George Saghir Responds to Samir Aita

George Saghir responds to Samir Aita’s Critique
by George Saghir
for Syria Comment
February 16, 2011

What I would have loved to read in Mr. Aita’s critique of my article – What Does the Future Hold for Syria - is a road map for how Syria can achieve its objective of 7-8 percent economic growth. I was looking forward to a discussion on the role of the public sector and the merits (or not) of privatization. For the record, I am in the privatization camp. I was hoping that I would learn what Syria should do to attract the enormous amounts of foreign investments that its government has set as a top policy objective. Sadly, Mr. Aita decided to spend his energy refuting my population growth estimates and accusing me of being part of a discourse talking about Arabs who are “underdeveloped and making a lot of children”.

The population growth assumption:

In comment number 50 in my post, I reiterated to one of the readers the source and logic behind my data. The latest statistic from Damascus is sourced from end of 2009 data. My source is the UN’s population division. The tables can be accessed by visiting their population database which is under “the 2008 revision”. Readers are invited to do so themselves. Those who decide to do so will notice that the tables are listed in 5 year increments. The population growth rate for the 2005-2010 is clearly listed at 3.26%.

Mr. Aita explains that this number is due to the sudden rise of the population in 2006-2007 as Syrian experienced the arrival of around 1.5 million Iraqis. If Mr. Aita is correct in his hypothesis that Iraqi refugees are behind the 3.25% and that Syria has no population problem to worry about then great. Perhaps he should arrange for a meeting with the country’s health minister and assure you him of such since he said the following just a few days ago:

واعتبر الوزير تسارع النمو السكاني مشكلة كبيرة، وسيتم التعامل معها بجدية في هذه المرحلة، من خلال التعاون مع هيئة تنظيم الأسرة للعمل على تخفيض نسبة الولادات، مشيراً إلى أن هذه المشكلة لا تؤثر على القطاع الصحي فحسب بل على كافة القطاعات، ولذا فإن معالجتها لا تنحصر بوزارة الصحة بل هي قائمة على تعاون جميع الوزارات مع بعضها البعض، ولا يكفي تحديد النسل بل يجب نشر الثقافة والتوعية من خلال السلطات الدينية

The health minister is not alone of course. Various government officials including the Prime Minister himself have warned of high population growth rate over the past few years. Hopefully, they don’t also belong to my group of people who are accusing Arabs of being “underdeveloped and making a lot of children”.

Where Mr. Aita does agree with me is on the low participation rates for women. Not only does he repeat my point here but he goes a step further and informs us that:

“Not only is the participation of women in the labor force low in Syria, but it has declined significantly!”

It would have helped of course if he would have shared with us his reasoning of how the low and falling labor participation rates for women would be consistent with a falling population rates to 1.69%. I was under the impression that a population rate of as low as 1.69% for Syria would be consistent with much higher women labor participation rates especially that day-care help is not widespread in our society. This was again a missed opportunity for us to learn more from Mr. Aita.

Unemployment:

I have spent almost 20 years analyzing the relationship between economic growth and the performance of the labor market in the U.S. My note for Syria Comment was not a research paper on growth-employment dynamics. If he felt that my argument was too simplistic then he ought to know that this was precisely what the objective was. Of course, employment and growth are not automatically or perfectly correlated.

That a person with Mr. Aita intellect would say that I want “consciously or not – that Syria follows the fate of Egypt” is indeed astonishing as he himself phrased it.

We are told that consecutive Egyptian governments have tried to increase growth and reduce the population growth rate as their only slogans for “more than two decades”.

This is an inaccurate statement.

Egypt failed to grow its per capita nominal income for nearly two decades. The country’s average nominal GDP per capita was little changed at $2160 in 2009 compared with $2155 in 1989. The economic reforms did not start till 2004 when the former President was finally convinced that he needs to do something to increase growth. Thanks to corruption and cronyism these reforms never trickled down and the simplistic per capita nominal income does a fine job at explaining why Egypt has struggled of late.

