Ghassan Al-Qalaa, there is Mr. Bassam Ghrawi and not Ghreiwati who is a member of the board of directors of the Chamber ( Amin Sir). Mr Imad Ghreiwati is the president of Damascus Chamber of Industry.

Tarif Akhras: Sunni based in Homs. Related to the first lady. Prime investor in Al Hasya manufacturing zone. Owns a sugar refinery. Also owns a substantial business in olive and edible oil filling and distribution. Other interests include building materials, flour and grains. He is considered to be the second largest exporter in the country.

Issam Anbouba: Christian, Originally from Lattakia. Based in Homs. Owns arguably the largest edible oil factory in the Middle East. Started his career working for Halliburton. Shareholder in Cham holding. He is the head of the Syrian-UAE Chamber of commerce. Key shareholder in Byblos and Syria Islamic bank. He also owns shares in an insurance company and is one of the founders of Roatana-Homs. Has a close relationship with Alfutaim Group of the UAE which landed him the Carrefour business in Syria. Has recently moved into real estate development and tourism.

The immediate effect of these sanctions is not obvous. Clearly it will inspire fear and an greater sense of impending doom in the minds of Syria’s business community. Will more members begin to donate money to the opposition in order to hedge their bets? Probably so. In the 1950s, when Syria’s political instabiility was dramatic, ambitious families groomed children to join various dominatnt political parties to ensure the success of the family no mater which party took power. Today, more business dynasties in Syria will begin investing in the opposition to buy themselves protection with the next regime as they have done with this one. How successful they can be is anyone’s guess.

The Baath Party nationalized most large land holdings and successful businesses in the 1960s in an effort to punish the Sunni elites, who they believed were “feudalistic” and “parasitical” if not outright criminal. It was also a well calculated effort by the Baath to destroy the “reactionary” forces they could conspire in the future to undermine the “gains” of the revolution and the power of the Baath. The revolutionary forces active today may want to take revenge against the business elite that has prospered over the last 40 years. As activists help European statesmen target Syrian businessmen, their goals are not entirely clear. Is the strategy to peel the Sunni elite  away from the Assad family and their Alawi supporters? Is it revenge? Is it to sew the seeds of fear and chaos into the regime? Probably it is a bit of all the above. Many of the activists will not be sorry to see Syria’s “big names” cut down to size before the need to rebuild the economy after the revolution requires the new regime to “feed” the capitalists and get Syria working again. In the mean time, the anger that has run through Syria’s business elite, will eventually fade and force them to recalculate.

I thank Ehsani for providing me with the background information on these four businessmen.

France calls for ‘accelerated’ regime change in Syria

EU publishes new round of sanctions against Syria on Saturday; Russia, China have blocked Western attempts to pass tougher UN Security Council resolutions.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe on Saturday called for international pressure to mount on Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has not heeded international call to stop a bloody crackdown on protesters.

“We have tried to advise Bashar al Assad to launch a reform process. He has not done it, so today we need to accelerate regime change,” Juppe said.

That “means toughening sanctions … continue working in the United Nations to secure a more explicit condemnation of the Syrian regime … work with the opposition,” Juppe said.

Russia and China have blocked Western attempts to get the UN Security Council to adopt tougher resolutions against Syria – a position that has been interpreted as a backlash against NATO using a UN resolution to bomb Libya.

Juppe said there was “no question of launching a military intervention” in Syria.

On Saturday, the EU published a new round of sanctions against Syria, which include an oil embargo whose application was postponed to November 15, due to Italy’s insistence that the original date of October 15 had to be pushed back.

Asked whether the delay was regrettable, Juppe answered, “yes, of course.” But he added, “it’s already good that we decided it, every time we take a step forward we get asked ‘why not two steps?'”.

Two incidents of defections have been reported within the last hour in Rastan and Idlib followed by intense campaign to arrest them
• أموي مباشر #syria ◄ إدلب >> انشقاق في صفوف الجيش في قرية الجانودية وحصيلة القتلى في صفوف الامن و الجيش الموالي للسلطة تسعة قتلى وسبع وعشرون جريحا وجميع المنشقين بخير وتتم حمايتهم و ايوئهم من قبل ( الشرفاء),,,,,,

5 minutes ago

• Ugarit News | أوغاريت الإخبارية
أوغاريت || الرستن حمص :: عاجل :: انشقاق في قوات الجيش لضباط مع عساكرهم و سلاحهم و قوات الامن تلاحق المنشقين الشرفاء داخل المدينة و بخاصة في الحي الفوقاني و شرق المدينة …..

Egypt edging near recession

Farah Halime, Sep 4, 2011

The Egyptian economy, reeling from a big budget deficit in tandem with falling GDP and the government’s decision to brush off privatisation, has been the subject of criticism.

CAIRO // Egypt’s economy is struggling to overcome a tussle among private companies hoping to take advantage of the fall of big business and to overcome the interim government’s resistance to any move towards privatisation as reminiscent of the Hosni Mubarak era.

Experts representing the country’s private sector have criticised the government’s decision to brush off privatisation as a means of supporting the economy.

Six months on from when Mr Mubarak stepped down from the presidency, Egypt is still reeling from a big budget deficit and falling GDP. more….

