“Syria’s Leadership and Opposition Need an Economic Policy,” by Ehsani

Syria’s Leadership and Opposition Need an Economic Policy
By EHSANI2
for Syria Comment
12 July 2011

We are nearly four months into the crisis in Syria and neither the opposition nor the Syrian leadership has articulated anything that resembles an economic policy to address the country’s challenges. And this, despite the central importance of economic factors in igniting the Arab revolts..

Syrian parties are not alone in their silence on the economy. Egypt, too, has no viable economic plan. How will it create jobs? The country is lost. One of the leading figures in that country’s Freedom and Justice Party, the most recent incarnation of the Muslim Brotherhood, recently confessed: “I don’t know much about the economy”.

In a stunning admission, Vice President Farouq al-Sharaa confessed that the previous Syrian government had “manipulated” the economic growth figures. It claimed growth rates as high as 6% and 7% for Syria when they never exceeded 3.7%.

For those of us who believe that the recent events in the Arab world are being driven by years of economic under-achievement and falling living-standards for the majority, it is disappointing to hear so little discussion of economic policy.

The opposition, for example, is yet to offer a single credible plan that would explain to the Syrian people how their lives may improve under different leadership. It is true that the opposition is still too fragmented to offer such a plan. However, it is a fact that not a single camp in this so-called opposition has articulated a well thought-out economic alternative.

The same goes for the current leadership. While an implicit and even an explicit admission has taken place that the past economic policy failed to deliver the earlier promises of growth and employment, one is yet to hear a fundamental rethinking of the failed policies that brought us here in the first place.

Set below is a list of questions for the opposition and the leadership:

  1. In light of the current trends in population growth, what will happen to the subsidies? Will the Syrian treasury be able to afford paying close to $8 billion a year in subsidies and for how long? Is there a plan to replace them with cash assistance to the lower income groups only?
  2. What will the country do about the public sector? Fewer than 10 percent of the 260 public enterprises are profitable. How long can the country keep throwing good money after bad? Will we keep promising to reform this sector with the most predictable of outcomes?
  3. Will the government act to control population growth and how?
  4. How will the economy grow enough to generate nearly 300,000 jobs a year? This number of new jobs is required merely to absorb the new entrants into the labor force. It will not reduce the present level of unemployment.

One can go on of course. This list is by no means sufficient to address all the challenges that will face the country going forward.

While the removal of article 8 from the Syrian constitution has received widespread support from the opposition, one is yet to hear much about article 13 that governs the country’s economic principals.  This is how 13 (1) reads today:

“The state economy is a planned socialist economy which seeks to end all forms of exploitation.”

Once article 13 is addressed, article 23 needs to follow. It states that:

“The nationalist socialist education is the basis for building the unified socialist Arab society. It seeks to strengthen moral values, to achieve the higher ideals of the Arab nation, to develop the society, and to serve the causes of humanity. The state undertakes to encourage and to protect this education.”

Article 49 is also linked since it states:

“The Popular organizations by law effectively participate in the various sectors and councils to realize the following:

  1. Building the socialist Arab society and defending the system.
  2. Planning and guiding the socialist economy.”

The Syrian people deserve a vigorous debate over their future economic policy. As Egypt has found out, regime change does not automatically put food on the table, just as it does not magically create jobs or lift standards of living.

Both the Syrian leadership and those in the opposition need to articulate a realistic, decisive and effective economic policy that inspires the 23 million Syrians who must dream of a brighter future for their kids.

The time for a national dialogue on the economy is now. The leadership must lead the charge and offer the country a progressive, bold and inspiring new path forward.

Addendum (14 July 2011) by Author : EIU

Ehsani is raising a crucial issue not only for Syria but for other countries afected by uprisings inspired to some extent by frustration at the failure of economic policy.

On the real GDP growth question it would be interesting to get a more precise idea from Shara about the extent of the manipulation. Actually the latest quarterly bulletin of the central bank includes a provisional figure of 3.2% for growth in 2010, which may or may not be plausible; in the previous five years, the official figures show growth averaging 5.4%, which you could argue is too high, but would be consistent with the performance of some sections of the economy, in particular exports of goods and services in the context of generally strong growth across the region. The point is that given the long legacy of poor economic performance going back to the disastrous UAR, a country in Syria’s position would need growth rates of over 7% to make any impact on poverty and unemployment.

