Syria Faces A New Economic Reality – By Ehsani

Syria Faces A New Economic Reality
By Ehsani for Syria Comment
Sept 26, 2011

The recently announced import suspension prohibits the import of  all products that have a customs duty of over 5 percent. This notice also covers countries that Syria signed a free trade agreement with (Turkey, Ukraine and the Arab countries for example).  The original signed free trade agreements will no longer be fully adhered to.

As expected, the Ministry did issue a list of products which received an exemption from the ruling.  There are 51 items on this list. The first 17 are of the food products variety like meat, fish, cashew nuts, almonds and bananas.  Some of the details on the list are mind-bogglingly trivial.  The type of fish that was exempted from the ban for example was sword fish which made it to item number 5. Fish (with teeth) from the south pole or Australia also made it to the exemption list at number 6. But the sword fish were dropped again in item 7 which allowed all fish other than sword fish or those from the south pole and Australia.

The rest of the items are mostly medical in nature. Examples include x-ray machines, various Lab equipments, Dental chairs, and prescription and sun glasses.  The only vehicles allowed are buses for the local public transportation companies, fire and ambulance trucks as well as fork lifts. Mobile phones (current customs duty of 10%) were also exempt from the ruling.  This suspension is effective for all imports after September 22, 2011 (those who used a local bank prior to this date are exempt). Overall, the complexity of this ruling can only be appreciated when one delves into even more detail of what is banned and what is not.

The General Reaction to the Ruling:

The deputy Minister of the Economy and Trade was in Aleppo today. He was in a packed room of businessmen at the city’s Chamber of Commerce. Several passionate pleas were made to rethink the decision and to exempt more products. Many explained how they already have goods on the way and wondered what they would with them (they did not have an L/C open before September 22nd).  One wondered why cashew nuts were exempted when the U.S. used to be the largest supplier of this product (Vietnam and India are now the world’s largest exporters).  To every question, the deputy Minister’s response was to ask that they do so in writing and when the Ministry receives their written questions, it will study them in detail and see how they can help. To which one food importer responded that it would be too late as his goods are already at the border and by the time his letter reaches Damascus and be read he would have already thrown away his rotting produce.

One can read more about these shock waves hitting the Syrian business community. In the meantime, government has tried its best to argue that the decision has both pluses and minuses. On the minus side, the government is aware that prices of the recently banned items will rise rather significantly. Indeed, reports of price hikes close to 40 percent have already been reported on few electronic items while companies like Sony, Sharp and others have suspended their sales in the country altogether. While the government did not mention it, the other minus will stem from the fact that the grey market will now flourish as illicit trade fills the inevitable void that will develop. On the plus side, the Minister of the economy and trade has tried to argue that this decision will help local producers and employment. The argument appears logical at first. However, by referring to the measures as “temporary”, one fails to see how local producers will add to expensive capacity and hire new employees knowing that the decision can be reversed anytime. Local manufacturers are unlikely to invest in new machinery and equipment in this atmosphere. As it is, a number of industrialists have put expansion or new projects on hold over the last few years as the government has proved incapable of delivering sufficient electricity capacity.

Syria’s external Accounts undermined by its fixed exchange rate

This article argues that while the decision to suspend imports for these products appears to have been caused by the recent sanctions imposed by the US and EU, Syria’s external accounts were already being undercut by the fixed exchange rate policy that had encouraged imports and discouraged exports for years.  In the end, the authorities have found it expensive and difficult to finance the insatiable demand for foreign made products at the rate of SYP 47 to the dollar while revenues from oil production and exports fell steadily.

The 2012 Syrian Budget Rises by 59%

In addition to the pressure stemming from an imbalance in its foreign trade position, the other main problem in the economy comes from the government budgeting situation.  Just yesterday, the state increased its expenditures by 59 percent when it announced its new budget for 2012. The Social subsidies alone will amount to 29% percent (US$ 7.72) of all government expenditures . This means that one third out of every Dollar that the government spends will go to supporting a hugely expensive subsidy program that has spiraled out of control thanks to the country’s demographics and illicit trading (especially in mazot – fuel oil). How large is the budget and total government expenditures this year? The number is $US 26.5 billion or 50 per cent of total nominal GDP. This is an astoundingly high number.

Failure to Tax

The US$9.8 billion jump in expenditures this year needs to be funded by increased tax collection in a business environment that will be extremely challenging. One of the examples of an obvious and gaping hole in the government’s ability to collect taxes comes from custom duties on imports. While the government imposes duties close to 50% on many products, the 2009 government revenue from this area indicates that the treasury was only able to collect US$ 0.56 billion or 4.3% of the total value of goods imported. Following the recent sanctions on Syrian crude exports, it seems that the country was able to export around 110,000  barrels per day.  Revenues from such exports used to be in the range of  $3.0 billion. Given the recent sanctions and even when alternative buyers are found, it is expected that this can only take place after a hair cut is offered on the globally traded price. This is likely to further erode the government’s ability to earn much needed foreign exchange. It is possible that the difficulties of finding buyers will be such that talk of barter trades will soon be discussed. Iran already does this with its own crude exports. Indeed, this morning the Financial Times claims that Syria is unable to find any buyers for its oil (See Story below).

The pros and cons of a stable exchange rate:

Since the last currency crisis in the mid-1980, Syria has defined both political and economic success by the stability of its foreign exchange regime.   The central bank used the stability of its foreign exchange as the main metric of successful economic management.  This metric did not include economic growth, employment level or the balance of payments as targets. Stable exchange rate led to inflation stability and this is all that mattered to the economic planners.

