What is new on the Economy (24 June 2011): Oil Sanctions

Ehsani tries to answer these two questions:

  1. Is bringing down the economy and bankrupting the country a realistic danger?
  2. And as for the Lira. Is there a way to manipulate the currency from outside the country? Is it technically possible to put pressure on the Lira from governments outside?

First, it is important to note that everything we read and write about Syria’s economy is speculative and unsupported by credible data. The government officials in charge of the collecting the data and publishing it may not even disagree with this statement.

There is little doubt that the economy today faces a number of challenges. Tourism has stopped. Expatriate remittances or summer visits have slowed down rather dramatically. The foreign exchange that came from such sources has largely disappeared. Fearful of the political situation, households both took money out of the banks and opted to swap their SYP savings into foreign currency.

By drawing down deposits the balance sheet of banking system was suddenly mismatched. The lost deposits had to be funded from elsewhere. By shifting out of SYP into foreign currency, the exchange value was put under pressure as the SYP was quoted as high as 56 to the Dollar over a critical 48 hour period. The Central Bank had to respond. It not only intervened in the currency market by selling Dollars and buying SYP but it also decided to raise deposit rates on SYP by up to 3%. With deposit rates nearing double digits now, the opportunity cost of keeping your money at the bank was not made higher.

A lot has been said about Mr. Makhlouf personally intervening in the currency market in order to stabilize the SYP rate. No one can verify this and this is not surprising. Since then, all foreign currency transactions have been subjected to excessive supervision and control from the Central Bank.

Over the past 72 hours, both Aleppo and Damascus have reported acute difficulties in finding foreign currency even at the black market. The pressures on the exchange rate seem intense and unlikely to go away anytime soon.

The SYP is not a convertible currency. This makes it very hard to speculate against. You cannot short the currency. The only way to do so would be to borrow in SYP (if you find anyone to lend you), exchange it to Dollars and hope that the SYP devalues before your loan needs to be repaid. This is an expensive strategy as you are borrowing in SYP at a much higher rate than you are earning on your Dollars. The Central Bank is likely to support the exchange rate vigorously. Time will tell if they will succeed.

Rather than foreign governments, it will be Syrians who will ultimately decide the fate of the currency. If enough of them shift their SYP holdings (80% of bank deposits are in SYP) into Dollars, the Central Bank may give up the defense of the rate if its reserves go too low. Possible economic sanctions will speed up such fears by the public and cause more to shift their savings into foreign currency.

Syria’s economic challenge is twofold:

  1. Excessive government spending on subsidies and the constantly bleeding public sector with little tax revenues to match. This budget deficit is a major challenge.
  2. Sub-par economic growth and hence job creation. The domestic purchasing power is too weak to support economic growth of 7-8%, which is the rate needed simply to produce enough jobs for all those presently coming of working age.
  3. The government is too broke to spend and invest. This leaves investments and exports. Syria is so far behind when it comes to infrastructure and human and capital resources that it is nearly impossible to catch up and compete in the global economy when it comes to exporting its products and services. This leaves investments. The political background has made slowed foreign investments to a trickle. It will be a while for this to change. Domestic investors need to see significant reforms before they decide to take risk with long term investments. The government has done very poorly on the legislative side when it comes to offering incentives and cutting red tape for potential investors.

From a reader:

We should keep an eye on the gold market in Syria and the property market. People will search for dollars, euro, and other currencies, yes. They will also look to purchase gold and real estate. If too many people, including dealers, hold on to gold in the country, prices will naturally rise in SYP regardless of the world market prices in dollars for gold. It’s a safe haven. Watch the gold and property markets. If local prices in SYP increase and significantly differ from what the official exchange rate indicates as normal, it will be evidence of an impending collapse of the Syrian Pound.

Syria’s ailing economy poses a threat to the Assad regime.
by Shadid for NYTimes

“We as businessmen want a solution, and we can’t wait forever,” said Muhammad Zaion, a garment dealer in Aleppo. “The president should find a way out of this crisis, or he should leave it to others. We need a solution, whatever that solution might be.” ….

“This is a huge drain on the resources of the government,” said Nabil Samman, an economist and director of the Center of Research and Documentation in Damascus.

“The Syrian economy can’t stand more than three or four months like this,” he said, predicting the currency’s collapse. “There is no look to the future. They are concerned about pleasing the public and giving them enough to stop the protests.”

In Syria, which remains shielded somewhat from the world economy, market reforms were never as far-reaching as those in Egypt and Tunisia. Syria’s stock market was set up only in 2009, and the government still has an estimated $17 billion in reserves — enough, one economist said, to cover seven months of imports.

But as Mr. Assad himself put it, the problem might prove more psychological, as his leadership seeks to hold on to its still-substantial support among minority groups, the middle class and the business elite in Damascus and Aleppo.

Since the beginning of the uprising, those groups — not the opposition — have been the audience for government arguments that only Mr. Assad can bring reform and stability. American officials say they believe his support is weakening among the business elite, and suggest that anxieties over the strife are growing among Christians and even Alawites, the heterodox Muslim sect from which Mr. Assad’s family hails.

“Rainfall starts with just a drop,” said Mr. Zaion, the garment merchant.