The policy questions are more difficult. The 2006-10 five-year plan aspired to achieve growth rates of around 7%, but was categorical about the need for restructuring, for example phasing out ruinous petroleum price subsidies and widening the government’s tax base through introducing VAT (supposed to have happened in 2008), as well as developing the domestic debt market through launching T-bills. The plan also included measures to put public sector companies on an autonomous commercial footing, which would logically lead to privatisation. These policies can be crudely categorised under the Dardari heading. The problem is that Dardari (like his equivalents in Egypt) is discredited in the popular mind for having collaborated with a corrupt and oppressive regime and for pushing a neo-liberal agenda whose effects would be to make life even harder for the poor. I would suggest that Dardari was nobbled by a combinatiion of his own pretensions (fed by over-enthusiastic would-be foreign investors), the Baath party and sections of the business elite–and ultimately of course by the lack of effective support from the president.

Any new government in Syria would have to go back to these ideas and decide whether there is still a place for liberal economic policies–which would be guaranteed to receive significant external financial support from the IMF and the World Bank–or whether the answer is to revert to a more sttae-centred model. Arguing for the former approach would be a challenge of intellectual honesty. We have already seen in Egypt that the caretaker government was not up to this challenge, and retreated into a muddled policy of self-reliance that will probably only store up more problems for the future.

Ehsani:

Unless this government liberalizes the economy properly, it is inconceivable that the economy will improve by much. Rather than heading in that direction, the recent crisis has brought out the anti-economic reformers back with a vengeance. The reformers are now on the run. They are blamed for everything now. In this atmosphere, this country will suffer further for years to come. Socialist policies have not worked. They have made the country poor. They have made corruption widespread. Sadly, one is hard pressed to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

One of the major headwinds in Syria is low money velocity. Not to get technical but this refers to how much income and production is produced per one dollar of currency in circulation and bank deposits. The lower this number is (velocity), the more hoarding and less risk taking there is. Syria is caught in a very low money velocity due to the lack of animal spirit and trust in the system which allows for both borrowing and lending. The money essentially stays dormant inside the banking system or under mattresses. This situation existed even before the crisis.

Ehsani take on the notion that the West is in decline:

The U.S. households borrowed way too much between 1997 and 2007 as speculation mounted in the real estate sector. This was due to lax regulation and loose monetary policy. Since that particular bubble burst, it will take years for household balance sheets to be restored. The inability of households to borrow and spend meant that the government had to step in and boost borrowing and spending to make sure that the money supply and economic growth does not collapse. The U.S. economy is still growing but not nearly at the level that is needed to lower the 9.2% unemployment rate. Yes, by some measures it is even higher. This process of repairing balance sheets takes a long time as Japan as found out. The U.S. could be in this slow growth period for a decade till household feel that their balance sheets are restored. For the record, the size of the U.S. e!

conomy is still $15 trillion (yearly income/production). Households in the U.S carry a debt of $13.8 trillion but have assets that are worth $ 71.9 trillion. Those assets are made up of financial assets amounting to $48.8 trillion and tangible assets adding up to $23 trillion. In other words, despite the high $13.8 trillion in debt, household asset values are enormous. The difference between the two is networth and is currently at $58 trillion. This means that every U.S household has an average networth equal to 3.86 of yearly income (networth/gdp).

The EU issues incidentally also stem from excessive borrowing in the southern nations. Countries like Greece, Portugal and Spain (and even Italy) were not used to low single digit interest rates. After they joined, they could not resist the temptation to borrow. The bills are now coming home. They too will suffer from years of slow growth as they curtail borrowing.

Ehsani on the sectoral mix of the Syrian Economy

The last published figures by the Central Bank were for 2009. The size of the economy then was supposedly $54 Billion.

  • Agriculture share = 22%
  • Mining and manufacturing (oil) = 25%
  • Building and construction = 3%
  • Wholesale and retail trade = 23%
  • Transport and communication = 10%
  • Finance and Insurance = 5%
  • Social and personal services = 2%
  • Government services = 10%

Comments (177)


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151. Tara said:

Norman

But this is the crux of the problem.  You can try to sell too many things but you have to sound credible.  