In a flexible exchange regime, a loss of competitiveness or a widening trade imbalance usually results in a weaker currency which acts as self-correcting valve that restores the initial imbalances over time. Artificially fixed exchange rates deprive an economy from such a correcting mechanism. This is what happened in Syria. While this policy seemingly held imported inflation in check, it was causing significant damage to external accounts.  As the country adopted the new social market economy and import restrictions were lifted, an import orgy was now underway.  This was augmented by free trade agreements with the Arab world and later with Turkey.  Local producers who lived for decades under the comfortable protection of “himaye wataniye” were now under assault from a global market place that was more efficient and competitive than them.  It did not take long for Syrians to dump their manufacturing hats and transform themselves into importers. Throughout this worsening export/import imbalance, the currency value did not budge.  The Central Bank intervened at any sign of SYP weakness.

For Syria to continue to finance importers at the rate of SYP 47 to $1 dollar, it needed matching foreign currency receipts from its exports, remittances or tourism.  The hopes were high when it came to the latter two.  Thanks to a steady fall in oil production and exports however, the country’s ability to accumulate serious foreign currency was becoming harder to accomplish.  In spite of such trends, the foreign exchange regime was never modified to weaken the SYP to help make imports more expensive and/or to give local producers a much needed slight competitive advantage.

Proponents of the stable fixed Exchange rate regime pointed to stable inflation as the primary objective and how allowing the SYP to devalue will harm the economy. In reality, however, what transpired is that the government exhausted its ability to finance the country’s increasing appetite to import. Much has been discussed of the fact that the Central Bank sits on a comfortable foreign exchange reserve position of nearly US$ 18 billion. In reality, this number is impossible to verify. The official government data and accounting is simply not transparent enough to confirm such claims. More transparency is highly desirable in an effort to reduce speculation and rely on factual data during such a critical period. In the meantime, the only thing certain is that the government has decided to conserve on whatever foreign reserves it has at its disposal to prepare for an extremely challenging economic times in the period ahead.

News Round Up

Ban forces Syria to cut oil production – Financial Times

Syria has told foreign oil companies to cut production due to a backlog of crude that has filled its storage capacity because the government has been so far unable to bypass an embargo on crude oil exports imposed by the European Union.

Syria has sought to sell its oil to nations outside the EU, which before the ban imported around 95 per cent of the country’s output.

But industry executives and oil traders said the country had been so far unable to attract new
buyers in spite of offering discounts.

The failure has forced foreign oil companies to pump crude originally earmarked for export into storage. “There is a backlog of crude in the country,” said an industry executive.

“Storage is filling up,” the executive added, saying that some companies had been told to reduce output.

Gulfsands Petroleum, the London-listed company which operates in Syria, has cut its production by around 40 per cent at the request of the authorities. The company is now pumping about 14,500 barrels a day, down from about than 24,000 b/d in August.

Industry executives said other international oil companies operating in the country, which include Royal Dutch Shell, Total of France, and state-owned CNPC of China and ONGC of India, have also recently received orders to cut back.

Although international oil companies hope the cuts are temporary, and will end when Syria finds nations willing to take its crude, others see the drop lasting as long as the EU embargo remains.

Brussels imposed the oil ban in response to a crackdown by the regime of Bashar al-Assad on pro-democracy activists that
has seen more than 2,700 people die in the past six months.

Syria produced in August around 370,000 b/d of low quality crude oil, according to the International Energy Agency, the western countries’ oil watchdog.

The country exported around 150,000 b/d, with the rest consumed domestically. Germany and Italy accounted for roughly two-thirds of Syria’s oil exports last year.

Imad Moustapha, Syria’s ambassador to Washington, said in a recent interview with the Financial Times that the country would have no problem finding markets for its oil.

“It’s not that we are approaching people, it’s the other way around. We
are being approached,” he said.

But so far this month not a single cargo of Syrian crude oil has left the nation’s main export oil ports, according to shipping data. Several tenders of low quality, high sulphur Souedie crude, the country’s main export stream, have failed to attract any interest, traders said.

Oil traders said the impact of the EU ban on Syrian oil was wider than previously expected as international banks refused to open letters of credits – a common instrument used in trading – with Syrian entities, even when to destinations outside the EU. Tanker-owners were also reluctant to send their vessels to Syrian ports, they said.

The production losses compound the tight supply and demand balance in the Mediterranean and European region, home of four of the world’s 10 largest oil importing countries: Germany, France, Spain and Italy.

But the shortfall is not nearly as big as that created by the civil war in Libya, which produced before the start of the revolution 1.6m b/d of high quality, low sulphur crude oil.

Shell directed questions about production in Syria to the Damascus-based Al-Furat Petroleum Company, which could not be reached. Al-Furat is a joint venture between Syria’s state-owned General Petroleum Corporation, which controls a 50 per cent stake, Shell Oil and CNPC. Total did not responded to calls and e-mails.

Also from the FT, Syrian to look east for oil markets

Imad Moustapha, Damascus’s envoy in Washington, says the country will be able to offset the impact of western sanctions by looking east.

Mr Moustapha would not elaborate on which companies or countries had contacted his government but Syria’s bravado underlines the difficulty that western nations have in trying to inflict economic pain on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in a bid to make it stop its violent crackdown on six months of pro-democracy protests.