In Damascus, a 28-year-old travel agent who gave his name as Anwar said his $600-a-month salary had already been cut by a fourth. Every single tourist group has canceled. He and his wife are spending only for food, though he still offers his parents money.

“If I lose my job, I’ll go to the mosque, pray and, failing that, join the protests,” he said. “It’s the responsibility of the government to make jobs for all its citizens.”

Damascus Bourse to Allow Shares to Rise as Much as 5% a Day
2011-06-23

By Lina Ibrahim

June 23 (Bloomberg) — The Damascus Securities Exchange will allow shares to raise by as much as 5 percent a day and to fall by a maximum of 2 percent a day, the bourse said on its website today. Previously, fluctuation limits were set at 3 percent increase or decrease….

Syria opens bank account in Lebanon
2011-06-23

BEIRUT, Lebanon, June 23 (UPI) — Syria’s Central Bank has opened an account at the Lebanese Central Bank, a source familiar with the banks told the Beirut Daily Star. Such a move wouldn’t normally be considered unusual, but Syria’s actions could be construed as an end-run over sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union, the Star reported Thursday. The newspaper said the source warned Lebanon to be careful about opening the account in light of the sanctions imposed on Syria, where demonstrators have called for the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad.

Ehsani:

When the subsidies on fuel oil were reduced, the plan was to use some of the savings to supplement the incomes of the poorest portion of the Syrian population. The statistics at the time should that 420,000 families needed such  income assistance. While the public was busy awaiting the President’s speech, the following article went unnoticed when it appeared on the same day. As it turns out, the initial statistic of 420,000 in need of financial help was off by 82%. Following the initial disbursement of the funds, the government received 120,000 complaints from families who felt that they were left out of the program. A new study was ordered as a result. The new results showed that 1.5 million rather than 420,000 qualified for income assistance. This means that the initial budget earmarked for the program has had to be increased by over 3.5 times the initial amount. Families that reside at the furthest points in the country were thought to have been suffered being excluded the most. Some who received the assistance should have never received it.

There are five million nuclear families in Syria. The fact that 1.5 million need such assistance means 30% of all Syrian families belong to this group. If one assumes an average total family size of only 5, it means that 7.5 million Syrians need government help per this one single program.

EU’s new Sanctions – the EU has expanded sanctions against the Assad government. It added three members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and four Syrians to a list of more than 30 people targeted.

CIA Agent says sanctions designed to harm Iran and to protect Israel.

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – EU and US intervention in Syria is designed to harm Iran and to protect Israel and Lebanese Christians, not Syrian people, according to Robert Baer, a retired CIA officer with experience of the region.

Speaking in an interview with EUobserver, Baer, a senior CIA field officer in Lebanon and Syria in the 1980s and 1990s and a writer on international security affairs, said EU and US sanctions might weaken the Syrian regime but will not stop it from killing people in the current crisis.

Haaretz: The middle and upper classes still believe that the regime will be able to put down the protests and bring back the calm that is so vital for business.

This AP article argues that Alawis are charged four times less than Sunnis for electricity, which is bogus. Syrians are not charged different rates on electricity according to their religious beliefs. Bad journalism.

Oil Sanctions: What affect will they have?

One commentator on my site writes this about economic sanctions on Syria: (He is referring to my Bloggingheads TV interview with Ausama Monajed.

Question: “You and your fellow activists in the West have been working very hard to try to get more important sanctions placed on Syria. In particular sanctions placed on oil….”

Answer by Ausama Monajed, anti-Assad activist living in London: “The strategy is to dry up the hard currency of the Syrian regime to make them less able to carry on the massacres and atrocities…. The ordinary Syrian people are already not seeing any difference in whether this regime is wealthier or poorer…. This [proposal] is to not allow Western oil companies to buy the heavy crude oil that Syria exports and uses the funds from to fund its military operations.” (Ref)

Comment by reader: It is impossible to influence the Syrian government’s internal security activities by means of an oil export embargo: the security activities are wholly dictated by the internal security circumstances. The effect of the proposed embargo would be to reduce the stimulus that the oil funds give to the Syrian economy as a whole, plus there would be some loss of jobs in the oil sector.

The prosperity of the Syrian economy as a whole today is something to be desired by everyone who has goodwill for the people who live in Syria today. The thinking of that guy in London and the likes of him has gotten distorted by their anti-regime sentiments. It’s so distorted that they advocate corroding the Syrian economy on a longterm indefinite timeframe because it would go towards corroding the strength of the regime.

There is a wise old saying, “never ascribe to malfeasance what can be explained by incompetence”. Notwithstanding the wisdom of that saying, and notwithstanding the incompetence of the anti-regime crowd, I can’t believe they’re sincerely thinking an oil export embargo would hinder the regime’s security work. Rather I believe they’re thinking an embargo would be a stigma, which would help to de-legitimize the regime in Syria and abroad. But within Syria, as I’m sure most people on this board can agree, such a stigma effect would be very mild, while the main effect of the embargo would be to corrode economic prosperity and modernization. What they’re advocating is basically just economic sabotage. How much of an effect could the embargo have in contributing to the stated aim of destroying the Assad regime? I’ll let you answer that yourself, provided you can first acknowledge that economic sabotage is what it would be.