Subsidies:

Mr. Aita and the IMF article IV seem to know more about the extent of the subsidies in Syria than the government itself. I do stand by my $8 billion number.

Politically speaking, reducing the subsidies in this environment is not going to be easy as I alluded to in my post. This does not make the subsidies a sound government policy. Subsidies distort the price signals that allocate resources efficiently in an economy. This is a fact. As for the public sector, Mr. Aita defends the sector and the people who decide to seek employment in it. Indeed, Syrians are rationale individuals. The public sector is a magnet for those in the labor force. Government jobs come with a formal contract, health insurance, retirement benefits, maternity leave, “and a minimum level of dignity even when the salaries are low”. It is of course also a job for life so it comes with tremendous security that the private sector will not match. While no one disputes the above, this is hardly a rationale or an endorsement of the sector as a viable economic model.

My “dependency on the state” comment:

The readers seem to have responded negatively when I inferred that the Syrian public has grown dependent on the state. This is fair. Perhaps a better way to have phrased my idea was to say that the state has made the public dependent on it. Most government programs are easier to get into than getting out of. Subsidies and publicly owned enterprises are no exceptions. The Syrian state spends an enormous amount of subsidies on basic commodities and especially energy products. The public criticizes the government for the lack of services ignoring the cost of subsidies and state employment costs. Were the state to have the hindsight of 20/20, there is very little probability that it would have designed such a subsidy system in the first place. I strongly believe that it would not have chosen to be in the business of running so many businesses either. Regrettably, it did.

There is no doubt that the subsidies help cushion the gap between income and expenditures for the low income groups. While the poor benefits, the rich benefits by more. The average Syrian family consumes 600 liters of mazot per year. The range of consumption is 200 to 2000 liters. The government has recently raised the price per liter from SYP 7 TO SYP 20. The family that consumes 200 liters had to endure an extra outlay of $56 a year.   The family that consumes 2000 liters (presumable the wealthy), had to incur 10 times that.
Total subsidies on total energy products (including electricity and fuel) add up to approximately $5.6 billion a year.

How does an average family benefit from say Mazot subsidies?

Given that the average consumption is 600 liters, monthly outlays on mazot add up to SYP 12,000 a year or SYP 1000 a month. The statistics office has recently announced that average median family expenditure on all items is close to SYP 30,000 a month. This means that spending on energy is 1/30 of monthly family spending on all items. The people who benefit from the subsidies are therefore not necessarily the average and poor income families. It is the industrialists who use cheap subsidized fuel and electricity to power plants. It is the smugglers who empty their tanks across the border.

When it comes to electricity, it costs the government SYP 8 per kilowatt. It is sold to households for SYP 2 and to industry for SYP 4. The higher rates only apply when one consumes as high as 2000 kilowatts. It is easy to do the math. There are 5 million household and 3.7 million independent dwellings in Syria.

Education is free in Syria. It should be for the poor. But why should the wealthy end up getting the same benefit. My own parents did not need the subsidies to send me to a Syrian university. The money that they received in my subsidized education at the time should have gone to a hospital or to an infrastructure project.

In sum, subsidies cannot be a blanket right for every Syrian citizen. The government must find a way to do a targeted approach where only the needy receive the help they so desperately need. Robbing from paul (hospitals, roads, infrastructure) to give to peter (my parents who can afford buying sugar, rice, mazot and electricity at market prices) does not strike me as a sustainable business model. With time, the government will go broke opening its subsidy checkbook to 23 million Syrians and growing.

More on the Syrian PMI:

Having checked my name following the posting of my note, Mr. Aita came across the realization that I was “a specialist in financial derivatives”. That discovery seems to have raised his concerns about the fate of our beloved country that has “charged” a person like me with publishing a “reliable” indicator. Mr. Aita should take comfort from the fact that The Syrian government is not directly or indirectly involved in this project. Both Banque Audi and I were not charged by anyone with carrying out this project.