“It’s not that we are approaching people, it’s the other way around. We are being approached,” Mr Moustapha told the Financial Times. “But no contracts have been signed yet.”

The US has imposed repeated rounds of sanctions on the Syrian regime since the unrest began in March, most recently banning any US investment in Syria’s crucial energy sector and prohibiting US companies from buying Syrian oil.

The sanctions were mainly symbolic as the US has minimal involvement in Syria’s energy sector. But the European Union, which buys more than 90 per cent of Syria’s crude oil exports, followed suit with an oil embargo of its own.

The 27-member bloc, however, said members had until mid-November to stop importing oil, a grace period during which Syria could line up other buyers for its oil, thereby possibly limiting the immediate impact.

Mr Moustapha brushed off the American sanctions, saying the US had been taking such actions since the 1950s. But the European sanctions were a different story.

“Of course they are going to have a negative effect. They create a challenge for us to find a way to develop our economy and we are not denying that it will be a challenge,” he said.

Syria would be forced to shift its economic gaze eastward, Mr Moustapha said, just as Iran increasingly looked to China after chilling sanctions on its energy and financial sectors.

“We will re-orient our economy towards Asia, Africa and South America. We have a whole spectrum of options open to us,” he said.

Syria exports a heavy, sour crude oil called Souedie, chiefly to refiners in Germany, Italy, France and the Netherlands. Although it would be expensive to transport it beyond the Mediterranean Sea, both China and India have the technical capacity to refine this type of oil.

Ayham Kamel, a Middle East analyst at the Eurasia Group in Washington, said he would not be surprised if customers had been knocking on Syria’s door, looking to take advantage of the political situation to get a cheap de

Harvard website hacked by Syria protesters – BBC

Along with a picture of Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, the hacked home page showed a message saying the “Syrian Electronic Army Were Here”.

A further message made terror threats against the United States and criticised its opposition to the Assad regime.

Harvard said this has been the work of a “sophisticated individual or group”.

“The university’s homepage was compromised by an outside party this morning. We took down the site for several hours in order to restore it. The attack appears to have been the work of a sophisticated individual or group,” said a Harvard spokesman.

The website was hacked on Monday morning by what appeared to be sympathisers of President Assad of Syria, with a picture of the president in military uniform appearing in front of a Syrian flag.

This was linked to another image of Syrian national colours, with a message accusing the United States of involvement in the uprisings against President Assad.

Brief Note:

The Sarkozy story from the previous thread has elicited many responses questioning the accuracy of the report and why the story was published without investigating further into the claim. It is indeed the case that SC did not do more than link to the story as it appeared in Al Diyar. Another reader asked the source of the information behind Hotbird’s decision to stop carrying addunia. It was here.

Comments (1,388)


Pages: « 118 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 [28] Show All

1351. some guy no longer in damascus said:

areal,
1) have you been keeping track of my every comment?
2) not 1 single opposition member was given a chance to go on an interview, phone call or even article. NOT ONE!
3) read this:
http://sana.sy/eng/21/2011/06/28/355388.htm
then read this
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/06/29/137500678/kucinich-visits-syria-says-he-was-misquoted-by-state-press
4)http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2011/07/16/358750.htm
i know everything there is to know about midan, and this was FAAAAAAAAKEEEEEEEEEE!!! unreal, plastic,LIES!!!
these people were bought in, transported by the green buses the regime uses to transport there grey shabeeha. i assure you everyday , the people of midan go out and demonstrate to bring down this evil regime and not once has this pathetic news agency of yours truly given the reality behind these protests. we get stupid vague articles like : tens of protesters gather to chant for faster reforms under the semi-god besho, the protest finished with no one harmed.
5) i said i can refute the regime’s media and not just SANA, be it champress, syrian state tv, addunia, and ikhbaria sooriya. hmm i can’t believe my taxes fund syrian state :(. i could’ve used that money to buy some real comedy instead of this unintentional syrian “media” comedy.
—————————————————————
furthermore SANA has reported today that the temperature in Damascus is 27 degrees. my sources tell my that in reality it is 27.5 degrees so HA!

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:25 pm

 

1352. zoo said:

Sheila #1346

I do read most posts, I only skip them when the posts just offer personal wishful thinking, dire predictions with no documented basis or hammering personal convictions. I also tend to skip posts when a commenter tries to belittle other commenters by making assumptions on their nationality, religion, ethnicity or origin, example: ” You are not Syrian, or you have left long time ago, this is why you don’t understand the real situation..” Or “You are Shia.. this is why..”
In all cases, I always react to posts that tries to silence the commenters.

No hard feelings.
#1348
By the way Al Shar al Awsat is a propaganda tool for Saudi Arabia, NY times for Israel, Russia news for Russia, Orient le Jour for right wing Lebanese, Al Jazeera for Gulf countries supporing the USA, PressTV for Iran etc… Most media are owned and funded by political entities. There are very few newspaper that are free. It is up to us to make the distiinction and recoup the information

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:33 pm

 

1353. Areal said:

http://www.middle-east-studies.net/?p=1108

Burhan Ghalioun: Clerics Control the Media
Clerics Have Power In Muslim Countries
They don’t differ from the Arab dictatorial regimes

REALITY

Burham Ghalioun’ future is bleak .
Remember
Camille Desmoulins ,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camille_Desmoulins ,
Kerenski ,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Kerensky

I can add to the list !!!