For more on the sanctions arguement by Monajed read his part in this: Envisioning Syria’s Political Future, Transcript – Ausama Monjed, Dr Radwan Ziadeh, Dr Najib Ghadbian
Chatham House, June 2011

Comments (508)


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101. Syrian Commando said:

Only traitors shoot at the army. Get this in your traitor skulls, no Syrian will see you differently.

#92

Syria has a fuel and power generation problem, but if you’ve been paying attention you’d realise that the Iranian bourse is now taking Syrian Lira for gas.

This changes things significantly. The Iraq/Iran/Syria deal they’re trying to push for is a new pipeline.

Don’t get confused. The economy is hurting due to lack of security, poor tourism and morale.

When the monkeys on the street throwing rocks, raping, hanging people and shooting are put in prison and the borders secured (and for god’s sake I am fed up every time there is a security failure), then the economy will begin to recover.

This is independent of what the bankruptcy-in-progress western nations do. Or the imaginary business man AliBaba and his 50 black market dealers.

If you want to worry about someone, worry about the US. It doesn’t HAVE years of isolations for Syria planned, it’s impossible, its economic empire is going to collapse during the next 2 years.

#96

One lie at a time, can you actually name them?

Because according to Syria, only 7 died, including 2 or more security forces.

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June 25th, 2011, 1:34 pm

 

102. Mina said:

So called activists are very orgnized. Even what they say is ready to use (remember the tone of W. Tarif’s tweets?):

Syria Trend Message 6/25/2011

To use Clicktotwet service, make sure you are logged on to twitter through your browser. Copy the link below the tweet you want to send. Paste it in the URL box and hit enter.
Please share the DM for Syria trend publically on your timeline several times a day.
Please make a quick phone call to the White House once a day http://freesyriacommentline.blogspot.com/
You can make adjustments to the tweet prior to sending it.
If you have any suggestion of tweets you want us to promote, please DM them to me. All tweets must have a target twitter handle.
When you do your own personal tweet, please try to include #SY11 This is our team’s hash tag. When you see it please RT it.

@adctweets #ineedtostop hoping ur civil rights conscience will compel u 2 say #AssadMustGo What a disappointment 2 our community via @RafifJ
@BarackObama The change in #Syria is irreversible. Be on the right side of the history #SY11

@UN The change in #Syria is irreversible. Be on the right side of the history #SY11 @Number10gov The change in #Syria is irreversible. Be on the right side of the history #SY11

@ENERGY #US oil companies should not be doing business with the brutal Syrian regime #Syria #SY11 @JTskynews Thank you for going into #Syria Please speak to anti regime protestors to expose #AssadCrimes #SY11

@CNN Thank you for going into #Syria Please speak to anti regime protestors to expose #AssadCrimes #SY11
@SkyNewsBreak Thank you for going into #Syria Please speak to anti regime protestors to expose #AssadCrimes #SY11

@arwaCNN Thank you for going into #Syria Please speak to anti regime protestors to expose #AssadCrimes #SY11
@HalaGorani Thank you for going into #Syria Please speak to anti regime protestors to expose #AssadCrimes #SY11

@JomanaCNN Thank you for going into #Syria Please speak to anti regime protestors to expose #AssadCrimes #SY11 @BarakObama 3 Million protesters in #Syria on 6-24 If people know they wont B shot, this number would’ve been 20Million #SY11 via @Hawanyaty

@USEmbassySyria Did you guys find out about #AssadCrimes or R U still honeymooning? U must say #AssadMustGo #Syria #SY11 @adctweets: how r those civil rights workin’ for ya? Silence equals acceptance shame on u 4 accepting genocide in #Syria. Speak up v @RafifJ

@latimes @nprnews #syrianrefugees on the borders need @UN attention & help 2 stop killing so they go back home youtu.be/Wd21-HJ9Dqg #SY11
@AC360 Whats happening in #Syria isnt “political dispute” Its mass murder being carried out by anti-democratic despot. #SY11 via @Nora0315

@Kenroth Children R being killed. Tell Bashar to leave. 10000+ refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, & Jordan RT #assadcrimes RT #sy11 via @hawanyaty
@barackobama Genocide is not “Civil war”. Its genocide… #Syria #SY11 #Assadcrimes via @SyrTimes

@BarackObama 2 children killed by the Syrian reformer http://youtu.be/tsQulHaB_yY & http://youtu.be/8tRUkN-NpYw #AssadMustGo #Syria #SY11
@Number10Gov 2 children killed by the Syrian reformer http://youtu.be/tsQulHaB_yY & http://youtu.be/8tRUkN-NpYw #AssadMustGo #Syria #SY11

@MSF_USA Syrian butcher should be stripped of his medical degree and certifications. #Syria #SY11
@Neilcbc Thank you for article about #Syria http://t.co/lwDSNRn #SY11

@BarackObama Sanctions agnst Saddam didnt protect Iraqis Do u think doing the same will prevent Assad from killing his people? #Syria #SY11 @Number1oGov As long as #syria ‘n FM decided to deny the existence of Europe, why don’t you kick Syrian ambassadors out of Europe? #SY11

@EU_Commission As long as #syria ‘n FM decided to deny the existence of Europe, why don’t you kick Syrian ambassadors out of Europe? #SY11 @StateDept Sanctions against Saddam didnt protect Iraqis Do u think doing the same will prevent Assad from killing his people? #Syria #sy11

@GlobalFundWomen Protect women in #Syria from being raped and children from being killed. Speak about #AssadCrimes #SY11
@MSF_USA diseases are spreading amongst the Syrian refugee camps. They need urgent help. #Syria #SY11

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June 25th, 2011, 1:35 pm

 

103. Syrian Commando said:

MINA,

It’s funny because the people are getting raped by the peaceful terrorists.

