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

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

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.


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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251. daleandersen said:


RE: Will you two rookies cut it out?

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June 26th, 2011, 2:12 am


252. Syrian Commando said:

Will the racist Dale Anderson, who compares Syrians to zoo creatures, stay out of our affairs? Or will he continue to post his garbage on Huffington post?

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June 26th, 2011, 2:20 am


253. 873 said:

204. Revlon said:
“Mother of Martyr child Ridha 3alawiyyeh, 13 year old, mourning her dead son, killed by military itelligence.
She prays to God to avenge the death of her son’s death”

Your fake concern is vomit-worthy. As an IDF killer, were you behind some mother’s son’s death like this one?


Half of worlds refugees are escaping from US -zionist Wars.

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June 26th, 2011, 2:30 am


254. 873 said:

85. Yazan said:
“If anybody cares to see a slice of the Syrian blogosphere.”


That site is NOT a slice of genuine Syria. Or anyone else either. It is a phony manufactured set up sponsored by the CIA and the US State Dept as part of their “people power Color Revolution” apparatus. It is affiliated w/ CIA’s AYM, Alliance of Youth Movements (who created Google’s Egyptian Wael Ghonem phenomenon) and paid for by multinational corporations for commercial interests.

AYM brings protesters together from across the world and trains them in tactics (esp social media) to overthrow their own governments. These stooges do the US Army’s job for them. Instigate regime change in America’s targeted enemies. For ‘humanitarian reasons’ of course.
Like Facebook, you will also be tracked. Dont be surprised if one day your info is used for blackmail to keep you in line. Be independent, start your own blog- dont ally w/ a surveillance network.

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June 26th, 2011, 3:05 am


255. vlad-the-syrian said:


pray you why do you advice ABOALI to cut it down ?

how do you know he is a rookie ?

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June 26th, 2011, 3:39 am


256. Revlon said:

AlQazzazeen demonstration must have sent gitters down the regime’s spine. It was too close for comfort!

Demonstrators’ chanted intents reverberated in the lobbys of the Central Bank of Syria, located a few blocks away!

Furthermore, it was within a few miles from the lion’s den!

The screws are tightening up, virtually and literally!

Qazzazeen, Baghdad street, Friday of the fall of legitimacy

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June 26th, 2011, 3:40 am


257. Syria: The Revolution and the Economy · Global Voices said:

[…] and frequent guest-blogger at Prof. Joshua Landis' Syria Comment, Ehsani, tried to answer these questions about the future of the Syrian economy: Is bringing down the economy and bankrupting the country a […]

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June 26th, 2011, 3:52 am


258. Mina said:

Vlad and Aboali, cursing each other in Aleppi should prove enough you are Aleppines (but poor Shami, it’s been a week that I wait to see him writing in French; probably only his father is a ‘French-educated Aleppine’), but the positive point is that hopefully we will see the coming debates of the opposition going the same way: calling each other names and then insisting to get a picture and inviting each other for a meal. Not too bad.

Here is a nice post by Sophia about how to pave the road for a civil war, a path some people have been actively seeking since February.
(No way to link it, so I copy it:)
What is described in your last comment is the traditional prelude to a civil war situation. The task of the Syrian army will be to rid the country from chaos and it is well prepared for this since their past presence in Lebanon during the civil war there is a useful training to this kind of circumstances. Suppose we could have had an army in Lebanon in 1976 who would have been able to defeat those who were preparing the terrain for a civil war, we would all have cheered the army. I think the regime has no choice. It must be understood everywhere that the country faces a very grave situation, not peaceful protests on the street. But western countries listen only to what they want to hear. Only three months into the Lybian rebellion we learn that the story publicised by teh rebellion that Ghaddafi hired mercenenaries to kill his own people is false but it wa believed anyway.

Preparing the terrain for a civil war is a classical scheme of those who have a non negociated and non negotiable agenda for their country so they threaten with civil war, and it is exactly what happened in lebanon where Christian militia, from the beginnig, wanted to partition Lebanon and their own piece of it where they could rule unhindered upon a homogenous and docile community terrorised by fear of their own and fear of the enemy. But other Lebanese wouldn’t split the country, so they basically contributed to create a civil war situation and the demise of the state.

We have the same thing here. Syrians who want the fall of the regime are threatening other Syrians, who want gradual reforms, with civil war. You could easily see this in the article ‘The fall of the house of Assad’ by Robin Yassin Kassab. I posted an anlysis of his article previously on this blog.