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:36 pm

 

1354. atassi said:

Fall of Syrian regime a ‘matter of time’: US
Dan De Luce
3 October 2011
Agence France Presse
It is “a matter of time” before the Syrian regime headed by President Bashar al-Assad is ousted from power by a popular uprising, US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Monday.

Speaking in Tel Aviv after meeting his Israeli counterpart, Panetta said Washington and other foreign capitals had “made clear Assad should step down.”

“While he continues to resist, I think it’s very clear that it’s a matter of time before that (exit) in fact happens. When it does, we don’t know,” he said.

The Pentagon chief, in a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories on Monday, said Assad’s regime had lost all credibility after a brutal crackdown that has killed at least 2,700 people, according to the United Nations.

“Anytime you kill your own people as indiscriminately as they have over these last number of months, it’s pretty clear that they have lost their legitimacy as a government,” Panetta said at a news conference with Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak.

Panetta, who served as CIA director until he took over as defence chief in July, pledged the United States and other countries would keep up pressure on the regime to make way for a government more responsive to the needs of its people.

Barak also said the regime’s days were numbered and that Assad’s fall from power would represent a “major blow” to what he called a “radical axis” of militants in the region supported by Iran.

According to US media reports, American officials are increasingly convinced that Assad’s regime will not survive and are bracing for a possibly violent aftermath.

The New York Times has reported that Washington was quietly working with Ankara to plan for a post-Assad scenario that could see Syria’s various ethnic groups battle for control of the country.

Despite calling on Assad to step down, the United States has yet to withdraw its ambassador, Robert Ford, instead using him as a conduit to the opposition and Syria’s disparate ethnic and religious groups.

Last Thursday, a crowd of nearly 100 Syrians chanting hostile slogans tried to storm an office in Damascus where Ford had arrived to meet opposition figure Hassan Abdelazim, officials said.

In response, the US government summoned Syrian ambassador Imad Mustapha to the State Department last week and “read the riot act” to him over the incident, a spokeswoman said.

Since mid-March, Syria has been shaken by an unprecedented pro-democracy protest movement that the Assad regime has sought to crush using deadly force.

More than 2,700 people have been killed in the unrest, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

Late Sunday, protesters poured onto the streets in a mass show of support for a powerful opposition grouping that was launched in Istanbul, activists said.

The Syrian National Council drew “demonstrations of support” in the country’s main protest hubs, including Hama, Homs, Idlib, Daraa, Deir Ezzor and the province of Damas, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The group also said the Syrian army had Sunday “taken complete control” of the central city of Rastan in Homs province, 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of Damascus, where fighting had raged between army deserters and Syrian forces.

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:37 pm

 

1355. Afram said:

Petition!!!:Stop banning Isalamists from posting
I think one SC poster(?)got so frustrated for not being able to do so,began roaming the syrian streets shooting at college Professors.hahaha

Haytham.KHOURY
I,m not anti OR pro regime….I,m totally pro syria
majority of syrians might actually prefer to live under Assad rule Despite the hardship than living under“Islamo-Fascism”boots.

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:43 pm

 

1356. Shabbi7 said:

To the idiots that are saying Grand Mufti A7mad 7assoun is a “mukhber” or “regime puppet”, I invite you to look into his history. During the MB terrorism spree in the 70′s and 80′s, A7mad 7assoun’s father was the preacher at the big mosque in Aleppo’s al-Midan (I can’t remember his name nor the name of the mosque, at the moment). A7mad’s father spoke out and preached against the assassinations and bombings that the MB were perpetrating, so they tried to assassinate him at least twice that I know of. The 7assouns have a long history of nationalism and serving the public and Islam independently and in good faith, which is why Aleppo loves the 7assouns. Don’t believe the morons (dabbi7a) here that tell you otherwise, since you all know who those people are (dabbi7a!).

Since the beginning of the current events in Syria, all that sheikh A7mad 7assoun has done was call for national unity. If you feel that him saying that was anti-revolution, then tough luck, l7asu 6izi.

PS: Alex, I cannot describe to you in words how I feel about you, but all I can say is that you are a national treasure. After seeing the personal attacks against you recently, I started looking at some of your other blogs and it is so easy to get lost in emotion for hours reading and seeing the material (I especially love the old photographs). Thank you for everything!

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:45 pm

 

1357. sheila said:

To #1350. zoo said:
I guess you either do not read or comprehend my posts, or you are mistaking me with another poster. I have never said “you are Shia..this is why”. However, I am certainly glad I am not in your “league“, having been reading your posts for a while. No hard feelings.

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:45 pm

 

1358. Nur al-Cubicle said:

You must read this. What a withering analysis! Deserves to be translated.

http://syrie.blog.lemonde.fr/

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October 3rd, 2011, 1:58 pm

 

1359. Areal said:

1344. sheila said:

To #1329. Areal,
You said: “Classic MB propaganda from someone who denied the assassinations by these MB terrorists back in the 70′s and 80′s.
Maybe “she” was not born then , nor “her” parents living in Syria.”

REALITY
1- She was born then.
2- her parents live in Syria.
3- She had a big post about the assassination of the MB s back in the 70s and 80s.
4- She is the last person you can call an MB.

Sorry Areal. Wrong on all fronts.

REALITY
I challenge “her” to post here and now the link of “her” big post devoid of MB propaganda.