Acknowledging there is sinister elements, shouldn’t Bashar try his best to achieve  safe exit to Syria from the crisis?  How to achieve a safe exit?  Safe exit is going to happen by taking sometime to build the infra structure needed for secular democracy which is a formidable task.  The task includes changing the constitution, enabling a free judiciary system, etc etc.  This takes time.  We all agree on that.  Don’t we?

To the peaceful opposition, it is a serious trust crisis.  It is like a wife catching her husband cheating on her and then the husband wants her to trust him.  You can not impose trust.    
This is just undoable.   You can’t convince anyone to sit down to discuss reform when the security option is at work.  You can’t convince anyone to have a dialogue when their safety is threatened.  Haven’t we seen opposition figures trying to dialogue and then getting beaten up?

If Bashar wants a safe exit to Syria, he should reach a deep conviction that he eventually will give it up in a year and announce it in a historic speech.  Then he curbs the security apparatus and start a true national dialogue under the umbrella that he will no longer be in power in a year.  During that year, the infra- structure towards democracy should be built and then the year would culminate into peaceful transition

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July 13th, 2011, 4:47 pm

 

152. jad said:

لافروف: روسيا مع الحل البدلوماسي للأزمة السورية

قال وزير الخارجية الروسي سيرغي لافروف في مؤتمر صحفي في ختام اجتماعه مع نظيرته الأمريكية هيلاري كلينتون يوم 13 يوليو/تموز بواشنطن إن موسكو تعارض تبني مجلس الأمن الدولي قرارا حول سوريا لأنها تريد ضمان حل دبلوماسي للأزمة السورية.

وأكد الوزير في هذا السياق أن موقف المجتمع الدولي من سوريا يجب أن يكون مسؤولا وغير منحاز.

وفي الشأن الإيراني قال لافروف إن موسكو تقترح تخفيف الضغط على إيران حسب درجة تنفيذها لمطالب الوكالة الدولية للطاقة الذرية.

من جانبها، وفي الموضوع الليبي، صرحت كلينتون أن أيام معمر القذافي معدودة، مؤكدة على أن واشنطن ستتعاون مع موسكو من أجل تعزيز الضغط على القذافي.

وصرحت الوزيرة الأمريكية أن على واشنطن وموسكو تعزيز التعاون في مجال مكافحة الإرهاب.

وأكدت كلينتون أن الولايات المتحدة ستأخذ في عين الاعتبار موقف روسيا وأوروبا خلال عملها على إنشاء نظام الدرع الصاروخية الأطلسية في أوروبا.

من جانبه أكد لافروف استعداد روسيا لمواصلة الحوار مع الولايات المتحدة حول معاهدة الحد من القوات التقليدية في أوروبا التي علقت روسيا العمل بها عام 2007.

وأفاد لافروف أن روسيا والولايات المتحدة توصلتا لإتمام العمل على اتفاقية تسهيل نظام التأشيرات التي توقع الوزير الروسي توقيعها قبل نهاية العام الجاري، مشيرا إلى أنه لم يبق للطرفين إلا تحديد بعض التفاصيل الفنية.

وصرحت كلينتون أن واشنطن “تؤيد بقوة” انضمام روسيا لمنظمة التجارة العالمية.

هذا وقد وقع الوزيران خلال اجتماعهما رزمة من الاتفاقيات الثنائية، منها اتفاقية التعاون في مجال تبني الأطفال.

كما اتفق الوزيران على إنشاء مجموعتي عمل في إطار اللجنة الرئاسية الثنائية وهما مجموعة العمل في مجال الابتكارات ومجموعة العمل حول مسائل قانونية.

http://arabic.rt.com/news_all_news/news/562247

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July 13th, 2011, 4:53 pm

 

153. Tara said:

Aboud@145

Agree entirely. No room for princesses in free Syria.

I have one honest question. Why don’t you use names in your replies. I know these names are fake but still. The reply sounds ” better” when you use names. Can you call me Tara when you answer me … Please.