Check this out, people in the Turkish refugee camps:

WOW THE STUPID STORY FALLS APART LOL!

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June 25th, 2011, 1:39 pm

 

104. Yazan said:

I don’t like posting videos, but I’ll bit my finger and post this, because it gives goose-bumps.

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June 25th, 2011, 1:42 pm

 

105. why-discuss said:

A new doomed strategy for a confused opposition seeing things getting out of hand and bloodier?

Chaos feared as Syria crisis nears bloody impasse
http://beta.news.yahoo.com/chaos-feared-syria-crisis-nears-bloody-impasse-164815903.html

“That is why many opposition figures are putting their hope on an unlikely player: the Syrian army. Dissidents say they are in touch with many lower-ranking soldiers, and have publicly urged top-ranking officers to oust Assad in a coup d’etat.

“We don’t have other options right now,” said Radwan Ziadeh, a prominent Syrian exile and a visiting scholar at the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University. “We need the army officers to take the initiative.””

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June 25th, 2011, 1:46 pm

 

106. Syrian Commando said:

#101

Tiny compared the one in Hama against their “Hurriyeh to hang people and free rapes and headchoppings” demostration.

What do you think of the refugees in Turkey who are cheering for Basha’ars and telling the truth about the terrorists?

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June 25th, 2011, 1:49 pm

 

107. Mina said:

Kuwait news are not bad either, they report of ten thousand corpses thrown in the (sea!) (probably at jisr al shughur, which has certainly less than ten thousand inhabitants).

Kwt_News Kwt_News
النائب الوعلان من مخيمات اللاجئين السوريين بتركيا: النظام السوري والشبيحه قاموا بإلقاء 10 الاف جثه لشهداء في عرض البحر #Alrab3a #Syria
Il y a 11 minutes

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June 25th, 2011, 1:55 pm

 

108. NK said:

Usama

Although I have no clue what AboAli does for a living, but I strongly suggest you visit Maddina (المدينة) or Bab Al Nasr (باب النصر) in Aleppo and spend a day watching the merchants there. I assure you most people there won’t even touch a $10000 deal, that’s just pocket change (فراطة).

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June 25th, 2011, 1:57 pm

 

109. Usama said:

NK,

Good to hear. So now the Syrian people are not poor. They are very rich. Right? Or you want to tell me only the “1%” that are rich sustain the black market currency business of all those “merchants” (which hate $10,000 pocket change)?

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June 25th, 2011, 2:03 pm

 

110. Syrian Commando said:

http://presstvmobile.com/blog/2011/06/24/huge-us-led-spy-operation-on-arab-world-uncovered/

“Apple, Google, and Disney [have been] implicated in a U.S.-led mass surveillance apparatus designed to spy and mine data from social media sources in the Arab world.

A crowd sourced investigation dubbed Project PM has probed reams leaked emails involving U.S. intelligence companies and uncovered a massive spy operation targeting social media and telecommunications in the Arab world.

The allegations, derived from 70,000 emails stolen from HBGary earlier this year, detailed a project dubbed Romas/COIN, to be proceeded by Odyssey, which could automatically analyze millions of conversations.”

#102

>We don’t have other options right now

It’s good they admit it, but in truth the only options they have are terrorism and hope for Turkey to invade. Too bad for them the army is unified and Iran+Syria will destroy Turkey forever.

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June 25th, 2011, 2:07 pm

 

111. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

98. Syrian Commando,

Even Assad himself admitted that this is a long-term crisis. The crisis in Syria is a regional problem. It will probably not end until the regional conflict between the US and Iran is resolved. We need to think outside the box if we were to survive. A union between Syria and Iraq is a brilliant idea to revive Arab nationalism and foil the American scheme for Sunni-Shia war and sectarianist states. It will also have great economic benefits for both countries. The addition of millions of Shia to Syria will greatly benefit the Alawis who will no longer remain a minority. There are many theoritical benefits to this idea.

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June 25th, 2011, 2:08 pm

 

112. why-discuss said:

Tara

I think Turkey is taking ( stealing) the leadership of the Palestinian resistance. Hezbollah is moving out of Syria, Hamas left already.

Turkey to launch international mobilization for Palestinian state’s recognition

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=turkey-to-launch-international-mobilization-for-palestinian-state8217s-recognition-2011-06-24

Nasrallah supports Syrian Leadership`s Reform

http://www.dp-news.com/en/detail.aspx?articleid=88032

also read this, Israel worried about Bashar’s fall…. What an irony!