Comments (125)

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101. True said:

@ Menhebks

French revolution (1789–1791)

• Louis XVI ascended to the throne and lead the country to financial crisis
• The state was nearing bankruptcy and outlays outpaced income, This was because of France’s financial obligations stemming from involvement in the Seven Years War and its participation in the American Revolutionary War
• Louis XVI appointed, Jacques Necker, as General of Finance to reform and fix the economy
• On 11 July 1789, after Necker published an inaccurate account of the government’s debts and made it available to the public, the King fired him
• On 14 July, the rebels set their eyes on the large weapons and ammunition cache inside the Bastille fortress, which was also perceived to be a symbol of royal power. After several hours of combat, the prison fell that afternoon.
• Event after event and the absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years

New France was born

Syrian revolution (2011- 2011)

• Bashar Assad ascended to the throne illegitimately and lead the country to financial crisis
• The state was nearing bankruptcy and outlays outpaced income. This was because of Assad-made problems of sever corruption and nepotism beside sucking the country resources for a war to “liberate” Golan Heights (that never happened)
• In 2006 Bashar appointed Abdullah Dardari as Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs of Syria to reform and fix the economy
• After Abdullah Dardari published an inaccurate account of the government’s debts (Farouk al-Sharaa admitted later), Bashar fired him
• The first spark of the revolution was on 26 January 2011, and escalated to an uprising by 15 March 2011 after the local secret police of Daraa arrested 15 boys between the ages of 10 and 15, detaining them under the control of Gen. Atef Najeeb, a cousin of President Bashar al-Assad. In a gloomy interrogation room the children were beaten and bloodied, burned and had their fingernails pulled out by grown men working for a regime whose unchecked brutality appears increasingly to be sowing the seeds of its undoing.
• Event after event and the absolute ASSAD monarchy that had ruled Syria for 40 years is on the edge to collapse very soon

New Syria yet to be born

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September 4th, 2011, 5:37 pm


102. ann said:

Pawns of Conspiracy against Syria Rush to Western Countries To Beg for Military Intervention in Syria

Sep 04, 2011

DAMASCUS, (SANA) – The pawns of the conspiracy against Syria escalated their begging for foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs, reiterating calls for arming the terrorist who murder army, law enforcement and security personnel and civilians in Syria.

Marking a new chapter in the conspiracy against Syria, those who beseech foreign intervention in Syria’s affairs are now resorting to direct interviews and clear demands, heedless of the dire repercussions that their calls could have on the security and stability of the Syrian people.

Meanwhile, opposition figures’ squabbles over imaginary posts escalated into disagreement over the methods of inviting foreign interference, arming terrorists, and calling for more murder and destruction.

Leading the charge, Abdulhalik Khaddam unabashedly defends the idea of military intervention in Syria along the lines of what occurred in Libya, heedless of the deaths caused by the NATO’s war on the Libyan people which have reached over 50,000 deaths along with hundreds of thousands of wounded and missing people.

Khaddam was also quick to criticize those who called for sending international observers to Syria rather than military intervention, branding them as “defeatists” for even considering the repercussions of such an intervention on the Syrian people.

He also urged terrorist and opposition figures and Syria no to listen to those who rejected for interference, inciting them to continue their massacres and destruction of public and private property.

Haitham al-Maleh didn’t fare any better than Khaddam, going as far as to threaten the Arab League and vowing to go to international organizations and the Security Council to interfere in Syria’s affairs, calling for providing him with support to serve his own goals and his thirst for power.

From Paris, Awad Sleiman urged western countries to move quickly in the Seucrity Council and not wait for the international forces that reject the repetition of the Libyan scenario.

To compliment these calls for foreign interference and arming terrorist, the so-called eyewitnesses continue to fabricate and broadcast false news on satellite channels, claiming the use of military aircrafts in several areas and other news that exist only in their minds in order to beg for foreign interference.

The fervent calls of opposition figures and those who manipulate them reflect their disappoint over the improving situation in Syria, the gradual return to normal life and the unraveling of the conspiracy, making them lose their heads and begin to beg for military intervention, which is also an attempt to rouse their internal pawns in Syria from the state of despair which they reached due to the Syrian people’s awareness of the truth about the foreign plot targeting Syria.

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September 4th, 2011, 5:43 pm


103. ann said:

ICRC chief commends Syrian efforts in protecting citizens: official media

2011-09-04 23:16:06

DAMASCUS, Sept. 4 (Xinhua) — Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Jakob Kellenberger expressed Sunday the ICRC’s relief over the measures taken by the Syrian leadership to shoulder its responsibilities in defending the lives of its citizens, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.

Kellenberger made the remarks at a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem, during which he also commended the ” huge facilitation” Syria has introduced to the ICRC delegation during its visit to Syria.

Moallem briefed Kellenberger on the current situation in Syria and the “armed groups’ practice of destruction, sabotage, killing and intimidation of the citizens,” said SANA.

Moallem reviewed with Kellenberger the efforts by the Syrian government to restore stability and security to the country and to enhance the process of reform announced by President Bashar al- Assad.

According to an ICRC statement, Kellenberger, who is on a two- day visit for talks on issues such as caring for the wounded in the country’s unrest, is expected to meet the Syrian president on Monday.

Moallem assured the ICRC head that all the public hospitals in Syria are constantly ready to provide the required medical services for all the citizens.

He expressed his appreciation for the activities of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Organization, which has played an effective role in providing the humanitarian aids for the citizens during the crisis, stressing the important role of the volunteers in making the organization’s work a success.