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October 3rd, 2011, 2:04 pm

 

1360. majedkhaldoun said:

American secretary of defense said
Assad will leave ,it is a matter of time

I say
Once Assad leaves all Assad supporters will go away.from SC.

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October 3rd, 2011, 2:10 pm

 

1361. Haytham Khoury said:

@ 1356. Nur al-Cubicl

C’est le régime syrien. C’est un régime de voyous.

http://haytham-khoury.blogspot.com/

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October 3rd, 2011, 2:19 pm

 

1362. Haytham Khoury said:

@ 1353. Afram

“I,m not anti OR pro regime….I,m totally pro syria”

We agree

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October 3rd, 2011, 2:21 pm

 

1363. Haytham Khoury said:

@ 1347. zoo

Forming this council was like running the marathon. I summarized all the hustle and bustle till we reached there in the following article.

http://haytham-khoury3.blogspot.com/2011/10/blog-post.html

Sheila:

I invite you to read my article. I would like your opinion on it.

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October 3rd, 2011, 2:34 pm

 

1364. Mango said:

Turkey just about will get to the American trap: the Turkish deputy
“The government tries to create visibility of deterioration of relations with Israel, but it does not represent the facts. Occurrence in Turkey of systems of the ABM of the USA – the bright example ложности politicians of intensity with Israel. Knowing this geography understand that the system pursues the aim to protect Israel. Because the rocket let out from Iran cannot reach Europe”, – the chairman of the center of strategic researches of Turkey ), deputy Sinan Ogan has declared in interview to the newspaper “Vatan”.

The expert has underlined that from the geographical point of view Malatya is the most convenient point between Israel and Iran. He has declared that the ABM not defense means, and opposite, attack means. “It can serve as the war reason between us and Iran”, – he has underlined.

A question why the ABM system sees to the deputy means of attack it has answered that “the rocket started by Iran will not be directly directed on the enemy”. “The rocket leaves in a space and therefrom already attacks the purpose: It can be destroyed from three positions: during an exit in space, it is direct in space and during purpose defeat. If to present that at Israel simultaneously will guide 100 rockets, 97 it is possible to bring down in air, but three remain in operation. It is impossible to destroy all. For destruction of Israel there are enough 3 rockets. For this purpose rockets should be destroyed even before start”, he considers.
The deputy asserts that Turkey just about will get to a trap. “The probability of occurrence of pressure in relations with Iran is very great. At it two reasons – events in Tunis will repeat sooner or later in Iran. However examples of Syria and Libya show that Turkey operates at the same time from the USA. The second reason – ABM system. Israel can carry out at any time diversion – is artificial to create threat of attack from Iran. The purpose of the USA consists in the conflict of Turkey to Syria. The West does not ask a question, whether it is possible. It is an established fact, them date interests only. Unfortunately, Turkey is on the verge of hit in this trap”, – has declared S.Ogan. Meanwhile the representative of the White house, wished to remain unnamed as newspaper Milliyet informs, has declared that the agreement between Washington and Ankara will raise safety of Turkey and will strengthen links of Ankara with allies on the NATO block.” On the other hand, corresponding structures of the USA will send to Israel the data from a radar of EvroPRO to Turkey “, – considers a source.

Let’s remind that the chief of the Joint Staff of the USA admiral Michael Mullen has characterized relations of the United States with Turkey as “vital”. “Our relations – they very strong, in particular, in military sphere. Turks already long time our trustworthy aliens and friends”, – was declared by him.

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October 3rd, 2011, 2:35 pm

 

1365. Areal said:

1356. Nur al-Cubicle said:

You must read this. What a withering analysis! Deserves to be translated.

http://syrie.blog.lemonde.fr/
Dans un pays comme la Syrie, où le détenteur du portefeuille de la Défense n’a aucune influence réelle sur la chose militaire, comme l’a démontré la présence à ce poste durant 31 ans (de 1972 à 2003) du général Moustapha Tlass, la fonction de vice-ministre de la Défense ne représente rien

“””””

REALITE

L’ homme fait la fonction

Classiques ragots de cocktails diplomatiques

About Tlass : lousy comments , no need to carry further
Sorry !!

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October 3rd, 2011, 2:39 pm

 

1366. Khalid Tlass said:

[Alex: Last warning. Keep your wishes for mass killing to yourself. Next you will be banned for one week]

If the regime killed Hassoun’s son, I don’t feel sorry for him, Menhebak got what he deserved, hopefully all Menhebaks will be eliminated like this by the regime itself :lol:

And if the opposition activists killed him, then good riddance.

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October 3rd, 2011, 2:40 pm

 

1367. Khalid Tlass said:

And I really miss Aboud, has he been banned permanently ? I’m not posting too much on SC bcoz Aboud’s no longer here.

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October 3rd, 2011, 2:42 pm

 

1368. sheila said:

To #1357. Areal,

You said: “Classic MB propaganda from someone who denied the assassinations by these MB terrorists back in the 70′s and 80′s. Maybe “she” was not born then , nor “her” parents living in Syria.” And “I challenge “her” to post here and now the link of “her” big post devoid of MB propaganda”.