June 25, 2011 8:07:00 AM GMT+12:00

And an article by a non-enthusiast

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June 26th, 2011, 3:53 am


259. Syrian Commando said:

Mina, her (Petra’s) analysis is just as shallow as any other Orientalist’s…

Syrian army is strong, no way these cavemen can break it. Like I said multiple times, Syria has not played a single card during this entire crisis while the enemy played almost all of their cards.

The two last remaining cards are:

– Turkish assault (imminent)
– Problem in Qamishli with Iraqi traitor aide

The daily/weekly terrorist strikes are ineffective. At this rate, Syria will slowly begin to approach the crime rate of the USA lol. They’re bleeding money on this operation and the fire they’re trying to ignite isn’t working.

If I was the government right now I would tell people to stop their pro-government demonstrations for now. Stop wasting time and work your job while the reforms happen. Don’t fight with the terrorists, let the police/army handle them.

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June 26th, 2011, 4:00 am


260. Revlon said:

Germ: A song dedicated to Jr

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June 26th, 2011, 4:00 am


261. Louai said:

i dont understand why the government allowed the international media into the country again ! a prostitute like Sky News should not be allowed to operate in any country let alone Syria now.
Here is the first report of Sky News from ‘troubled streets of Damascus’
they are clearly not interested of showing what they see and hear ,they want to report what they expected to see or what their masters expecting them to show ,
they dismissed everything they saw and heard to focus on a ‘passer-by statement who said ‘Don’t believe everything they tell you.’ not only that they missed translate what other people are saying .
the all report is as cheap as Sky News is

did any country in the world bearded what Syria is bearing now ?


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June 26th, 2011, 4:02 am


262. vlad-the-syrian said:


“Vlad and Aboali, cursing each other in Aleppi should prove enough you are Aleppines”

Since you adress me : i didn’t curse anybody. I wouldn’t dare utter one of my curses knowing how efficient they are. Only irony.

Besides is this really a proof that i’m aleppine ? as for ABOALI i guess Mina that yon can read arabic so to understand what he writes in arabic

And i still not assuming he is aleppeine unless he gives a serious proof. The smart aleppine businessman exchanging his dollars !

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June 26th, 2011, 4:13 am


263. Mina said:

They have killed Ben Laden, so now they have to re-activate the anti-communist feeling (trying to replace it with some anti-Islam wars has proven too costly).
For the media it is a ready meal, their articles and phrases are ready to use. North Korea. Secret police. Fear of your family members.
With all these young punks in Europe who want both jobs AND free education AND free health, they are faced with a “neo-communist” and “neo-anarchist” insurrection, for sure. (the terms were used on CNN to cover a G8 summit protest once)

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June 26th, 2011, 4:14 am


264. Syria: The Revolution and the Economy :: Elites TV said:

[…] and frequent guest-blogger at Prof. Joshua Landis’ Syria Comment, Ehsani, tried to answer these questions about the future of the Syrian economy: Is bringing down the economy and bankrupting the […]

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June 26th, 2011, 4:15 am


265. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

I love the way the protesters sing their slogans, rather than chanting lines. It’s so melodic and charming. How do they know to answer the call at exactly the same time? it’s like a fine tuned chorus. So nice So musical. Looks like it’s something uniquely Syrian. I didn’t see this kind of singing-chanting elsewhere in the ME. I’m loving it.

PS Yesterday while showering I found my self humming a melody. I tried to remember what was this song. It was something I heard on YouTube from Syria. It goes like this: La la la lalalala- lala- la-la.

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June 26th, 2011, 4:22 am


266. 873 said:

Amir in Tel Aviv,

I’m sure you ARE loving it, and that annihilation of the various Muslim countries is much to your liking- and planning. Music to your ears… You are one sick pup, like your khazar kin. A nation of repulsive sadists with delusions of grandeur.

Wild how strife and fitna is embraced so avidly by the “arab cockroaches” as Nazi swine Menachem Begin used to say, “to kill each other off for the benefit of the zionists”. Israel will be the prime beneficiary of all of this M.E. region-wide bloodletting as it stands aside untouched; while in the chaos the zionist’s enemies kill each other with Israel losing not a single man or one shekel. Amazing that Arabs still havent woken up to this game and refuse to be its pawns. How many proxy wars will it take to wake up?

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June 26th, 2011, 4:39 am


267. Mina said:

Bassam al Qadi speaks his mind against the Sheraton conference.

He says (among other things) that there should be a way to start a dialogue in the population rather than to let fake representatives have discussions in a five star hotel.