The PMI stands for the Purchasing Managers Index. I have been following this economic indicator since the mid 1980’s. It is widely monitored by both policy makers and global investors. Over the past few years, the index was developed for an increasing list of economies thanks to its simplicity and timeliness. Over time, the index does an excellent job at tracking a country’s GDP. More specifically, it helps indicate whether business conditions in a country are improving, decelerating or staying the same this month versus last month.

Like many developing countries, Syria suffers from the lack of timely data. Following a personal meeting with the chief Executive of Banque Audi –Syria during one of my visits to the country, a discussion took place about the merits of looking into whether such an initiative can take place in Syria. After a few months of discussions, we decided to undertake such an endeavor. Those in charge of calculating the index in the U.S, Saudi and the UAE were contacted. The formulas and methodologies were checked and agreed upon. The success of the index will be based on the response rate from Syrian businesses. This was explained during a meeting with key business owners back in December. Senior members of the Syrian government were notified and were present during the launch. It is important to reiterate that this is a private undertaking. The Syrian government has not “charged” anyone to carry out this effort. Government officials have made it clear that they will support and encourage similar private initiatives and that the presence of Mr. Dardari at the launch was not an exclusive endorsement of this project at the expense of other similar future endeavors. The role of the Syrian government, and especially the office of Mr. Dardari, was exemplary. They supported the project but at an arm’s length. Lastly, it is worth noting that Saghir Advisory Services was recently created just to carry out this none-for-profit initiative. More details especially under the frequently asked questions (About Us tab) can be found by visiting this website.

The U.S. Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) has recently been renamed the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) report on business:

The Syria PMI is modeled on the US version and will use the same exact methodology.

Comments (76)


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51. Majhool said:

Alex you said “s Majhool decided to focus on to avoid paying attention to the emotionally painful realization that these were random sunnis supporting President Assad”

Amazingly, you figured out my emotional state: that I, an agnostic, shed tears on the sight of a “sunni” (how did you know she was one? and does really matter) supporting the president.
I am afraid that soon, you may quote Bushra that I was raped by a UN soldier and was spying for the CIA!! You will not make your point by trying to paint me as a “sunni” If anything and according to Elie the regime is promoting sectarian feelings by concentrating sensitive positions in the “fear apparatus” along sectarian lines.

Let’s move away from emotions and discuss facts. Do you really expect that a reasonable person would buy your hypothesis of “if the president dares to drive in a narrow street and survives it that this means he has majority support? Really!!??

Kennedy, Ghandy, etc.. did not survive only because they were popular. Yes the president does have supporters of all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Enough genuine support that would fill public squares and stadiums. But this is not the entire population and this is only under the current vacuum of established political figures (which is a direct result of the authoritarian system to start with).

Let me help you out here:

Pick 5 key performance criteria that are indicative of good governance: things like ( Fair Judicial System, Corruption level, living standards, sense of empowerments and ownership among citizens; willingness of defending the country in case of an attack)
Then go probe the people indirectly (these issues are more freely debated on news sites since they don’t touch the president directly) then you will get a good estimate as to how popular the government is.

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February 18th, 2011, 5:58 pm

 

52. NK said:

ALEX

I’m not sure where you went to school, but I still remember the numerous times we were asked to attend school on national holidays to participate in a demonstration, I’m not saying that’s what took place this time, just saying it happened before so I wouldn’t put it beyond the Syrian regime.

You’re saying the vast majority of the people were regular citizens, but sadly you have absolutely no way to prove that was the case, just like I have absolutely no way to prove otherwise, the way I see it, there’s no way that many people happened to be in that souq or nearby when the president chose to drive through, which means they knew ahead of time he was going to pass through, which doesn’t really make any sense since the area is a security nightmare, also State TV conveniently had cameras spread in the area, in strategic locations non the less, to broadcast the demonstration live on State TV!!! I watched most of it and would have loved it if the TV crew interviewed some of those demonstrators, asked them about their thoughts, and what they wanted to ask of the president, or even interviewed those who did talk to the president … instead all we heard was the same old empty rhetoric, while the camera took those wide-lens shots.