Hezbollah getting ready for the day after Assad falls , report

http://www.yalibnan.com/2011/06/25/hezbollah-getting-ready-for-the-day-after-assad-falls-report/

“French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Saturday that Israel has asked Western countries to stop their diplomatic campaign against the Syrian regime for fear that the weapons of mass destruction of the Syrian regime will fall in the hands of Hezbollah and Hamas.
..The expert confirmed that Western intelligence had monitored the movement of trucks from the Syrian border to eastern Lebanon’s Bekaa valley.
The trucks are allegedly transporting Iranian-made Zelzal, Fajr 3 and Fajr 4 rockets that the Shiite party had amassed in depots in Syria”

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June 25th, 2011, 2:08 pm

 

113. Syrian Commando said:

#108

I’m afraid the idea is dead on arrival. It is true Iran controls … let’s say Iraqi politics, but Iraq is ultimately controlled by the US military and death squads. There’s no way they will do anything in Syria’s interests. They want to destroy us.

Also Pan-arabism is dead. Everyone in Syria is spitting on the name “Arab” including me. There is no way it’s going to happen, we still remember the horrors of Nasser, we’re not going to do it again.

Trust me, we’ll outlast the crisis, in fact because we will, they have no other option but to fight us militarily. Turkey SEEMS to be chickening out right now but it is probably a ploy. They are still planning something big in the East.

#109

Ignore this disinformation.

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June 25th, 2011, 2:13 pm

 

114. ziadsoury said:

Yazan,

Thanks for the video. It must be fake? Anti Bashar Syrians can come out and demonstrate without being infiltrated by mundaseen, salafis and germs? Is that possible? No way.

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June 25th, 2011, 2:26 pm

 

115. Syrian Commando said:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9TWZkJWjsNA

Syrians bury their heroes, which the zionist channels tried to drag through the mud with lies about Jisr al-Shaghour.

“Allah yer7amak ya baba”

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June 25th, 2011, 2:30 pm

 

116. Usama said:

The Zionists are not worried about Asad’s fall. The Zionists WANT Asad’s fall. The Zionist media comprehensively pushed the idea that “Israel wants Asad” just to get more people inside Syria to protest against him. They still can’t get 100,000 people together.

I saw in the twitter stream Mina shared with us that those idiots think they had 3 million people protesting against Asad this past Friday. That is such a joke. Even if they count the huge pro-Asad demonstrations on Friday in Bab Touma, and another city in reef Dimashq (I can’t remember the name), they probably still won’t have 3 million.

The whole western world, including the Zionists, want Asad gone (or at least under extreme pressure (for links with Iran and HA)) so bad that they dismissed the huge Tuesday (June 21) pro-Asad demonstrations as being “thousands” large when they were easily in the millions. Then some went as far as trying to suggest that the millions on June 21 were actually *AGAINST* Bashar al-Asad (http://bit.ly/lU0O4s).

Douchebag Ziadeh says the army is the only hope because, although he refuses to admit it (for obvious reasons), he knows there is no real populist pro-revolution movement inside Syria. Notice how when the army defection hopes failed, they moved onto the economy with all the big Zionist “think tanks” exploring ways in which to make the Syrian economy collapse? Honestly, how can anyone blame Asad for an economic collapse when it is imposed by Europe and the US? Do they think this will turn anti-revolution people into pro-revolution? Do they think Syrians will become less anti-revolution because people are working in the inside to collapse the SYP, like our friend AboAli? I will bet my money that Syrian nationalism will win in the end and Asad will be more and more popular as sanctions (both overt and covert) become more and more painful.

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June 25th, 2011, 2:35 pm

 

117. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

110. Syrian Commando,

Because you feel Arab nationalism is dead, we need to revive it by reviving the idea of unification. If Arab nationalism is dead, then Syria is dead too. Syria and Iraq both have no future without Arab nationalism. They will be divided along sectarian lines and absorbed by Iran, Turkey, and the US.

To say that we cannot unite with Iraq because it is under American control is an old separatist excuse that was used as early as 1943. The separatists in the 1940′s foiled several attempts for Syria-Iraq unification under the excuse that Iraq was controlled by Britain. We paid a very heavy price because of that separatism, both we and Iraq.

What is happening now is much larger than the capacity of Assad’s regime. The region is being reshaped into a new geopolitical map. Syria, the last Arab nationalist state, is being discarded because it is out of date. To survive this massive geopolitical reshaping, we must do something really extraordinary, like starting a huge regional war or merging two countries together. Other than that, there is no chance that Syria will survive on the long run.

The Baathists in the Syrian regime must decide between sectarian division or a bold attempt to revive Arab nationalism. This is a historical moment that we are living. The Baath will bear historical responsibility for what will happen.

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June 25th, 2011, 2:38 pm

 

118. why-discuss said:

Jad

I am waiting for the opposition to meet the Russians by end June as it was announced. Have you read anything?

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June 25th, 2011, 2:38 pm

 

119. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

That meeting was cancelled.

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June 25th, 2011, 2:45 pm

 

120. Mina said:

Usama
It is not a twitter stream. It is much worse than that.
It is a Googledoc document available to anyone to download and use with a spamming programme called clickatweet. And these are ready tweets sent and re-sent by the so-called activists. They are all written by the same person, who sends them the roadmap everyday. Then no matter if you are Kuwaiti, Saudi, American, Canadian, Australian. Just retweet and learn to say Heil Master…

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June 25th, 2011, 2:47 pm

 

121. why-discuss said:

Another failure for the confused opposition: No meeting with Russia.