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June 26th, 2011, 4:44 am


268. syau said:

Amir in tel aviv,

You’re right, the melodies sound great, I especially like these ones:

8yr tlateh mamaekhtar, Allah, Souria wBashar,
Ya Allah wya Jabbarr, Ta7melna Dr Bashr and
La, la lalfitneh, ne7na ta2fitna Souri.

These among many were sung at a massive demonstration in support of our beloved leader Dr. Bashar Assad, in Sydney, Australia and a simultaneous one in Melbourne Australia today. It was a great day with young and old, Christians and Muslims chanting, singing and dancing together all in support of the great leader, President Bashar Assad.

Allah Souria Bashar wbuss.

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June 26th, 2011, 4:49 am


269. Louai said:

Never been interested in politics before , i have a question for you, is it normal in the history of revolutions that the opposition work to destroy the economy of their own country? did it happen before or that is a unique to the so called Syrian opposition?

The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد
شباب الثورة .. هذا الاسبوع في عنا بعض الافكار الهامه جدا لتنفيذها على ارض
الواقع .. وكلنا لاحظ اعتراف القاتل الاكبر باننا قد نجحنا بشكل كبير بايقاف السيولة
التي يستعملها بتمويل شبيحته ..ولهذا فسنطرح بعض الخطوات لزيادة فعالية هدم
النظام اقتصاديا .. وحرمانه من الموارد التي يستخدمها لقتل وحصار اخوننا .. انتظرونا..

about an hour ago via HootSuite

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June 26th, 2011, 5:06 am


270. Syrian Commando said:


So the fake opposition is annoyed that the real opposition is making progress?

Sheraton is practically empty honey, they probably gave them the conference room for free.


Hopefully one day, we’ll hear you sing while you shower in a pool of your own blood.


Is there a way to contact you privately?

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June 26th, 2011, 5:11 am


271. syau said:


I think the only opposition group that can be accredited with such an amount of stupidity is the so called Syrian opposition.

The bulk of them live abroad, so I dont think they care for the welfare of Syria or that the average Syrian is hurt if the economy is crippled.

The only thing that features in their deranged mind is their end agenda and if attempting to destroy the economy is a tunnel they can crawl through, then they will use it. As we have witnessed, they are without any morals or dignity, their perverse minds will attempt anything, so dont be surprised as to how low they stoop.

Syrian Commando,

I dont see how, without the vultures accessing details.

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June 26th, 2011, 5:19 am


272. Mina said:

Usually when we see something cancelled in Russia, it is because the US makes pression on the US participants not to go. They are probably trying to make deals with the Russians on God knows what and didn’t get exactly what they want (the butter, the butter’s money, and the girl selling the butter).
As for the Sheraton, Bassam is probably right that a popular dialogue must start, because everybody in the country is fed up with the culture of “conferences” that the governement and the academics have been enjoying with no attention for the rural areas, especially in the last few years.
I bet the STL indictment is for Monday or Tuesday and that of course weighs on the organization of any conference. It is part of the war of attrition in which the so-called independent judicial body has been playing an important part.

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June 26th, 2011, 5:22 am


273. Aboud said:

@266 HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH! AAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! “Massive demonstration” ya kezab? Then how come neither The Australian newspaper nor the Sydney Morning Herald has any mention of your so called “massive demonstration”?

It’s so sad to see junior’s sycophants make up demonstrations. The only thing sustaining them is their fantasies.

But the SMH did have something to say about the protests in Syria, calling the ones in Damascus the biggest ones the capital has yet seen;


Ya Bashar Ya Kezab, Tidrab Inta wa Hal Khitab. LOOOOOOL!!!!!

Ya Hafiz, el3an rohak ya Hafiz! *clap clap clap*

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June 26th, 2011, 5:22 am


274. Chris W said:

Large demonstrations in Sydney and Melbourne, but nothing on the websites of The Age, Sydney Morning Herald or The Herald Sun? Not even The Australian?

Why am I not surprised? The media signalled what side they were on long ago.

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June 26th, 2011, 5:23 am


275. syau said:


I see stupidity comes naturally with you. Newspapers are printed in the morning, unless the editors have psychic ability, they would not be able to report an event that was held in the afternoon and have it feautured in the morning paper.

Anyhow, Chris W. is right, the media showed their bias long ago.

By the way, the Syrian revolution is so deep into their fabrications and lies, they think everyone is like them. I’m sure videos will be uploaded on youtube soon, you can look for them yourself because I am not interested in proving anything to a liar affiliated with the revolution.

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June 26th, 2011, 5:32 am


276. Syrian Commando said:

>calling the ones in Damascus the biggest ones the capital has yet seen;

Thanks for demonstrating how much they lie. LOL. Biggest seen yet… just a few days ago the biggest demonstration in Syria’s history was for the government.