Moallem also refuted allegations made by what he described as ” the instigative satellite channels which serve foreign agendas aiming at undermining Syria’s security, stability, sovereignty and its independent national decision.”

The Syrian authorities, which blamed the nearly six months of unrest in the country on armed groups and foreign conspiracy, claimed that some Arab TV channels were broadcasting fabricated news about the situation in the country to fuel sentiments against the government.

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September 4th, 2011, 5:48 pm


104. alescander said:

just get the point “dude” Aboud: safe Syria is no more, capeesh?

I am not intending to argue back and fourth about little details,

I am suggesting that as syrians we differ, but we can dialogue peacefully, and rationally, in order to move peacefully to democracy and freedom.

a fact: Homs, and the whole country has become more overtly sectarian. this is what I hear uniformly, there is no fully fledged war, the accounts I mention are from my phonecalls to friends and family, sorry I don’t have clips for you,

hopefully you all know by now that ground travel is not favored, people are flying !! from damascus to aleppo, etc

a reminder: in Homs: sectarianism is flaring, Aboud can deny that , but very respectfully he knows he is wrong, he can have lunch in daylight with his brothers, can he wander at night alone?

a reminder: X marks are on homes of some alawis in Damascus,

a reminder: life on the coastal area is almost normal,my friend just called me from lattakia and said that people are crowding the beaches, I don’t have a picture for you.

my other friend said that after the raml el janoubi operation, calm has returned to lattakia.

all of the “Revolutionaries” on this blog lost clarity and balance. They forgot a nation, they are after the regime at all costs!

the protestors on the streets gave a huge excuse to biggots, and low lives to destroy the country,

going back to Bashar’s tenure, I will not defend the guy, he should have made the changes he promised, no doubt.

from a national point of view, all the great powers wanted him out, in short, like son like father, the foreign policy was very popular, but at the expense of better life for the syrian citizens.

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September 4th, 2011, 6:16 pm


105. ann said:

Delegation from the People’s Party of Turkey Visits al-Ramel al-Janoubi

Sep 04, 2011

LATTAKIA, (SANA) – A Turkish delegation including five figures from the People’s Party of Turkey on Sunday visited the area of al-Ramel al-Janoubi in Lattakia.

The delegation inspected the situation in the area and listened to the locals’ testimonies about the real events which took place in their neighborhood.

People of the area stressed to the delegation that the neighborhood wasn’t expose to any destruction by the army, adding that the armed terrorist groups were responsible for all sabotage acts and killings.

Head of the delegation Osman Farouk Logoglu said that the delegation will convey the truth concerning the events in Syria to the Turkish public.

The visit will last for three days. It aims at acknowledging the reality of the events in Syria.

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September 4th, 2011, 6:20 pm


106. Abughassan said:

Attacking Joshua for having an objective position on the uprising is a sign of what might be coming and it is also a reflection of a troubled culture that does not tolerate dissenting opinions. Disagreeing with the man is something but accusing him of being somewhat part of a regime-sponsored PR campaign is something else. It is strange to find Joshua’s critics loving the site they accuse of being biased and keep coming back for more 🙂

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September 4th, 2011, 6:27 pm


107. alescander said:

worth reading COPIED from the lebanese alakhbar:

في الأزمة السورية [2]: ورقة عمل سياسية ـــ إدارية لحوار بديل من العنف
ابراهيم الأمين