It is post 270901 from September 1st.
This is the last time I answer your posts. I feel like it is a very big waste of my time.
Here is my post in its entirety:

33. sheila said:

To #13. hsyrian,
Since you have been asking for so long and no one wants to tackle this issue, I would like to attempt to put this to rest. Here is my take on what happened in the late 70s and early 80s in Syria during the MB uprising:
As I have mentioned before, I was 14 years old in Aleppo during the uprising. I clearly remember the first horrific incident: the artillery School massacre of 34 cadets by one of their own: Ibrahim AlYousuf. They were gathered in the gym for a “meeting” and instead faced the bullets.
Before the uprising started, people were getting really upset with the regime. Corruption, nepotism and the deteriorating economy were the main reasons for the public anger. This is why the majority of Syrians supported the MB uprising, including many minorities, until the indiscriminate killings started. People could convince themselves that the Artillery School massacre was legitimate, because they were soldiers, however, no one could argue that the killing of professors, doctors and teachers like Muhammad Al Fadl, Ibrahim Na’ma, Shahada Khalil or Yousuf AlYousuf was legitimate. They were simply killed because they were Alawiis and this did not sit well with the majority of Syrians.
In my view, the MB uprising failed because it lost popular support.
On the other hand, the government reaction was even worse. The indiscriminate killing by the Mbs was mere change compared to that of the government. The terror that we had to live with specifically in Aleppo, Hama and Jisr Alshougur, is hard to describe. Some areas had it worse than others. Hama was literally destroyed.
So to answer your question:
No one knows how many innocent victims were killed by the Mbs in the late 70s and early 80s, and no one knows how many innocent victims were killed by the Syrian regime in the same period, but I can assure you that everyone knows that far more were killed by the regime.
I am very upset about the killings committed by the MBS. I personally knew two of the Alawiis they killed in Aleppo, but I am more horrified by the atrocities our government committed against innocent civilians whose only crime was that they lived in Syria at the time. This is our government that is supposed to protect us.

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October 3rd, 2011, 2:47 pm

 

1369. Syria no kandahar said:

Majedoglu
So if SC becomes all pro-MB,you can stop your Prozac .

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October 3rd, 2011, 2:53 pm

 

1370. Syria no kandahar said:

Kaled
We missed you so much.Any throats you slashed lately,any new larynxes?

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October 3rd, 2011, 2:59 pm

 

1371. majedkhaldoun said:

Colonel RYAD ASAAD Is free and the news about his capture are definitely false as all the news from Syrian news
Dunia, Sana, Sham news,
Zoo you said has the news from those channel been refuted?, here one of them, keep quoting them and believe them as much as you want, they all lie.

SNK
You need to triple your dose of Prozac.

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October 3rd, 2011, 3:01 pm

 

1372. Areal said:

1349. some guy no longer in damascus said:

areal,
1) have you been keeping track of my every comment?
2) not 1 single opposition member was given a chance to go on an interview, phone call or even article. NOT ONE!
3) read this:
http://sana.sy/eng/21/2011/06/28/355388.htm
then read this
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/06/29/137500678/kucinich-visits-syria-says-he-was-misquoted-by-state-press
4)http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2011/07/16/358750.htm
i know everything there is to know about midan, and this was FAAAAAAAAKEEEEEEEEEE!!! unreal, plastic,LIES!!!
these people were bought in, transported by the green buses the regime uses to transport there grey shabeeha. i assure you everyday , the people of midan go out and demonstrate to bring down this evil regime and not once has this pathetic news agency of yours truly given the reality behind these protests. we get stupid vague articles like : tens of protesters gather to chant for faster reforms under the semi-god besho, the protest finished with no one harmed.
5) i said i can refute the regime’s media and not just SANA,

REALITY

1) I challenge you to post now and here a link to one of your post with a rebuttal of a fact stated by SANA.

2)SANA reported on the opposition
see :
http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2011/06/27/355077.htm
but
“””””
The journalists, who went to cover the meeting, in particular Satellite TV channels, including the Syrian TV, which were ready to transmit live the meeting, were caught by a surprise when the sessions of the meeting were held behind closed-doors. The journalists were only allowed few minutes to take some pictures.
“”””
3) some politician is seeking reelection back in USA and Syrian journalists are polite and don’t argue with their guests !!

4) this demo happened at the date and time specified by SANA !
The public transportation buses in Syria are green !!

NOTE :

“these people were bought in, transported ”

Curious : that reminds of a mistake made by another of your “friend” here :

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=12233&cp=all#comment-275396

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October 3rd, 2011, 3:08 pm

 

1373. Some guy no longer in damascus said:

Khalid, the son of mufti hassoun is innocent, he did not deserve this. Why do you support the death of an innocent man?
Furthermore, we can go on with out Aboud. We don’t need Aboud to be on the right side, we have LOGIC and REASON, that’s all we need. It would really be irrational to consider the banning of Aboud to be some victory or loss for any one.
Btw everybody,
Aboud appreciates your support, and he is quite surprised about the friends he has on SC :) .
I’m glad there are people like Aboud who voice there opinions as Syrian citizens first and foremost.
Hehehe I bet SNK set his alarm clock to the date Aboud returns.

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October 3rd, 2011, 3:14 pm

 

1374. jad said:

“بسام القاضي
للمرة الأولى أتجول في حمص ليلا (معي مي وهيثم).. تبّت ايدي وأرجل وعيون ولسان وقلب من فعل هذا بك يا حمص!
تبّ الروح الشيطانية للإجرام والمجرمين…
وللذين لم يفقدوا ما تبقى من عقولهم: لا تتركوا حمص مسربلة بحزن قاتل.. ولا تسمحوا لهذا السواد ان يسربل سورية..”