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July 13th, 2011, 4:54 pm

 

154. norman said:

Amnesia,
I agree with you they need to move like Rabbits not like Turtles but they are worry about making mistakes.

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July 13th, 2011, 4:59 pm

 

155. NK said:

Dear louai

Why are you asking the “revolutionaries” about what they intend to do about honor killing when and if they get to power ? a better question would be asking the 40 years old “secular” “liberal” Syrian regime what did it do about it in 4 decades !.

Protecting women rights and transforming the society into a more liberal one requires a minimal degree of freedom, a strong judicial system and a vibrant civil society, it needs an elected government/parliament to issue laws that help and serve the society rather than oppress them and serve the interests of a select few. The Syrian society is far more conservative today than it was 50 years ago, and it will be far more conservative at the coronation of Hafez II 30-40 years down the road … just because the baathists keep saying it’s a “liberal” society does not make it true, just like saying the economy was growing at a steady 6-7% a year did not make it a true figure and saying the unemployment number dropped from 9% last year to 5% (I’m not too sure about the exact “official” number but I remember reading it dropped 4% earlier this year), this lie also did not change the reality of things.

If you’re so afraid the “extremists” will take over, go into the streets and bring your liberal friends, be active and take charge of your destiny. There are many brilliant minds in Syria, take your pick and support who ever you think best represents you, offer your own alternative, promote your own idols and ideas. The Assad family and their baathist friends (Syrian regime) literally destroyed our country over the past 4 decades, they’re the reason so many of us are living abroad and have a 2nd citizenship, they’re the reason many of our children can barely speak/write Arabic and can’t stand staying in Syria past their summer vacations (most stop visiting once they have a family of their own), they’re the reason why people wait in a line – daily – at the gates of foreign embassies with a dream of getting a visa so they can escape the miserable life that awaits them should they stay. Waiting for this regime to reform on its own is a crime in itself, we deserve better, our children deserve better, our people deserve better, enough is enough.

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July 13th, 2011, 5:00 pm

 

156. Tara said:

Why,

Although I am still very mad, I would like you to offer an opinion on #149

Do you accept that Bashar announcement to stay for one year only and leading the reform would be a good solution of the crisis?

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July 13th, 2011, 5:11 pm

 

157. Amnesia said:

Norman, with all due respect, I don’t think they fear making mistakes as you make it sound.

They need to move “like rabbits”, yes. I can say with absolute certainty that there is heated argument now in the palace, although it is more difficult to judge what the true positions are. One thing is for certain: the insiders fear losing what they have, both power and money.

The VP, whose words are revolutionary, if sincere is probably more a part of the “opposition” than of the regime. If sincere, he probably does not have the power to do what must be done.

It saddens me to say the above.

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July 13th, 2011, 5:11 pm

 

158. Amnesia said:

Further, I would add that the protests make it easier for the VP to push reforms through, as he himself said on Sunday.

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July 13th, 2011, 5:15 pm

 

159. Aboud said:

Tara @154 “Do you accept that Bashar announcement to stay for one year only and leading the reform would be a good solution of the crisis?”

No. Absolutely out of the question. If a week is a long time in politics, a year might as well be the week before Judgement Day.

Bashar must step down, and someone else should handle the transition period. Mubarak, Ali Saleh, and Bin Ali all offered to stay on until free and democratic elections were held. Unsurprisingly, none of them got a chance to, and I see no reason why the man responsible for so many Syrian deaths should have that privilege.

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July 13th, 2011, 5:22 pm

 

160. Nour said:

NK:

That’s a very good point you brought up and I was just discussing this same issue with someone yesterday. This regime has always presented itself as secular, but reality on the ground shows otherwise. While Syria is not an “Islamic” country in the traditional sense, many of its laws still adhere to Sharia and are still based on backwards social traditions and practices. The problem is that the regime was never interested in bringing real social changes, leading to a national renaissance, but rather interested in making personal gains and maintaining its power. They were therefore willing to appease reactionary elements of society in order to keep them from opposing the regime.