المداولات الدبلوماسية في الأزمة السورية لم تحتل يوماً موقع المبادرة التي يتوافق عليها الأطراف، بغية التقدم خطوة نحو حقن الدماء. النظام في سوريا يرفض أي نوع من التدخل الخارجي. وهو في هذه النقطة لا يميز بين خارج بعيد أو معادٍ، أو خارج قريب وصديق، أو خارج لصيق وشقيق. بل هو حتى اللحظة، يرفض فكرة المبادرة، ما دامت تقوم على مبدأ أن هناك احتراباً بين جهتين يستلزم وساطة أو مبادرة. ومنطق النظام هذا يقوم على فكرة أن ما يجري في سوريا هو حركة احتجاجية في أحسن الأحوال، ومؤامرة خارجية بأيدٍ داخلية في الأسوأ من التقدير.
صحيح أن النظام يقفل حتى الآن أبواب المبادرات الخارجة عن إطاره. وهو يرى أن إطار الحوار الذي دعا إليه كافٍ، وفيه مساحة للجميع. لكن رجال النظام الأقوياء يعرفون أن هذا كلام غير ذي معنى، بدليل أن ما اتخذ حتى الآن من خطوات أو قرارات في سياق ما يسميه النظام «حزمة الإصلاحات» لم يتأثر قطّ بملاحظات المعارضين على اختلافهم. فضلاً عن أن تطبيق هذه القوانين يحتاج إلى سلطة من نوع مختلف. إذاً، لا يمكن أن ىُترك الأمن الذي يتدخل بخلاف وظيفته في حياة الناس وإدارة الدولة، أن يتولى هو الإشراف على عملية إصلاحية. بينما المطلوب من جميع السوريين اليوم، بمن فيهم المؤيدون للنظام، خطوات عملية، ذات فعالية ملموسة، تبعد الأمن عن الحياة اليومية للناس.
في الجانب الآخر، ثمة معارضون تعوّدوا منذ عقدين على الأقل، اتباع منطق الصراخ في الهواء. هم يرفعون السقف عالياً، وعندما يبادر أحدهم إلى محاورتهم مباشرةً، يصبحون من دون برنامج عملي. وعلى المعارضين الإقرار بأن بينهم من يسعى إلى الحضور داخل دائرة القرار لا أكثر. وربما كان هذا حقه، ولكن ما يجري الآن في سوريا، يحتاج إلى نوع مختلف من الإدارة السياسية للمعارضة، وهو أمر ظاهر في طريقة تعبير المحتجين عن الأمر، سواء من خلال عدم قدرة كل هذه التجمعات المعارضة على إنتاج إطار وازن له صدقية واسعة، ويمكن الادعاء أنه يمثل غالبية في الشارع الغاضب، أو من خلال سعي كتلة انتهازية كبيرة، يقودها فريق من الإسلاميين ومن الليبراليين إلى ما يصفه نشطاء التنسيقيات بـ«سرقة دماء الشهداء» والذهاب نحو مبادرات وخطوات لا علاقة لها بما يجري على الأرض.
إلا أن الطامة الكبرى، هي تلك التي تصدر عن مراقبين، يفترض أنهم كذلك، لكنهم يمنحون أنفسهم صفة الناطقين باسم الثورة، وهم منتشرون بكثافة في مراكز القرار العربي والغربي، ويطرحون بدائل وأفكاراً تقوم في غالبيتها على رفض أي حوار فعلي مع النظام، ويدعون بصورة مباشرة أو غير مباشرة إلى أنواع مختلفة من التدخل الخارجي بغية إسقاط النظام نهائياً.
وسط حفلة الجنون هذه، المعطوفة على جنون الأرض، برزت مجموعة مبادرات صيغت أفكارها ضمن أوراق جرى تبادلها بين معارضين فاعلين، وبين أركان في النظام، بما فيها القصر الرئاسي. ومن بين هذه الأوراق، واحدة تتضمن مبادرة متكاملة تقود إلى إخراج سوريا، في خلال وقت مقبول، من هذه الأزمة الوطنية الكبرى.
وبما أن الوقت لا يبدو مناسباً للكشف عن هوية من يقف خلف الأفكار وما يمكن أن ينتج منها قريباً، من المفيد عرض القسم الأبرز من الخطوات العملية المقترحة لمعالجة منطقية وباردة لأزمة بالغة السخونة.
في خلفية المبادرة يرد الآتي:
«تقف سوريا الآن عند مفترق طرق لعلّه الأخطر في تاريخها ما بعد الاستقلال. مدعاته حال الاستعصاء التي وصلت إليها الأزمة الوطنيّة الكبرى، والتي ستفضي، بالضرورة، إلى واحدٍ من مخرجين: إما الانزلاق إلى احتراب أهلي دموي عمره بالشهور، بل ربما بالسنين، وكلفته مليون ضحية بين قتيل ومشوّهٍ ومقعد، أو التوصّل إلى تسويةٍ تاريخيّةٍ كبرى ـــــ لطالما احتاج إليها الوطن السوري منذ أمد ليس بقصير ـــــ عنوانها التغيير، ومتنها استبدال نظام بتشييد دولة، دولة مدنية حديثة على قاعدة عقد اجتماعي جديد تتراضى عليه أطياف المجتمع السوري، ووفق ثوابته الوطنيّة والقوميّة (…). ولمّا كان النظام هو الحاكم والمسؤول، فبديهي أن يكون المطالب بالمبادأة والحكمة والشجاعة الأدبيّة، قبل المواطن الفرد ومجتمعه الأوسع. لذا، إن حزمة من السياسات الصادمة والإيجابيّة التي يمكن اقتراحها وتوقّعها من رئيس الجمهوريّة، تضحي أمر اليوم من دون اشتراط ذلك بضمان سلوك الشارع؛ لأنّ التظاهر السلمي كان في الأساس وسيلة ضغط الشارع الوحيدة على النظام.