Yesterday their was an interview about facebook and social networking with two, ( pardon my french ), old farts. One of them was explaining how facebook started and what made it so successful, sadly the guy didn’t even know how facebook started, but that didn’t stop him from going on state TV to spread his misleading nonsense. Facebook was banned in Syria for god knows how long, for no apparent reason, and now, a week after they lifted the ban, they’re having a talk show about facebook and the importance of social media today ? really ?.

Anyways, my point is, the media in Syria is misleading, it has a track record of spreading lies and only reporting half the story, and I have every right to question anything they choose to report, and actively seek the full story rather than the bits they normally choose to throw viewers way.

Which brings us full circle back to corruption and reform, you can’t expect reform, when the people expected to implement this reform are the same corrupt people you want the reform to get rid of to begin with. And while I’m willing to give the president the benefit of the doubt, that doesn’t extend to the corrupt officials or businessmen, that everyone in Syria knows, without a shred of doubt, won’t bring anything other than more corruption.

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February 18th, 2011, 6:19 pm

 

53. Shami said:

Bro Alex ,

Do you agree with these irritating answers from a smarter than bashar ?

Do you believe that in 2016 we will reach the poor level of freedom that existed in Egypt under the defunct Mubarak regime ?

Good luck !

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February 18th, 2011, 8:04 pm

 

54. ayman said:

Sami Aita’s as intellectually brilliant as he’s emotionally obtuse. My dear friend is proof God never gives everything to anyone.

This story is a minor diversion from the bigger story; why? Why are we so risk averse? And, do we-as a group-like our regime? My response is yes; we’re risk averse, and yes we do like our regime. We can’t help it…it’s in our nature. Go to my Uncle’s blog and read my essay on this; http://www.middleastforum.com.

We are the product of ten thousand years of survival and Damascus isn’t the oldest inhabited capital in history for nothing. Our enemy (Israel) defines us, and our enemy hates our regime. That -in itself- is grounds enough for me to love Bashar Al Assad. I also take him at his word as to his wish for reform.

Why our enemy hates our regime is a mystery. In 2003 I asked a reporter-Yosi Ben Horin, Maarif’s Washington correspondent-why do the Likudnicks hate Bashar? His response to me on the phone was cryptic; “we have the same nuts in Israel that you have in the US”. Back then I thought he was referring to neo-cons.

As long as our regime is anti Israel, and Israel is anti Syria we must all stand together against these “nuts”. It’s that simple. I know this truism is baffling to many of you. It’s a gut feeling, and I trust our gut feelings…they’ve served us well. Democracy and accountability are not as existential an issue as safety.

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February 18th, 2011, 8:41 pm

 

55. Majhool said:

Ayman,

I respect your “love” to the president. It would be nice if you could respect that others may want an election and choose for themselves.

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February 18th, 2011, 9:32 pm

 

56. Alex said:

Dr. Ayman, good to see you here : )

Shami,

That was a terrible terrible interview!

The President was asked many of these difficult questions and his answers were very honest.

http://www.dp-news.com/pages/video-detail.aspx?l=2&vid=138685

Wallahi I know we need to change faster Shami. I’m writing a long article, if I finish it before the Middle East is turned totally upside down, you will hopefully better understand me.

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February 18th, 2011, 10:12 pm

 

57. ayman said:

Majhool. I detect sarcasm and I appreciate where it is coming from.

I would like to enroll you in the possibility that Bashar would be re-elected even if the Carter Center supervised our next elections, and all candidates were given ample time to campaign. I say this out of conviction and not out of affection. I am a plastic surgeon, I live in Washington DC. I have no relatives in Syria. Not a single one of us Hakkis live there anymore.

I just know that Syria is a Brand not just a country. This dictates subversion of our political and economic needs to our millennia old mind set. Until Israel returns our land and works out its problem with our brothers and sisters we will persist in words (if not in deeds) in our support of Bashar. He is the standard bearer of our rejectionist brand…live with it.