While the declaration from the Russians about a possible meeting with the Syrian opposition overflowed the media on 10th june, this one dated 24 june did not make the news.

Russian officials don’t intend to meet Syrian opposition figures in Moscow – Foreign Ministry

http://www.interfax.co.uk/russia-cis-military-news-bulletins-in-english/russian-officials-dont-intend-to-meet-syrian-opposition-figures-in-moscow-foreign-ministry-2/

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June 25th, 2011, 2:47 pm

 

122. Syrian Commando said:

#116

If Ali-baba is real, the only thing he’s going to collapse is his life savings. The USD is dying, let him convert all his income into it for all I care, lol.

Like you said, the Israelis are playing the game of “whoever we like is unpopular”, but everyone with an IQ above 100 knows the trick. If Syria falls, Israel wins by default. Why would they want the government to stay???

#117

>If Arab nationalism is dead, then Syria is dead too. Syria and Iraq both have no future without Arab nationalism.

I disagree with this notion strongly. Syria is not Arabic for one. Iraq has a future on its own and when the US is destroyed we will be allies of course. Iran, Syria and Iraq will be a ring of fire which will consume the middle east and Turkey when NATO decays soon.

>To say that we cannot unite with Iraq because it is under American control is an old separatist excuse that was used as early as 1943.

You have to be kidding me. Iraq is literally under American control. The Americans are IN IRAQ CONTROLLING IT. Please, let’s not be childish.

>What is happening now is much larger than the capacity of Assad’s regime.

You’re underestimating the resolve of the Syrian people. Syria is bigger than just its government. If it wasn’t for the Syrian people, the government would have collapsed 3 month ago.

>To survive this massive geopolitical reshaping, we must do something really extraordinary

No, to survive we must remain completely unchanged. When the dust settles we inherit everything. All the Arabic countries are undergoing change from the outside, under the intention of cutting off their oil output for good. It’s a complicated plan but it will save the future of the west in the next 20 years (but they will be massively hurt from it).

>The Baathists in the Syrian regime must decide between sectarian division or a bold attempt to revive Arab nationalism.

No you’re confused, there’s no sectarian option. You’re presenting a false alternative. Syrians are not this primitive.

The whole world could disappear and Syria will survive — in fact, we’ll be stronger.

#121

That’s a shame, it would have been entertaining. Sorry Prof. Landis, it looks like Russia isn’t taking these cavemen seriously either.

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June 25th, 2011, 2:50 pm

 

123. why-discuss said:

Norman

Russian foreign minister: will meet Syrian opposition, urge dialogue with the government
Monday, Jun 20, 2011 06:00 am | The Associated Press

This is maybe why the meeting was canceled on 24th june, the opposition were hoping to change Russia’s mind about the veto, instead they were asked to talk to the government. I think the opposition is in a dead end, let see what the Turks will tell them soon … Libya actually saved Syria from the NATO!

MOSCOW – Russia’s foreign minister says Moscow will tell the Syrian opposition that it must talk with the government.

Sergey Lavrov said Monday that Russia will tell Syrian opposition leaders, who are set to visit Moscow later this month, that they need to engage in a dialogue with authorities.

He criticized those in the Syrian opposition who reject talks with President Bashar Assad’s government, saying some people are trying to provoke violence in the hope of Western intervention.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said that Russia hasn’t been happy with the way the West has used the United Nations resolution on Libya and will oppose any Western-backed U.N. resolution on Syria.
http://www.stalbertgazette.com/article/GB/20110620/CP01/306209965/-1/sag0806/russian-foreign-minister-will-meet-syrian-opposition-urge-dialogue&template=cpArt

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June 25th, 2011, 2:54 pm

 

124. Usama said:

Mina,

Thank you for the information. Nice catch. Do you have a link for this googledoc?

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June 25th, 2011, 2:56 pm

 

125. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

All these details do not matter. The Wahhabi genie is out of the bottle. The Syrian regime cannot get it back into the bottle when the West, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia are supporting it. The regime has to look for a strategic solution or it will fall.

Without enough money, there is nothing the regime can do. It is going to lose. This is why I am suggesting to revisit old but very powerful and strategic ideas, like a federal union between Syria and Iraq.

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June 25th, 2011, 2:57 pm

 

126. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

122. Syrian Commando,

This is mostly wishful thinking. It is not realistic. As for Iraq, Iraq now has a security agreement with the US just like it had one with Britain in the 1940′s. There is little difference.

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June 25th, 2011, 3:03 pm

 

127. Syrian Commando said:

Joining Iraq would be equivalent to losing so you can throw that option right out.

You forget that the enemy doesn’t have forever to implement their plans. The fact that 3 month have passed and their effectiveness is decreasing means they are losing control of their plot. The Whabbi “bottle” will be shut just like 1982, if it comes to that. It won’t though, this unsightly side of humanity is decaying.

Also, don’t forget the Samson option.