أما بشأن المقترحات المباشرة، فيرد في الورقة:
ـــــ وقف النار الفوري على كامل الجغرافيا السوريّة، وعودة القوات المسلحة إلى ثُكَنها تدريجاً. ومن يستمرّ بإطلاق النار يُواجَه بعمليات أمنية موضعيّة تتعامل معه جراحيّاً وبحزم.
ـــــ إطلاق سراح كل المسجونين والمعتقلين السياسيين، وإصدار عفو عام وشامل عن كل القضايا السياسيّة، وإلغاء القانون 49 ورد الحقوق إلى أصحابها على الفور، سواء من مصادراتٍ أو استملاكاتٍ أو آثار ابتزاز، ما تقادم عليه الوقت منها أو ما استجدّ خلال الأزمة، والقبض على المسببين الفعليين لإيذاء الناس خلال الأزمة وإحالتهم على محكمة علنيّة، سواء منهم من بدأها في درعا أو من شابههم في محافظات أخرى لحقت بها. ثم معاملة كل ضحايا الأحداث، عسكريين ومدنيين، كشهداء للوطن، وتعويض أسرهم وفق تلك القاعدة، مع تخصيص أيام ثلاثة للحداد الوطني.
ـــــ طيّ ملف المفقودين وفق آليّة ملائمة وكريمة تحفظ حقوق المتضررين وأسرهم، وإنشاء هيئة وطنيّة للمصالحة والعفو تتعامل مع ملفات ما بعد 8 آذار 63 الجرميّة على الطريقة الجنوب أفريقيّة والمغربيّة، ثم تأليف لجنة وطنيّة تضع مسودة دستور جديد لتقدّم إلى مجلس النوّاب الجديد لمناقشتها، ثمّ إحالتها على الاستفتاء العام بعد بتّها.
ـــــ تأليف حكومة إنقاذ برئاسة رئيس الجمهوريّة، تضم شخصيّات من المعارضة الوطنيّة، إضافة إلى تكنوقراط كفوء، مع احتساب حقائب الداخليّة والخارجيّة والدفاع على حصة البعث. ثم إعلان الفصل الجماعي للمنتسبين إلى سلكي الشرطة والقضاء من عضويّة حزب البعث. وإلغاء امتيازات أحزاب الجبهة الوطنية التقدمية، وفك أي ارتباط بينها وبين أجهزة الدولة.
ـــــ إعادة ترميم دولة الرعاية بكل ما تتطلبه من استيفاء حقوق الفقراء وذوي الدخل المحدود من دعم لأسعار السلع التموينيّة الأساسيّة لمستحقيها، وتوفير طبابة مجانيّة، وتعليم مجاني بكل مراحله، وتأمين ضد البطالة، وإسكان زهيد الكلفة وحظر الاحتكارات في قطاعات الاقتصاد والأعمال.
ـــــ الدعوة إلى انتخابات نيابيّة عامّة مطلع 2012، وتكون من أولى مهمات مجلس النوّاب الجديد مراجعة مسودة الدستور الجديد وإقرارها، وإعادة النظر في قوانين الأحزاب والانتخابات والإعلام والإدارة (الحكم) المحليّة والطوارئ والتظاهر والسلطة القضائيّة والجامعات والجمعيات والعقوبات وغيرها.
ـــــ تحقيق الاستقلال القضائي عبر اتباع سلك القضاء لمجلس القضاء الأعلى الذي يرأسه رئيس محكمة النقض، وبضمنه النيابة العامّة والتفتيش القضائي.
ـــــ تأليف مجلس للأمن القومي برئاسة الرئيس وعضويّة نوابه ورئيس مجلس الوزراء ووزراء الدفاع والداخليّة والخارجيّة ورئيس المخابرات العامّة ورئيس هيئة الأركان العامّة ومدير المخابرات العسكريّة، وله أمين عام متفرّغ.
ـــــ فصل الفرع الداخلي عن إدارة المخابرات العامّة ليصبح تخصصها الأمن القومي البحت (التجسس الخارجي ومكافحة التجسس الداخلي وتقديرات المعلومات)، ودمج هذا الفرع مع إدارة الأمن السياسي تحت عنوان (إدارة الأمن الوطني)، وتتبع وزارة الداخليّة.
ـــــ إلغاء وزارة الإعلام، وإنشاء اتحاد عام للإذاعة والتلفزيون ومجلس أعلى للإعلام من شخصيّات يرشّحها رئيس الجمهوريّة وخاضعة لإقرار مجلس النوّاب.
ـــــ إعادة تنظيم القطاع العام بهدف فصل الملكيّة عن الإدارة، وعقد مؤتمر للإدارة والإنتاج لمناقشة قضاياه واستخلاص دليل عمل للمرحلة المقبلة، وتحقيق العدالة الضريبيّة بالتشديد على التحصيل الصحيح من دخول الأغنياء، ثم دمج الهيئة المركزيّة للرقابة والتفتيش مع الجهاز المركزي للرقابة الماليّة في جهاز واحد اسمه «الهيئة المركزيّة لرقابة الدولة» يتبع لمجلس النوّاب.
ـــــ دمج المحافظات الحاليّة في محافظات أكبر هي: دمشق، حلب، حوران، الساحل، العاصي والفرات، يديرها محافظون برتبة وزير يتبعون رئاسة مجلس الوزراء، مع إلغاء وزارة الإدارة المحليّة.
من الواضح أن لا مشكلة في إعداد مقترحات للحل. لكن المشكلة في من يقدر على تحويلها إلى ورقة عمل لدى الأطراف المتنازعة. ذلك لا يعفي النظام من مسؤوليته في إعطاء الإشارة الفعلية إلى أنه لا عودة إلى ما قبل 15 آذار. ومن يدّعِ العكس، فهو مجرم بحق سوريا.