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October 3rd, 2011, 3:14 pm

 

1375. Syrian Nationalist Party said:

“……..Once Assad leaves all Assad supporters will go away.from SC…”

What, you want SC for you to yak all your life, If your wet dream come true, is not time to stop threatening, roll your sleeves and start working in Syria. Or you want others to do the dirty work and you stay here alone telling them what to do? That was going to be my Job man. I am not going back to live in Hijabstan you know.

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October 3rd, 2011, 3:19 pm

 

1376. majedkhaldoun said:

SNP
I will definitely go back to Syria, ,I want to go to Homs Hama and Rastan ,I want to see Syria without your God,Bashar.

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October 3rd, 2011, 3:30 pm

 

1377. Louai said:

KHALID TLASS said:

‘If the regime killed Hassoun’s son, I don’t feel sorry for him, Menhebak got what he deserved, hopefully all Menhebaks will be eliminated like this by the regime itself

And if the opposition activists killed him, then good riddance.’

supporting terrorism no matter who dose it . hope you are not living in Europe or the Americas because your statement is clearly supporting terror , this blog is obligated to pass your information to the authorities if asked ! oh , no , supporting terror is ok if it was against Syria , you are safe then …unless you live in Syria ,i hope you do .

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October 3rd, 2011, 3:41 pm

 

1378. Abu Umar said:

1354. Shabbi7 said:

The hell with you and Hassoun. Your name of choice shows what a menhebek thug you are. The “MB terrorism” was in response to the brutality of Hafez al-Jahsh, who certainly didn’t come to power on a bed of roses, but the turrets of his tanks. The Nusayris should have stayed in their mountains and not come to rule a Sunni populace who don’t want them, now more than ever. Ironically, the Nusayris claim they don’t want to be ruled by Sunnis, and the Sunnis feel the exact same way. Go and establish your Nusayristan in Turkey or Iran.

May Hassoun feel the bitterness that tens of thousands of Syrians, Lebanese and Palestinians experienced at the hands of his regime, which he has been defending. His son isn’t any better than other Syrians who have died, and this clown Hassoun declared Mu’awiyah an infidel and has the audacity to talk about oppressive “Sunni” rulers, even though he supports the oppression of his Nusayri masters.

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October 3rd, 2011, 3:42 pm

 

1379. Abu Umar said:

” 1375. Louai said:

supporting terrorism no matter who dose it . hope you are not living in Europe or the Americas because your statement is clearly supporting terror , this blog is obligated to pass your information to the authorities if asked ! oh , no , supporting terror is ok if it was against Syria , you are safe then …unless you live in Syria ,i hope you do .”

Menhebek mukhabarati, I don’t remember you talking like this when the cyber-shabiha threatened the deaths of entire Syrian cities, and you have also supporteed the actions of your regime in previous posts, and you also implyimg the threat of the Syrian dungeons. How hypocritical can you get?!

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October 3rd, 2011, 3:47 pm

 

1380. Areal said:

1366. sheila said:

To #1357. Areal,

You said: “Classic MB propaganda from someone who denied the assassinations by these MB terrorists back in the 70′s and 80′s. Maybe “she” was not born then , nor “her” parents living in Syria.” And “I challenge “her” to post here and now the link of “her” big post devoid of MB propaganda”.

It is post 270901 from September 1st.
http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=11743&cp=all#comment-270901

REALITY
“””
I clearly remember the first horrific incident: the artillery School massacre of 34 cadets by one of their own: Ibrahim AlYousuf.
“””
This was not the first killing in Aleppo :
The crimes began with killing Dr. al-Yousef for no fucking reason other than that he’s Alawi. He was popular because he gave free optometry treatment to the poor that couldn’t afford it.

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=11743&cp=all#comment-270930

The killing was not done by a cadet but by an officer in duty, Ibrahim el-Youssef, and a group of Combatant Vanguard (Attali’a el-Moukatillah, headed by Adnan Uqla)

The number of killed cadets is higher than 34.

then after Habib’s post , Sheila remembers

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=11743&cp=all#comment-270959

“”””””
I knew Dr. Al-Yousef personally. A very nice and decent man, who unfortunately for him, was appointed the head of the ophthalmology department at the university of Aleppo upon return from his studies in Russia (we all know how good the Russian degrees given to foreigners were)
“””””
So , the doctor was killed because he was incompetent or his death was not that important !!

You “forgot” the bombs in cars and buses including school buses.

and finally your last sentence:

“This is our government that is supposed to protect us.”

This is unashamed MB propaganda !

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October 3rd, 2011, 4:01 pm

 

1381. Abu Umar said:

1378. Areal said:

Just like your Nusayri regime slaughtering tens of thousands of Sunnis, many of whom were civilians. How did the khanzeer Hafez al-Jahsh come to power?!

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October 3rd, 2011, 4:06 pm

 

1382. sheila said:

Dear Haytham,
I read your article. It is very well written and to the point. I think we should cut the opposition some slack. You have articulated quite well, the state of affairs of the Syrian opposition and explained why they are where they are today. Not only did the government suffocate any real opposition, it also perpetuated a culture of submission through the “educational” system. We teach our kids countless hours of “Socialist education”, waste their time with “talae’ and shabibeh, and kill their ambitions with Itihad altalabeh. Based on these “reparations” by our regime, We should not expect anything less than what we have today. I said it before and I will say it again: this regime can write the book in how to destroy a nation.