Don’t worry, Syrians are calm, cold thinkers. We know their plot and we will not lose any opportunity to tighten the noose around their necks. Our allie Iran controls half of Iraq … we can make life uncomfortable for Turkey and Israel. We have many many many cards, in fact Syria has not played a single one of them. This demonstrates how in-control we are at the moment.

The USA is going to be forced to take down its main ally Saudi Arabia soon and may even sacrifice Israel. They’re implementing their planned World War III as we speak. This may sound dramatic to you, but look at what is happening in the pacific, south east asia, china sea, east coast of south America and the Turkish-Syrian border.

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June 25th, 2011, 3:06 pm

 

128. Usama said:

SC,

I find Arab nationalism very important! We are Arab. You can’t say we’re not Arab just because at some point thousands of years ago we were not Arab. It’s like saying Jews aren’t Jews because before Judaism there were no Jews. Our reality today is that we speak Arabic and we are an Arab country. Colonial powers split the Arab world into so many countries because they feared a united Arab world that was bound to be strong. I don’t advocate one Arab world in the literal sense because I think it may be too late for that now. But I do want to see a day when Arab countries are united by thought and ideals. The biggest enemy of Zionism is pan-Arabism. Especially that Mubarak, who helped blockade and starve the Palestinians of Gaza, has been ousted by a truly popular movement, why would we give up on pan-Arabism now? I believe if Syrians give up on Arab nationalism, we will lose so much of what makes us Syrian.

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June 25th, 2011, 3:06 pm

 

129. why-discuss said:

Syrian Commando

Who can take seriously this opposition who calls for Khaddam to join, call for Bashar to give power to Farouk Sharaa, and now you table the future of Syria on the Syrian Army?

Despite the western media’s hysteria this external opposition does not seem to move forward. Calling it microbes is making it an honor as microbes are complex organisms.
I would rather call them amoebas

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June 25th, 2011, 3:07 pm

 

130. Syrian Commando said:

I understand the idea that we can somehow become more powerful with additional resources from Arabs … but this is a dead end.

Racially we are very different from Arabs. In fact, we have more in common with Turks, Greeks and Palestinians (“Lebanese are really Syrian”).

The Arabs are out to destroy us, all of them, including Egypt. Pan-Arabism has served its purpose, but now its time to be realistic. Just like the Europeans were goaded by financial powers to form the EU, we must form an alliance with Lebanon, Iran and Iraq and conquer the inferior Arabs.

Their oil is valuable and it is being wasted. In our control, we will be able to dominate their Earth. Saddam’s idea was good but he was a slave of the west initially, so he wasted most of his power fighting Iran. If only we formed an alliance together, putting our diffferences aside, the world would be much more different today.

We were fooled into thinking that Turkey would serve its own interest by joining this alliance, but as it turns out, Erdogan is either a retard or a zionist plant, of the HIGHEST order, a level-3 deception.

#129

Yeah the funny thing is, they’re so proud to call themselves germs when Bashaar didn’t even honour them with this name. The germ is the conspiracy. They’re non-persons without the conspiracy.

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June 25th, 2011, 3:10 pm

 

131. Mina said:

Just check the hashtag #Sy11
Their “team” is proudly using it so it’s easy to find all the names. Not many Syrians obviously (no Arabic). I guess the googledoc will be removed quickly now that it’s here
tinyurl.com/6ykx4bn

The first revolution using a spamming machine. Indeed, Syria is the first everywhere…

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June 25th, 2011, 3:10 pm

 

132. Norman said:

WD,

Turkey built credibility with the opposition in the last few months, If turkey asks the opposition to meet the Syrian government and reach an agreement then Turkey would have saved itself and Syria, The opposition should recognise that the goal is reform and free election not killing the Baath party or the army as if they feel that the opposition is going for their necks then we will see a crackdown that we have not seen yet.

Souri333 , I like your federation with Iraq, but the last time that was tried the Saudi started the Gulf counsel to defend against Arab-ism.

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June 25th, 2011, 3:13 pm

 

133. Syrian Commando said:

#131

Excellent find. It’s being coordinated by this guy: mtaher@prodigy.net

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KELKdbP0rtuESNdq6R5a8jH-MoJe7KnjlWMV9O2CsdM/edit?hl=en_GB&authkey=CLLii7gH

I copied it so they won’t be able to delete it don’t worry. But we need to find the pattern and who is coordinating this.

All in English as well. These criminals have to be hunted down online. I’ll inform the SES.

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June 25th, 2011, 3:26 pm

 

134. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

130. Syrian Commando

You are really delusional and you do not know what you are talking about. Arab nationalism is not related to a specific ethnicity; it is an idea to unite all the Arabic-speaking ethnicities. Also, most Syrians (90%) are ethnic Arabs. The eastern half of the country is ethnic Iraqi. At least third the population are bedouins or of bedouinic ancestry. I don’t know if you ever visited Syria but you sound as if you have no clue.

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June 25th, 2011, 3:28 pm

 

135. Syrian Commando said:

>Also, most Syrians (90%) are ethnic Arabs

No, it is you who is delusional. This is from the CIA world book right? You have no idea about your own people. We are quite distinct from the gulf Arabs. Have you even visited these countries? They look nothing like us.