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February 19th, 2011, 7:56 am

 

58. Akbar Palace said:

Dr. Strangelove

I would like to enroll you in the possibility that Bashar would be re-elected even if the Carter Center supervised our next elections, and all candidates were given ample time to campaign.

Ayman,

If that were so, why doesn’t the Syria government hold elections or provide freedom to the people? And what about term limits? One vote/lifetime just doesn’t cut the mustard.

Until Israel returns our land…

That used to be a good excuse, but it’s wearing thin.

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February 19th, 2011, 9:52 am

 

59. Norman said:

Ayman,

It is obvious that you are an issue oriented individual and as long as the country is moving in the right direction , You do not care who is leading it there , Unfortunately many others are not,

You are culturally American more than Syrian,

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February 19th, 2011, 10:05 am

 

60. Ghat Albird said:

AYMAN.

The pros and cons of the number of elections held by anyone in no way is definitve of principled and/or democratic actions taken by any government. Prime example the US which has followed a zionist plan called “The Clean Break” that has resulted in the deaths of millions of Iraqis and is at the present engaged in doing the same in Afghanistan.

From all indications Syria’s posture has been and is the one “craw” in Israel’s existance. All Arabs including their leaders should keep in mind what Israeli leaders have long adhered to the judgment of early Zionist leader Chaim Weizmann: “The Arabs will be our problem for a long time…They’re ten to one, but don’t we Jews have ten times their intelligence?”

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February 19th, 2011, 10:16 am

 

61. Norman said:

Can any of you tell me that if MR Aita and his friends living in Syria are so smart , why didn’t they establish an index that seems to be needed for Syria to have investments and why Syria has to wait for a Syrian living in the US for years and a Lebanese bank to do so ,

It is obvious , They do not think and plan, They just do not get it and that is the problem with the Syrian government , they just do not know and do not want to learn from others, their mentality is (( Can not be done in Syria )) while the Syrians out of Syria think that(( anything can be done )) if you put your mind to it , many of us in the West in general and the US in particular would have stayed in Syria if we were not willing to work hard and hustle and push sleep on the floors and do odd jobs until we got where we are,

My feeling that Syria is better off using the expertise of her citizen who left the country and succeeded,They are optimistic and move fast .

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February 19th, 2011, 10:42 am

 

62. jad said:

George, here you go about the subsidies electricity issue you raised and this time it’s the Syrian government who is saying that our electricity is already expensive and not me, what do you think??

بعد الإشاعات التي سادت الفترة الأخيرة حول احتمال زيادة أسعار الكهرباء، علمت داماس بوست من مصادر مطلعة أن الفريق الفني والتقني في وزارة الكهرباء خلص مؤخراً من أجراء عملية التقييم الشامل لأسعار الطاقة الكهربائية (الشرائح الأربعة)، وشمل التقييم مقارنة بين أسعار الكهرباء في سوريا وبين أسعارها في الدول المجاورة, فلوحظ ارتفاع أسعارها في سوريا مقارنة بدول الجوار، الأمر الذي يرجح أن زيادة لن تحصل على أسعار الكهرباء، حسب ما ذكر المصدر

المصدر: خاص – داماس بوست

http://www.damaspost.com/%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%B5/%D9%84%D8%A7-%D8%B2%D9%8A%D9%80%D9%80%D8%A7%D8%AF%D8%A9-%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89-%D8%A3%D8%B3%D9%80%D8%B9%D9%80%D9%80%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%83%D9%87%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%80%D9%80%D8%A7%D8%A1.htm

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February 19th, 2011, 11:08 am

 

63. ayman said:

While all the comments above are valid ones, and I do agree that the the “excuse of Israel is wearing thin”, the best comment is the one that mentions the clean break document: It specifies taking out Iraq in order to foil Syria’s plans for hegemony in the region. Camille posted the exact quote in his comments on my essay; why Syria isn’t next, go to http://www.middleastforum.com .