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July 13th, 2011, 5:27 pm

 

161. louai said:

Aboud Tara Amnesia SYR.Expat , Thank you for your reply I am happy to hear your opinion and support to finish this criminal act of horror called ‘honour crimes’
I have a good faith on Syrians that they think the same way as you, apparently we have morte things in common than what I used to think .

As far as I know we inherited this law from the French and apparently we are so happy about it that we kept it till now

SYR Expat ,
Indeed, no one dealt with this problem and all successive governments and regimes failed to deal with this problem not only the current ‘regime’

Amnesia,
agree with you a murderer is a murderer but I am talking about Article 548 where there is a term limitation (maximum one year in jail !! can you believe it??) for the killer if the killer committed his crime driven by ‘honour’ motive, the president in 2009 amended the old Article 548 and now it’s a minimum of 2 years, Amended Article 548 states that “He who catches his wife or one of his ascendants, descendants or sister committing adultery or illegitimate sexual acts with another and he killed or injured one or both of them benefits from a reduced penalty, that should not be less than 2 years in prison in case of a killing.”
Still not enough!! this article need to be changed to a minimum of life sentence !
Every time I speak about this issue in our society I hear that the government would love to abolish this but the conservatives and the tribes will resist and it will cause Fitna !!
Now we have a golden opportunity to abolish and amend all this sexist laws and introduce new laws that give dignity back to our women, we are talking about 50% of the Syrian people, they are Sunnis Alawite Christians Druze Kurds Turkmen you name it, the opposition (you) should speak loud about this issue and other issues (such as economy) so we can get something positive out of this uprising, plus that would gain the opposition a lot of support amongst 50% of Syrians,or the opposition fear the conservatives and the tribesas well? hope not.

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July 13th, 2011, 5:30 pm

 

162. HS said:

146. louai said:
“””
@88. HS
‘Obviously, the Syrian industry will suffer and may not recover unless the Syrian satellite TV expand its market share in the advertising .’
exactly , even that I don’t like the Syrian Drama but it’s a good source of income and very effective weapon that no Jazeera can compete with , I hope your suggestion will find its way to the government .
“””

I am quite sure the government don’t read the comments of this blog.
In fact , I am quite sure that only a few people apart the usual commentators are reaching here.

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July 13th, 2011, 5:37 pm

 

163. louai said:

Dear NK

Thank you for your honest comment,
The government also always blamed the traditional opposition (the conservatives and Isalmists) of resisting this change,
I am not against changing the regime neither do the president, that’s why I call all people who are genuinely want the best for Syria to engage in a dialogue with the government and stop blaming each other about our failure, the president and ‘the regime’ know the importance of a radical change, the opposition should engage in a healthy conflict with the government taking this historic chance to address those major issues, but putting the government in the corner will not help the opposition nor help Syria. Why we can have dialogue in here , and its never possible in Syria?

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July 13th, 2011, 5:46 pm

 

164. HS said:

Ehsani2 said
“”
If you are a believer, buy those stocks and/or deposit SYP at your bank for 9%.
“”

Thanks for your economist’s answer to my investment’s future in Syria

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July 13th, 2011, 5:47 pm

 

165. Amnesia said:

Louai, I fully understand your points, and I agree that the law needs to be changed. This opinion of mine is not due to a wish to encourage promiscuity. It is only because it is almost impossible to prove that this person or that person did this together, and killing should never be taken lightly.

I think it is not so much an issue of gender equality to most Syrians. It is more so an issue of practicality and fairness where enforcement of the law is concerned.

So again, murder is murder. If Syrians decide that they want to outlaw other things, then punishment should only be brought by the courts.

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July 13th, 2011, 5:51 pm

 

166. Amnesia said:

Louai asked, “Why we can have dialogue in here , and its never possible in Syria?”

Mukhabarat.

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July 13th, 2011, 5:54 pm

 

167. jad said:

Is the news of Malek Jandali having a concert in the white house true?
Is he mad? In the WHITE HOUSE, during these times!?
What’s wrong with some Syrians these days, they totally lost their national priorities? Hate Bashar, the regime, the Baat, any sect and anybody you want as much and as strong as you want but don’t ever sell your Syrian soul to the ‘devil’, that is unacceptable.