And you want us to form a federation with Iraq. Are you forgetting that the north part of Iraq would never agree to it.

Seriously, you are like a child.

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June 25th, 2011, 3:32 pm

 

136. Mina said:

SC: [although I still don't agree with most of what you write... what was it? you're going to 'dominate the earth'... to do what exactly?]
Funny, the guy is a mayor in New Jersey. So to start with he probably has his picture everywhere in his office (just as he has his picture everywhere on the different Google results). Not a good start!

(just google the name and the email’s host)

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June 25th, 2011, 3:37 pm

 

137. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

132. Norman,

The only way the federation can work is if it is announced suddenly and without prior notice, and then it should be put to public referendum as soon as possible. Otherwise it will be foiled by Saudi Arabia, the US, Iran, and Turkey.

In 7 years or so, Iraq will be producing as much oil as Saudi Arabia. Even if we do not get a share of the revenues, we will be winning so much by just having a free flow of money and goods with them.

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June 25th, 2011, 3:38 pm

 

138. Syrian Commando said:

>u’re going to ‘dominate the earth’… to do what exactly?

Just a figure of speech, I meant the alliance will be very powerful. As much as Russia/China/Europe.

#136

Yeah, I saw it. I’m gathering everything I can about him. He’s finished.

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June 25th, 2011, 3:39 pm

 

139. Usama said:

Souri,

If we start to thrive for Arab unions for religious reasons and/or distributions, then I’d rather not have that. It would be just falling into a trap. Having a Sunni majority is not a disadvantage. You should not equate Sunnis, or even a significant portion of Sunnis, to the MB.

Also I really think it is too late to form physical unions now. It wouldn’t even work out with Lebanon (in the current state). Iraq already has religious-based parties and a large oil-rich autonomous Kurdish region that hosts many US and Israeli companies. Even if the US withdraws from Iraq by end of 2011 (which I doubt), they will not withdraw from the Kurdish region.

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June 25th, 2011, 3:57 pm

 

140. Yazan said:

Syrian Hamster,
Thanks for that fine piece of history. I seem to have missed it. ;)

I’m sure you’ll have some fantastic material from the recent discussion going on between the incarnations of Bachir al-Jemayyel and Akram al-Horani. I’ll be looking forward to that post.

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June 25th, 2011, 4:04 pm

 

141. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

The American presence in Iraq and the party law is their internal business. We need to have gradual merging. We can start by a common nationalist constitution, a single army, a single currency, etc.

I don’t understand how the Kurdish minority (who are 10% or 15%?) can prevent such a vital project. Iraq will be benefiting as much as we do.

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June 25th, 2011, 4:07 pm

 

142. Syrian Commando said:

>I don’t understand how the Kurdish minority (who are 10% or 15%?) can prevent such a vital project. Iraq will be benefiting as much as we do.

This is the problem, you don’t understand anything. The Kurds in Iraq are powerful, they have a large amount of the oil income. They are growing stronger every year. They want to separate and you think you can draw them into another federation.

You need to stop thinking in percentages and get out a map and learn something, sorry.

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June 25th, 2011, 4:09 pm

 

143. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

I think the Iraqi parliament can decide to write a new constitution without the Kurds’ agreement, right?

They can keep their federal region, but they have no right to undermine Iraq’s future.

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June 25th, 2011, 4:11 pm

 

144. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

142. Syrian Commando

We don’t need their oil income. They can keep it.

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June 25th, 2011, 4:13 pm

 

145. Tara said:

Why,

Nothing thrilling about Turkey “stealing” the leadership of the Palestinian resistance. It does not do much to my “Arabic pride” but any effort towards a just peace is welcome no matter where it comes from. I would prefer home-grown efforts towards achieving that goal but that seems too optimistic.

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June 25th, 2011, 4:23 pm

 

146. Syrian Commando said:

#144

Do you really think Turkey and Iran will allow this to happen?

Come on this is too far fetched to even discuss.

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June 25th, 2011, 4:28 pm

 

147. Tara said:

Syrian Hamster,

Hello. Agree with Yazan. It does look a fine piece of history.

I would love for you to write a summary for the Mamenhebaks similar to the Menhebak summary just for a comparison.

I hope you did not mind that I “stole” one of your statement in my reply to Habib.

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June 25th, 2011, 4:29 pm

 

148. Tara said:

Why,

In your eyes…..and rhetoric, What is the definition of Germs?

Outside opposition, inside opposition, demonstrators?

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June 25th, 2011, 4:32 pm

 

149. Syrian Commando said:

Just to re-iterate, anyone who uses the terms “menhebak” and/or “mamenhebak” in any serious fashion is either:

a – Completely retarded
b – Trying to get people into a black and white mode of thinking

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June 25th, 2011, 4:36 pm

 

150. Souri333 (formerly Souri) said:

146. Syrian Commando

It is very worth trying, because right now it seems that both Syria and Iraq will divide along sectarian lines and a universal Sunni-Shia war will ensue.

The religious fanatics are a minority in both countries but they are going to destroy the region because they are heavily supported by the US, Turkey, and Iran.

We need to do something before the huge war erupts and the American new Middle East forms.

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June 25th, 2011, 4:38 pm

 

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