I am proud to be a Syrian American, but I’m not “more American than Syrian”. Even though I do share America’s concern for the long term safety and well being of Israelis. This legitimate concern prompts me to want Israel to steer away from the likes of Netanyahu. Everyone I trust who has personally met with both Netanyahu and Assad (and has a head on his/her shoulder) will tell you that Bashar has more integrity than Bibi. The Arab world’s leading centrist Marwan Muasher is one of those men. He is no friend of the Syrian regime, and he is not Israel’s enemy (by any stretch of the imagination); ask him, and he’ll verify my claim.

Israel claims to be the only democracy in the Middle East (if one exclude a million Palestinians from this democratic experiment. But this only proves that democracy is not the end-all solution to the complex issues that exist in our region. I’d rather have a man who was reluctantly pulled in to rule over my people, and who is a decent man, rule me…than a man who seeks power and is indecent.

Talk of democracy, single term rule and such is all well and good. I assure you all we’ll do so one day, but the immediate concerns of most (if not all) Syrians are with Israel’s right wing and its wayward oppressive ways. Go to the Golan, poll the original inhabitants of that annexed region and you may then see my point.

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February 19th, 2011, 11:16 am

 

64. Akbar Palace said:

Do as I say, not as I do

This legitimate concern prompts me to want Israel to steer away from the likes of Netanyahu. Everyone I trust who has personally met with both Netanyahu and Assad (and has a head on his/her shoulder) will tell you that Bashar has more integrity than Bibi.

Ayman,

Guess what? When the Israelis get tired of BB, they’ll vote him out like they did before.

Interestingly, you want Israel to “steer away” from the current elected PM, yet you make all kinds of excuses for Assad. Typical.

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February 19th, 2011, 11:54 am

 

65. ayman said:

As for Norman’s comment; you’re right about us Syrians living outside Syria (A), but those of us living in Syria (like Samir and Basil) deserve more credit than you give them, and more than we deserve credit(B).

A; I have 11 male “Hakki” relatives; about half of them doctors and the other half engineers: A general surgeon, a chemical engineer, an electrical engineer, a civil engineer, a vascular and transplant surgeon, a gastroenterologist, a computer science engineer, a periodontist, a dentist, an infectious disease doctor, and a bio-medical engineer. I too am a plastic surgeon…and that is it one dozen. All of us male Hakkis are US citizens and not a single one of us is unemployed or uneducated, and though my one uncle still lives part-time in Syria he spends most of his time in Houston with his dentist sons. I don’t know what this says about us, but-with due respect to Buthaina Shaaban-none of us lives by a dumpster. None of us has a single problem with Syria. If our parent’s generation was Jeel al Hazeema, we’re Jeel Al Firar.

Part B; I have very dear friends in Syria, and everyone there is a planner. I suspect they are much more so than you and I Norman. Had they been non-planner they would have been here, or in Europe, or anywhere other than Syria where it’s much harder to earn a good living. When you have a degree from the Poli-Technique in Paris it isn’t hard to live there or do a lot of planning and the fact that Samir has not established “investment Indexes” is a reflection on what is normative there, not on his inability to plan. Norman, don’t take credit for being here, you and I are the problem not the solution. If you don’t believe me; go back to Syria…then compare yourself to our friends there…they are absolutely great.

Nuff said ;)

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February 19th, 2011, 11:56 am

 

66. ayman said:

As for Asghar Kookh’s comment: Had BB been the currently elected PM my point would not be valid. The problem is that BB is the re-currently re-elected PM of Israel. This proves my very point that majority rule isn’t always best. Only when minority protection is in place (and applicable to all those living within a state’s borders) is majority rule good. Syria has great minority protection and the majority is subdued, Israel has an electorally empowered majority and its minority suffers by all decent human standards. Give me Syria’s model over Israel’s any day. I would be happy to debate this issue with you in a neutral area such as the Syrian Jewish Quarter of N.Y., Let Syria’s x-pat Jews-not the goyim-judge us. You can repeat clever saying like “Do as I say, not as I do”, and you can scoff at me being “typical”. But you can’t argue that Israel has a big problem; it can’t be exclusively Jewish and democratic.