“منقول: لو عملت حملة تبرعات خلال امسيات موسيقية لاطفال الشهداء لكنا مجدناك..ولكن حفلة موسيقية على تراس البيت الابيض تحت عنوان الحرية لتستغل اعلاميا من واشنطن..كبيرة يامالك جندلي وخاصة مع الفوضى الخلاقة والمجازر في كثير من بلاد العالم مع نهب الخيرات وتقسيم البلدان …موسيقاك اصبحت بغيضة فعلا لاأسف عليك”

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July 13th, 2011, 6:14 pm

 

168. Tara said:

Dear Aboud,

I very much understand where you’re coming from. I was assuming this same exact  position not too long ago that I will never forget or forgive, Bashar that is,  I am still not forgiving Bashar.    I despise Him as much as you do and then some.  

Our society however is a bit different than Tunis, Yaman, and Egypt.  A fact that we simply can not deny.  It is sectarianly diversified and it is not an open society.  There is engraved fear of others in our society.  Whether the fear is justified  or not is irrelevant at this time.  Assad legacy was to enhance the fear rather than to abolish it.    He used this tactic to stay in power.  You see the culture of fear at all levels.  You see it in Syria Comments at the truly educated elite level, let alone the Shabbiha level and the mostly Alawi security apparatus.  Fear is a very intense emotion and sometimes can become irrational.

I see a sudden acute change in power to be a risky proposition for several reasons.  First would be a civil sectarian war similar to Lebanon.  Fear as I said is an intense emotion and can easily lead to dehumanizing the others to justify aggression to protect one’ self.   It is no secret that  shabbiha have weapons that  can be used to ignite a civil war should the current regime suddenly collapse and should sinister groups of people start to mobilize the Alawi and the Sunni masses to kill each other out of revenge in case of the Sunnis and out of fear in case of Alawis

My second concern would be for history to repeat itself.   No charismatic figure has yet emerged to lead.  Not that I consider Jr. to be a charismatic visionary  leader by any stretch.   I have nothing but contempt toward how he handled the situation.  However, the lack of  emerging charismatic leader after 4 month may be a bit worrisome.  I am yet to be impressed by any of the  internal opposition, although I am not an avid follower of the internal opposition and therefore I could have missed some.  I would be concerned that someone might sneak in and repeat history.

My third concern would be for radical Islam to take over, extremely unlikely but a remote possibility.  I am secular Sunni as you know.  I do believe in god and holly Quraan and I do teach my children Islam as I understand it.  I however do not want to live in a theocracy and do not want Islamic teaching to be imposed on me.  With sudden collapse of government, I can not guarantee perhaps how things would turn.  There might be an alliance of power that could bring on a non secular government.

My last concern would be the resistance.  I believe it is important to stay genuine to what is incorporated in our DNA.  We must have balance of power in the ME to be able to forge a just peace with Israel.  You can not negotiate a just peace when you are weak.  You can only achieve a just peace when you are a strong and hence I am concerned that such acute collapse might change the power of balance a bit to the disadvantage of the Palestinian cause.

I would not agree to a dialogue unless Bashar declares the end of his term and the complete disintegration of the regime as it stands Now in one year then we can sit and talk a way out

I might be completely wrong but this is Tara’s 2 cents

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July 13th, 2011, 6:20 pm

 

169. Aboud said:

Tara @166 ” However, the lack of emerging charismatic leader after 4 month may be a bit worrisome.”

Alas, it took Ghandi alot more than four months to become one of India’s national leaders. It took years of prison and abuse for Nelson Mandela to be regarded as the father of his people. I don’t think anyone ever attained such prominence in just four months.