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October 3rd, 2011, 4:12 pm

 

1383. some guy no longer in damascus said:

“1) I challenge you to post now and here a link to one of your post with a rebuttal of a fact stated by SANA.”

i clearly mentioned ALL OF THE REGIME’S MEDIA and not just SANA
http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/?p=12233&cp=27#comment-276382
“2)SANA reported on the opposition
see :
http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2011/06/27/355077.htm
but
“””””
The journalists, who went to cover the meeting, in particular Satellite TV channels, including the Syrian TV, which were ready to transmit live the meeting, were caught by a surprise when the sessions of the meeting were held behind closed-doors. The journalists were only allowed few minutes to take some pictures.
“””””
of all of the dissidents in syria, not one has been asked for some interview or article by SANA?

“3) some politician is seeking reelection back in USA and Syrian journalists are polite and don’t argue with their guests !!”

still intentionally misquoted him, SANA takes anything that shines well on the regime and turns it into “Pulitzer winning articles ”

“4) this demo happened at the date and time specified by SANA !
The public transportation buses in Syria are green !!”

you need to visit syria NOW!
these buses were captured on the pathetic syrian state tv, boy are they good at being stupid, focus on the background:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqNx1LA0BOU&feature=share
not good enough for you? how about these green buses lined up at the kafer suseh mukhabarat HQ:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMNzm9cYyJI
and finally i leave you with shabeeha exiting these green buses in midan:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=607YKKTj9ow.

please shower me with your Pulitzer winning SANA articles, theyre SUCH A CHALLENGE TO DEAL WTIH!

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October 3rd, 2011, 4:15 pm

 

1384. Ya Mara Ghalba said:

I’ve asserted the Assad regime has broad and deep support and should be expected to win any elections. Commenter SHEILA #534 counter-asserted that “Your post is delusional at best…. Do you really think Syrians are this stupid to elect him again in a free election?” To demonstrate that Assad’s support is broad and deep takes lots of time. It would be a long article. However, I’ve just found a terse way of counter-counter-asserting against SHEILA. SHEILA says in #1297 about the Grand Mufti Ahmad Hassoun: “I can assure you that he is 100% on the revolution’s side.”

The Grand Mufti’s father was preacher at a big mosque in Aleppo in the 1970s and 1980s and spoke out against the MB; and the MB tried to assassinate the father — I have that on the authority of #1354 Shabbi7. In his speech at his murdered son’s funeral today, the Grand Mufti said: “Those who protest [against the regime] or create a safe environment for murderers are providing cover to those who wish Syria ill.” He called upon all decent Syrians to be government informants when they see illegal activities “because this will help save the homeland and protect religion and the honest values.” He said the Syrians have been over the past six months the victims of misleading and deceptive news reports. He expressed consternation that some Arab countries have withdrawn their ambassadors from Syria. http://www.sana.sy/eng/337/2011/10/03/373155.htm

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October 3rd, 2011, 6:58 pm

 

1385. Aliccie said:

Areal # 1295

Thank you for the clarification. About the ID, I read it here, someone saying that they wished religion wasn’t mentioned. I can’t remember who. So, I don’t understand why, as it would be an important issue.

You do confirm that there are religious courts for domestic things, this is not a secular system.

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October 4th, 2011, 10:48 am

 

1386. Aliccie said:

Areal #1322

Your ‘reality’ doesn’t sum up. Why should we believe state TV confessions ?

And this about Rafah Nashed, what is your point ? The two links are the same. Where does the husband refute ? And so what if she has groups talk about their fear ? It doesn’t make her a rebel.

And why is she arrested ? Do you mean that the opposition has made all this up, just to get support, and she never did this type of work ?

Whatever, the fact that she was the first female analyst is quite telling. Not that I like the term ‘psychoanalyst’, Freud & cie have been discredited for years.

From what I can see, it would be a better idea to have legions of therapists rather than security forces to help people overcome their fears and ancient grudges, and talk about their hopes and wishes.

I seem to think that you imagine you have the monopoly on REALITY. Big head and defender of tyrants.

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October 4th, 2011, 10:51 am

 

1387. Aliccie said:

@ Jihanne 1327

Voltaire net is a nasty type that hates anything western, yet benefits from French freedom of speech. He made his moment by publishing ’9/11 imposture’ by stealing everything from other people’s websites. I saw it happening at the time. He is a sick person.

ps – his book make him a laughing stock and nobody took him seriously except the deluded band of conspiracy minded lunatics that only spit out hatred for ‘colonialistes’ jews, and imagined world wide plots. He should go and live in Cuba, and help them with their new laws, like being able to buy and sell cars !
Or rather N. Corea as what communist system still exists ? Or maybe live in Gaza..

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October 4th, 2011, 10:52 am

 

1388. Aliccie said:

As for the Mufti and the arguments about what he means or says, surely it’s proof that religious clerics have no credibility and should be left out of politics. They can only rant on about various ancient stories from the sacred books, and can’t say anything true because their throats are threatened, either by one side or the other.

When the muslim world, and the old christian or orthodox jewish communities come into the light of rational modern thinking, will all these horrors stop. In the meantime, I condemn any killings, and hope that Bashar will make the only serious decision, today, that is to tell his security forces to go home or to their barracks and say he will step down.

I don’t know if it isn’t already too late.

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October 4th, 2011, 11:12 am

 

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