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February 19th, 2011, 12:22 pm

 

67. Norman said:

xxxx

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February 19th, 2011, 1:03 pm

 

68. Norman said:

What are the products that are subsidized in Syria,

By the way Ayman, I am a doctor, My brother is a civil Engineer my relatives are Engineers and doctors too ,
the problem that Syria has is that it take only 4 years to change the US and takes forever in Syria to move from subsidizing the products to supporting the needy .
We have been talking for years that for Syria to stop smuggling the prices in Syria has to match the prices in Lebanon and Jordon and now Turkey, but nothing seems to change ,

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February 19th, 2011, 1:07 pm

 

69. jad said:

Dear Norman,
Refer to my comment #4 reply to George’s idea of removing the subsidies strategy on Electricity.
http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=8412&cp=1#comment-242318

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February 19th, 2011, 1:58 pm

 

70. Ghat Albird said:

14 WRONG vs. 1 RIGHT.

The US has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have condemned Israeli settlements as “illegal” and called for an immediate halt to all settlement building.

All 14 other Security Council members voted in favour of the resolution, which was backed by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), on Friday.

Mark Lyall Grant, the British ambassador to the UN, speaking on behalf of his country, France and Germany, condemned Israeli settlements in the West Bank. “They are illegal under international law,” he said.

US Congressman Eric Cantor is keeping his promise to Bibi Nethanyahu.

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February 19th, 2011, 2:00 pm

 

71. Norman said:

Jad,

The utilities in Syria are Mazoot, Electricity, natural gass and car feul,

Electricity is the only utility that can not besmmuggled out the country, let us take the others, Mazot isneeded for heating and supporting the poor with coupons is needed, the same is right for the natural gass, about car feuls subsidy should be lifted on this one as most people who can afford a car in Syria do not need support for the feul,
The question is how can Syria asses the wealth of people, when most people do not use banks and how can Syria be sure that the people who are getting the coupons are using them and not giving them away like my mother does as she does not live in Syria or selling them as for other people.

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February 19th, 2011, 2:43 pm

 

72. Shami said:

Ayman,do you mean that Bashar will defeat Israel and get the Golan back to Syria ?

Whether you divinise asad or not ,regime change is an inescapable fact.

I fear that when he would face his fate once disarmed of his tools of fear,exclusive propaganda machine ,you would be disappointed by him and only then your conscience will recognize all the wrong done by asad father and son,relatives and cronies to the land of Zenobia.

Only an advanced arab society will be able to defeat the zionists.
The slogans that the regime bomb us with are more than useless ,a mean to hide sad facts that drag down the country and ensure a comfortable superiority of Israel.

Your uncle understand history better than you do.

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February 19th, 2011, 3:15 pm

 

73. Akbar Palace said:

US Congressman Eric Cantor is keeping his promise to Bibi Nethanyahu.

Ghat,

What promise did Eric Cantor make with BB? A url/link will do.

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February 19th, 2011, 4:17 pm

 
 

75. Akbar Palace said:

Ghat,

Thanks for the link. I didn’t read anything that Cantor specifically promised BB. I didn’t read, “Eric Cantor promised Benjamin Netanyahu X, Y and Z.”

The gist of the article was that Cantor’s office reiterated the usual Republican stance that US policy will be to support Israel’s vital interests.

Are you jealous?

BTW Ghat,

Apparently hundreds of Arabs are getting killed in demonstrations. Does this bother you? What are you doing about it?

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February 19th, 2011, 10:58 pm

 

76. Ghat Albird said:

Typical selective amnesia on your part AP. You all seem to forget the over 30 million Russians (1919 1999) communist/zionists.

Maybe reading this link will enlighten you.

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/11/13/israel/index.html

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February 20th, 2011, 10:29 am

 

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