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July 13th, 2011, 6:39 pm

 

170. louai said:

Amnesia
‘it is almost impossible to prove that this person or that person did this together, and killing should never be taken lightly.’
In Sharia Law you need 4 witnesses to confirm the adultery and see all the details by their own eyes for the judge to order stoning but in traditional law, its more than enough for the brother or the husband to only ‘ suspect’ to kill his sister or wife (some times mother) because of this law
There are 200 Syrian women get killed each year because the law is very tolerant with the ‘honoured killer’

@164 , I agree with you that fear is still exist but do you agree with me that the uprising already achieved a major achievement of changing the mind set and the collective thinking of Syrians? People are talking openly now about every thing, there is huge change, the government want a way out to finish this, and proved willingness for dialogue,
i wonder if the revolutionists take a bold step (as they ask the president to do)and accept the dialogue what would happen? , Imagine this shadow government Revlon talked about was to monitor the performance of the existing government not to ‘replace’ it , lets face it many Syrians support the government and the president started the reform already ,we can not go back , if he dose he will loose ‘the silent majority’ and a lot of his loyalists
the opposition to gain more support should be more transparent than the government they are criticizing ,they should admit their own mistakes and accept the fact that they don’t have enough support to topple the regime so they should not work to topple the entire country ,as if they are saying ‘either everything or nothing’ .

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July 13th, 2011, 6:45 pm

 

171. Tara said:

Aboud,

Can not disagree a bit. Assads suppressed the freedom of speech, and that left him with no one to talk too. I am very sure that there are a lot of potential charismatic leaders in our society that will ultimately unravel themselves.

Now I am sure of history. I know the people will eventually win. I have no doubt about it and I really mean that. The question is that we want this winning to be a meaningful one. We do not just want to win not for the sake of achieving victory. We want to win to advance our society and our cause and that is where I am coming from.

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July 13th, 2011, 6:49 pm

 

172. NK said:

Dear Louai

We’re having a dialogue here because we’re interested in dialogue, and believe me I really wish the Syrian regime was truly interested in a true dialogue, but everything they’re doing is pointing otherwise. Beating protesters, the major assault on opposition carried out by the Syrian media, the facade meetings held by regime loyalists as “opposition meetings”, the Syrian regime wants the opposition to sit on the table and agree to whatever reforms the regime has in mind, of course this will be sold later as a MAJOR VICTORY for the Syria Al Assad who withstood the savage attack (foreign plot) and came out much stronger thanks to the wisdom of it’s president and people’s love for him. I don’t see why this is not obvious, it’s been done over and over and over.

Just take a look at this

http://www.the-syrian.com/archives/18745

ما حصل في مظاهرة المثقفين في الميدان

جمعت الكلام هاد من تواجدي هنيك + كذا شهادة على الفيسبوك.

كان المقرر إنو نجتمع أبكر ما يمكن أما جامع الحسن، لكن أنا اتأخرت للساعة ستة. لما وصلت عرفت إنو تم اعتقال الأسماء التالية حوالي الساعة 6 إلا عشرة من أمام جامع الحسن:
الصحفي إياد شربجي، الفنانة مي سكاف، الكاتبة ريما فليحان، الكاتبة يم مشهدي، الكاتبان أحمد ومحمد ملص، السينمائي نضال حسن، المصورة غيفارا نمر والناشطة دانا بقدونس.
قيل إنو مجمد آل رشي، فارس الحلو، يارا صبري، خالد تاجا إنهن اعتقلوا، لكن تبين فيما بعد إنو لأ.

طبعاً عند وصولي كان الأمن وقوى حفظ النظام منتشرين تحت بالساحة الصغيرة تحت المتحلق وعند جامع الحسن. بالإضافة لعدد 2 شبيحة نسوات وشوية شبيحة شباب حاملين صورة كبيرة عليها: “ساعة الحسم يا غالي يا أسد” وماشيين فيها، عليها صور نضال جنود وبقية من قتلوا من جانب النظام، بالأضافة لأسماء القتلى من الأمن والجيش.

التجمع كان عند الغواص، كان في حوالي 200 شب وصبية، وقفنا شوي وبعدين بلشنا نمشي باتجاه المجتهد، وبدأنا نغني النشيد السوري، غنيناه مرتين، وبعدين هتفنا: “الله سورية حرية وبس”، “واحد واحد واحد، الشعب السوري واحد”، “علّي الصوت علّي الصوت علّي علّي الصوت، يا منعيش بكرامة، يا أما منموت”.. وغيرها..

خلال مسيرنا ما كان الأمن وحفظ النظام عم يلحقنا، بس اقتحم المظاهرة واحد بلش يقول: “الله سوريا بشار وبس” وحاول يضرب بعض الشباب، بس الشباب بعدوه. رجع هجم مرة تانية، فأخدوه شي عشر شباب عالزاوية ضربوه شوي فحاولنا نهتف: “سلميّة سلميّة” بلكي بيتركوه، بعدين مشي الحال، وفكوا الناس بيناتهن.