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September 4th, 2011, 6:31 pm



Since we are on the subject of economics it might be interesting to know what the former Minister for Economy and Trade thinks about the Syrian economy and private entreprise. Let me know if you want the rest.

The Role of Small and Medium Enterprises and
Entrepreneurship in Leveraging the economic efficiency and
sustainable development:

Case study and model proposed for Syria

Lamia Aasi

Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) play an essential role in economic
development in most countries all over the world. Nowadays, no one can argue on the
importance of SMEs that role is noticed obviously through their contribution in GDP
and job creation in many countries; in addition to their potential of growth in both goods
production and services providing. For example, as of July 2006, in 130 countries, 65
percent of the total labor force was employed. In the Asia Pacific Region alone, SMEs
are contributing between 30-60% of GDP, and are the source of around 35% of the
region’s export.
The business climate of today, with increasing globalization, has resulted in structural
changes in the commercial and industrial sectors. As a result, many large companies
have moved their production abroad; therefore the smaller companies have become
increasingly important for growth and employment nationally. Small businesses are
significant contributor to the well-being of nations, and SMEs play an important role for
most of countries, both in terms of economic growth and employment.
Seven to Nine countries, developed and developing countries from around the world,
are selected in order to examine their strategies towards SMEs. Each of them will be
examined and analyzed separately, in order to explore the relation between fostering
SMEs and economic growth, and to determine all the factors contributing to their
respective performance. The analyses will focus on the following areas: business
environment, institutional and organizational structure to integrate SMEs in the
development activities, Vision and Strategy, Characteristics of each country, in addition
to the culture as main factor for the success of SMEs, furthermore examining for the
relation among factors of success.
The core of the research will be the proposed model for Syria, based on the findings of
the research, and the answers of the key questions raised as follows; what are the main

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September 4th, 2011, 6:34 pm


109. ann said:

Prof. Landis,

Since your POLL in the upper left hand corner of this blog has expired. May I suggest the next POLL question deal with Syria’s occupied Golan territory? A subject dear to all loving and caring Syrian citizen.

“Should Syria get back it’s Israeli occupied Golan territory?”

Thank you

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September 4th, 2011, 6:53 pm


110. Aboud said:

“hopefully you all know by now that ground travel is not favored, people are flying !! from damascus to aleppo, etc”

I’ve been hearing this myth for months. What imbecile would fly from Aleppo to Damascus? Only someone sheltered from reality and who only listens to the worst myths and horror stories imaginable. These kind of people probably sleep with the lights on.

Meantime, the bus terminals at every major city still do brisk business. When was the last time you heard of a *credible* incident of a bus being attacked?

“can he wander at night alone?”

Yes I can, but I damn well make sure to avoid the checkpoints. The bastards get very nervous at night.

“my other friend said that after the raml el janoubi operation, calm has returned to lattakia.”

“Calm” in Baathist terms means “no demonstrations and we don’t have to hear nasty things being said about the Diety Besho”

“Homs, and the whole country has become more overtly sectarian.”

And whose fault is that? When your regime turds arrest people at random, take them to Alawite neighborhoods and villages to get beaten up?

When your shabiha turds go on a rampage in Hadara street and burn and loot Sunni run stores.

When your shabiha turds force prisoners to say “There is no God but Bashar” I dare you menhebaks to deny it

Sectarian he says. This from a regime supporter who supports a government that was built on sectarian discrimination for 40 years. Hypocrisy, thy name is menhebak.

I dare the menhebaks to show me one video where a sectarian chant was uttered

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September 4th, 2011, 7:01 pm


111. True said:


The “disunity” (or disagreement as I call it) of the opposition is very healthy and expected. All opposition segments are going through the early stage of Bruce Tuckman’s 1965 Forming Storming Norming Performing team-development model

While the Syrian opposition members have done the relatively easy part of (Forming) the provisional council, they yet to go through and feel the heat of the difficult stage of (storming) which is always titled with defensiveness, competition, and choosing sides, where leaders may be clashing for control (Ghlaion and Dallila) and members disagree and may blame the team concept, saying it doesn’t work (i.e. Mann’a)

Personally speaking, I hope it’s not too long till we start seeing the council in the Nomring stage where the council members will be working well together, and at that time they may start to “brag up” the council concept to others segments of opposition spectrum who aren’t in the council yet.

Good things take time bye bye ya Bashar!!

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September 4th, 2011, 7:18 pm


112. Pirouz said:

A couple of things:

First, I watched Mosaic World News on iTunes which provides Arabic newscasts dubbed in English. I was disappointed by their selections: Aljazeera, BBC Arabic (!) and a pro-March 14 Lebanon TV newscast (can’t remember the name). We can pretty much get this type of perspective from our own Western MSM. I was hoping to see perspectives from “the other side of the hill.” They do show Iran’s Press TV, but this is not an Arabic source.

Second, Iran is not throwing Bashar under the bus. For a while now, Iranian political scientists and even some politicians have been arguing for a more nuanced approach to the Syrian situation. Basically, Iran is now saying political reforms in representative governance (which Bashar is promising, albeit down the road) should be fulfilled. One might look at this as a means of hedging their bets, but I wouldn’t go so far. One thing’s for sure: the Iranians have paid a price for giving the impression they are 100% behind Bashar– have you seen the latest Arab opinion poll?

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September 4th, 2011, 8:02 pm


113. OFF THE WALL said:

Solitarius– continued

I have done some thinking about your comments. I have answered the first one, and now I am answering the one in which you chided me for responding to Amir. Well you should practice what you preach.

Giggling is not the objective here, the objective is to show the absurdity of the mindless menhebak characters and their mindless, stuck in the sixties, supporters from other countries (Yes I mean ANN), to whose interference in internal Syrian Affairs you have not objected. And if that ridicule comes as an answer to an Israeli person, so be it.

As for the issue of language, the uprising is not a product to market. Naming whatever the early provocateurs decided to name their action does not change the character of the action, which is a revolt against 40 years of marginalization of the Syrian Citizenry by a very small group led by the Assad Family through a larger brutal security system . The sycophants of Assads are the ones who made it essential to make the demolition of the regime and the removal of its head as the only viable option left for Syria to progress. The pathetic fraudulent laws, the godhood of Assad, the corruption of that family, and its brutality made that name the symbol of Syria–the republic of fear, of corruption, ineptness, of mismanagement, and of stonewalling every sincere attempt to reform, and the burial ground of talent. The Syrians are smart, and they are going after the source of the disease not the symptom.

TRUE @ 111
Excellent comment. Very close to my sentiment on this issue, and much better stated.

ANN @ 103
This is the most ridiculous piece of news I red today. So XINHUA is quoting SANA about ICRC commending the Syrian regime protection of its citizens subjects during conversation with Mualim on the day 24 Syrians lost their lives. WOW, yes, and Dennis Kucinich said that Bashar Al-Assad is the wisest man he ever met. From the same sources, relayed by the same relays.

Don’t you have any respect for your own intelligence.

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September 4th, 2011, 8:27 pm


114. OFF THE WALL said:

And the blood of Syrians and Palestinians is a red line that was crossed thousands of times by this regime. All other red lines pale in front of that line.

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September 4th, 2011, 8:43 pm


115. True said:

«the system is about to deliver a mortal blow to protests after the failure of the security solution and deploy the army in order to take control of the cities to prevent protests».

In another desperate move Besho seeks assistance of his father’s comrades, retired generals are off the bench and back on board as presidential “consultants” to repeat the scenario Hama but in Homs this time !!!

The generals (criminals) are:

Ali Duba, who was the head of military intelligence for many years and the second man in Syria.

Mohammed Kholi, who was the head of the Air Intelligence and security adviser to Hafez Assad and his special , the godfather of Ali Mamlouk since 1970

Nayef Ala’qel, who was one of the second row generals, has been involved in the events of Black September in Jordan in late 1972 and the October War and was one of the fiercest criminals involved in the massacre of Hama in the eighties

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September 4th, 2011, 8:59 pm


116. True said:



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September 4th, 2011, 9:02 pm


117. Revlon said:

111. Dear True @ ALL

( The “disunity” (or disagreement as I call it) of the opposition is very healthy and expected. All opposition segments are going through the early stage of Bruce Tuckman’s 1965 Forming Storming Norming Performing team-development model.)

I agree with your assessment.
Divergence of views and approaches on how to achieve the unifying objective of regime change and the buuilding of a free and democratic Syria is both refreshing and promising.

While many of the highly regarded activists and thinkers, including Ghalioun, Maleh, and Manna3 shine in their fileds of interest, they seem to lack either abilities or skills in team work, which sometimes makes them succumb to self rightousness.

I do believe that the best formula for an oppositional council is to allow in it as many aspiring activists or politicians as adequate representation of the Syrian fabric would require.
The council would be charged with doing the talking, planning and the setting of goals and objectives.

Walking the talk should be mandated to a handful of non-parisan technocrats, with impeccable relevent CV, which is especially notable for proven skills in communication and team work.

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September 4th, 2011, 9:43 pm


118. sheila said:

To all,
Every time I see the so called Abdel Haleem Khaddam I feel my blood boiling. The audacity of this man. Thinking that people will believe what he says or consider him a legitimate opposition leader. What makes matters more annoying is that he has been living in Paris since 2005 and dare I say, living rather well. May I ask where the money is coming from: his savings? Or his pension?. Mr. Khaddam: please just shut up and hide under a rock. Syrians do not believe you and do not want to see or hear you. Chances are, you will be one of those taken to court for corruption, when it is all said and done.

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September 4th, 2011, 10:23 pm


119. Alescander said:

Aboud and the other haters proved a point, the extreme polarization the syrians are living. When a revolutionist loses clarity and balance, starts insulting and threatening who disagrees with them! They are another kind of Shabeeha!

If You look at Aboud’s posts, and use your panoramic viewer , you will see how closely he resembles the corrupt rulers of Syria!
The Ba’ath started with noble ideas , then jerks took hold of it
The current revolution is sliding quickly into the same trap, ” with us or against us” they are already canceling all who oppose them, isnt this another face of the eightth amendment of constitutution of Ba’ath as the leader?
Personally it is hilarious that I am accused of being a regime supporter. I have left the country 20 years ago , if I wasn’t able to leave , I would probably be demonstrating side by side with the opposition .
Syria bled all of it’s brains, it has now only military junta, corrupt mukhabarat, on one side , if also has rabid haters who don’t accept any other view. And who are the victims? The innocent bystanders who have nothing to do with the regime or the haters, the sad fact is that it’s intellectuals who emigrated are very smart yet they are so distant from it’s current affairs , they are not qualified to rule, the inside people are either the sincere , poor man who has nothing to lose, and a small , but significant fraction of low life scums riding the waves.
We can sit here and exchange accusations forever , for each story told by the opposition , the other side have one.
We should be balanced , and have the clarity, and the vision of a new inclusive country , if MBs have abandoned violence and can win in elections , so be it , if the Ba’ath abandoned it’s corrupt leaders and proposed a new, impacting measures to really apply it’s original theorem , PEACFULLy , so be it
All in a system of accountability

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September 4th, 2011, 10:25 pm


120. Some guy in damascus said:

“a reminder: X marks are on homes of some alawis in Damascus,”
I’ve never heard of such incidents, or anything close to that.
can you elaborate on it?