وقت وصلنا قبل المجتهد بشوي، كنا بدنا نلف عاليمين، بس في ناس قالت تعوا نكمل لقدام، بهاللحظة هجم حفظ النظام واعتقل بعض الشباب وضرب. وبعد هيك اتفرقتنا.

بحسب مو مكتوب عالفيسبوك، كان في مظاهرة تانية بمنطقة الجزماتية، والمظاهرة استمرت نص ساعة تقريباً شارك فيها فارس الحلو ومحمد آل رشي، وما اعتقلوا.

نُشر في مدوّنة شحّار.

Again I truly wished Bashar would take serious steps to end this regime and do what best serves the interests of Syrians, but after 4 months of nothing but committees to study the suggestion of other committees, this falls under wishful thinking. My time is better spent looking for alternatives.

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July 13th, 2011, 7:08 pm

 

173. Darryl said:

153. NK

Syrians have been leaving Syria long before the Assads came to power. Islamic migration from Syria is only recent, because you have finally realised why the previous generations, which were mostly Christians and minorities left. And it had nothing to do with the Assads or Baath, there was something else there.

That something is there, but no one wants to tackle this hot potato. It is the lack of freedom and opportunity due to religious intolerance, slavery of the mind by constantly referring to the past, belief in absolute authority, ingrained belief not to ask a question or challenge a particular thought and finally slavery of the Syrian Soul and body to perpetuate myths. All rulers, regimes and clergy used the above to get where they are, precisely because these tools were there and highly effective.

Be objective when you start talking about this issue in a public forum like this, otherwise this supposed revolution will exactly achieve nothing in the future.

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July 13th, 2011, 7:50 pm

 

174. Tara said:

Daryl,

“slavery of the mind..ingrained belief not to ask question or challenge a particular thoyght… And slavery of the soul… ”

Outstanding!

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July 13th, 2011, 8:05 pm

 

175. louai said:

You said ‘Syrian regime wants the opposition to sit on the table and agree to whatever reforms the regime has in mind, of course this will be sold later as a MAJOR VICTORY for the Syria Al Assad who withstood the savage attack (foreign plot) and came out much stronger thanks to the wisdom of it’s president and people’s love for him.’ then you asked ‘why its not obvious
Don’t let him do that ! go to the meeting say what you want ! unless what you want cant be said on TV ,you have a president who is welling and ready for change (thanks for the pressure put from the peaceful demonstrators and the blood of all martyrs)
What make you trust the regime when he says he is sincere about having dialogue?
You said ‘everything they’re doing is pointing otherwise’
1-Beating protesters
well the protestors are throwing rocks (I am not saying having firing guns and not mentioning hundreds of dead security forces )

2-the major assault on opposition carried out by the Syrian media
it is a manageable thing if only the opposition address that as one of the official demands to start dialogue and remember the opposition have the international and Golf media on its side

3-“opposition meetings”,
all the opposition should have attended ,what did happened to Tayb Tanziny? No one arrested him no one question him, providing the regime arrested the activists that will inflame the anger and the protests, it’s a win win scenario to Syria and the opposition if they start dialogue

sooner or later we have to talk and we have to find a political solution its up to the opposition how soon or late this day will come in the mean time our family back home are paying the price

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July 13th, 2011, 11:14 pm

 

176. louai said:

HS

‘I am quite sure the government don’t read the comments of this blog.
In fact , I am quite sure that only a few people apart the usual commentators are reaching here.’

they do , you and me are Mukhabarat , remember?

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July 14th, 2011, 4:09 am

 

177. Opy said:

Excellent article Mouhanad and very touichng in many ways. Glory be to the Syrian revolution and it’s great forgotten heroes and martyrs. But beware of those who are ready to hijack your revolution just like they did with ours in Egypt. You must have a plan now to what’s next after Assad reign is over and don’t leave anything for circumstances. God bless.

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August 19th, 2012, 9:22 am

 

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