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September 4th, 2011, 10:49 pm


121. Haytham Khoury said:

ويكيليكس ينشر وثيقة حول التمرد الذي حصل في سجن صيدنايا سنة 2008

في مذكّرة سرية تحمل الرقم 10DAMASCUS158 صادرة عن السفارة الأميركية في 24 شباط 2010، جاء في اجتماع ضم مسؤولين من السفارة الأميركية في دمشق وناشطة حقوقية سورية، أن الأخيرة ذكرت أنّها سجّلت خلال الأشهر الأربعة الأخيرة مقابلات مع ثلاثة عسكريين وحارس سجن وسجين سابق في صيدنايا قائلة إنهم اعترفوا جميعهم بوجودهم خلال فترة أعمال الشغب في السجن.
من سجناء إلى مقاتلين
وجاء حسب الذين حاورتهم الناشطة، أنّ بعد اجتياح القوات الأميركية العراق، قدّمت الحكومة السورية فرصة إلى السجناء في صيدنايا في الحصول على تدريبات عسكرية في سوريا، ومن ثم السفر إلى العراق لمحاربة قوات التحالف، كاشفة أن بين الذين عادوا من العراق، بقي الكثير منهم أحرارا وعلى علاقة بالنظام، وتم إرسال آخرين إلى لبنان، بينما تم القبض على مجموعة ثالثة (من الإسلاميين) وزجّ أعضائها في سجن صيدنايا مجددا.
أعمال شغب منظمة
وأضافت الناشطة أنّ المقاتلين الذين أعيدوا إلى صيدنايا شعروا بأنّ الحكومة السورية خدعتهم عبر إعادة سجنهم، شارحة أنّ السجناء توقعوا معاملة أفضل وحتى الحرية، وكانوا مستائين من أحوال السجن، مشيرة إلى أن هذه العوامل أدّت إلى العصيان في 5 تموز 2008. ونقلت عن السجناء أنّهم صنعوا السيوف من هياكل الأسرّة المعدنية، وعندما توصلوا إلى صنع كمية كافية من الأسلحة، نظموا عصيانا للاحتجاج على أحوال السجن.
وقد أتى رد الحكومة السورية عبر تطويق السجن بعناصر من اللواء الرابع لقمع الاحتجاجات، موضحة نقلا عن السجناء أن القوة العسكرية الحكومية نجحت جزئيا في السيطرة على أعمال الشغب، وحافظت المجموعات الإسلامية على سيطرتها على جزء واسع من السجن واحتجزت عددا وافرا من الرهائن الذين فاوضوا بهم في مقابل الغذاء من تموز إلى تشرين الأول. وخلال تلك الفترة، أعاد السجناء تنظيم صفوفهم وخططوا للعصيان الذي وقع في كانون الأول 2008 والذي أدّى الى مقتل نحو خمسين سجينا. وشرح السجناء خلال حوارهم مع الناشطة أنّهم استطاعوا الصمود كل تلك الفترة بفضل التدريبات العسكرية التي حصلوا عليها قبل توجههم إلى العراق.

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September 4th, 2011, 10:57 pm


122. sheila said:

To dear #119. Alescander,
You are right in your assessment. Emotions are running high among all of us here at SC. Most of us are rational, educated people, who truly love Syria and only want the best for her and her people, only very few are on the periphery.
Almost all of us agree that the current regime is very corrupt, but we disagree on how to solve this problem. Some are scared of chaos and sectarian killings, which, in my view, are very legitimate concerns for all people, but especially for minorities. Some of us believe that there are armed gangs in Syria wreaking havoc, some of us think that there are no armed gangs. The truth is probably in the middle: there are some armed groups, but the majority of the protesters are unarmed. Some of us feel that the opposition should negotiate with the government and push for reforms instead of destroying the country, and some of us believe that there is no use of talking with the government because it is unwilling and unable to reform it self. Some of us believe that what is happening is all the work of the west in a great conspiracy against Syria and some of us believe that if it weren’t for the terrible state of Syria, no one would have been able to push the people to go out and protest. The truth is probably in the middle: there is foreign influence and attempts to stir trouble, but the problems in the country are the real reason why we are where we are today.
Bottom line: we all agree on the principle that Syria needs to change, but we do not agree on the how. I do not think that there is anything wrong with that. What do you think?

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September 4th, 2011, 11:00 pm


123. Haytham Khoury said:

Dear Alescander @119

Indeed, MB renounced all form of violence in 2001.
Further, MB signed the final document of the Antalya conference accepting the separation between state and religion.

However, MB is not able to take more 15% in any general election.

For this reason, I do not think the MB is the problem

The main problem is getting rid of the regime.

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September 4th, 2011, 11:18 pm


124. Alescander said:

To some guy in damascus
Regarding X marks , my friend lives in Mashrooa Dummar they saw an X mark on their door. They called the security , they are alawis ,
This is all I know ,
It could be done by kids, by extremists , or even by mukhabarat themselves
The bottom-line this is disturbing

Dear Sheila
You are correct Syria HAS to change, in my opinion even from the moment Tunis protests started
Yes there is nothing wrong with not agreeing on how to implement the changes
Eventually we should reach a consensus on this.

Dear Haytham I brought the MB as an empirical example , to make a point that in a system of accountability we have nothing to fear
My fear is the amount of hate and the consequences on innocents and the country

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September 5th, 2011, 6:46 am


125. Sunny said:

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September 7th, 2011, 9:00 am


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