Then 50 monkeys from outside Damascus start throwing rocks and shooting people and its the biggest we’ve seen yet. These monkeys are going to be slaughtered if they continue to create problems in Damascus, we won’t stand for them a minute, we will demand a crackdown.


Maybe we can create PGP keys just to know we’re talking to the right person. I’d give you an email address but one of these fake-Syrians might intercept it and pretend to be you.

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June 26th, 2011, 5:44 am


277. Aboud said:

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA! Oh my God, so now Australia is in on the Great-Plot-To-Unseat-The-Eye-Doctor. Are we now going to see Australian supplied weapons and cell phones to “mundaseen” in the north of Syria? Australian “terror bridages” in Dar’a? Baathists, strike Australia before it invades Syria! No wait, pretend that it doesn’t exist just like you did to Europe.

Google “bashar demonstrations sydney” and the only things that come up are video clips from APRIL! What have the Sydney based Bashar-sycophants been doing since then? Oh wait, Google is also in on the plot against junior. AHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAH!

At some point, the clueless Baathists have to ask themselves why the world has such contempt for them.

@274 Trust me, I’d die of shame if anyone ever mistook me for one of you. I’d rather people mistook me for Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, or George Clooney, but not an Iran-boot-licking-sellout who puts pictures of war criminals on his car.

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June 26th, 2011, 5:45 am


278. abbas said:

2 days ago a read a tweet that made me very upset, CNN reporter going to Syria said there is only 6 other people on the plane with her, that is at the height of the tourism season, how many family from Europe and the US cancelled their vacation, how many from the Gulf, how many Saudis went somewhere else, it’s depressing, from the beginning I was calling on all sides to step back from the brink but unfortunately someone outside Syria was fanning the flames of hatred, since Libya trouble started I had conflicting feeling about Sharia forbidding mutiny against the leader with the aspiration of the people for a better system, Ghaddaffi is an Ass-… but you can not deny that every thing he ever said was true, so true and frank that every one called him crazy for saying it, but why be conflicted, how many people lost their livelihood if not their life, how many immigrants had to leave the country, 500,000 Egyptian alone, all for what, replacing one ass… with another?

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June 26th, 2011, 5:46 am


279. Syrian Commando said:


You’re a moron, he said they will be uploaded soon. Search won’t even reveal them once they’re uploaded.

Halab businessman, hahaha, more like fat american with knowledge of arabic and friend-traitors in halab.

Small countries like Australia just follow the EU/US in everything they do, they have no independent policy. They sanctioned Syria the moment the EU announced they were doing so. SMH and others are all owned by a few zionist businessmen.


Almost everyone in Syria knows there’s a conspiracy. I didn’t believe Ghaddafi at first as well, but now I see everything he said was true, it’s very sad.

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June 26th, 2011, 6:01 am



From the treetop
On my last trip to check how are things going in the rathole, I found the following manifesto nailed to a dead tree right next to the snake’s den. It is important that all men7ebbakjeih see it.

I am doing this as a public service and I know, I know, …. it is terribly long.

O Shabiha of Syria, Stand for your rights

Our Values: Abuse, Assault, and Intimidation

Brothers and Sisters
Ours is a noble and old profession. Our modern history can be traced to the earliest unrests in the late 18th century. The world would have been a different place if it wasn’t for us. Who do you think stopped communists from taking over Sicily, Chicago, and Detroit and maintained control over mines and forests in Chile, El-Salvador, and other countries. In some places we are known as Squads, in others as Mafioso. Our values of Abuse, Assault, and Intimidation are as old as humanity.

While our ranks have swelled in Arab countries over the past six months, we continue to face professional challenges. In Egypt, we almost made it after our spectacular Battle of Camels and Mules if it wasn’t for the betrayal of the Egyptian Army. In Libya, we were betrayed by our royal family when they decided to import foreign substitutes. In Bahrain, we were replaced by cheap labor from other countries as well, and in Yemen, our role is fuzzy. And now, in Syria, where demands for our services are increasing by the day, and we have been so far, a primary force holding back larger unrest especially in big cities, we continue to face major labor challenges.

When our employers wanted to turn things sectarian, we were there on the streets and in the alleys making sure that our employer’s prophecy becomes self fulfilled. When the tax payer sponsored private armies of our employer are in transport between the many hot spots, who do you think is holding the fort but us. We are home grown, local and within the community, we know the ground well and we have been constantly working 24/7 and 7th (the seventh is most important) and yet, we continue to be mistreated, our labor rights violated, and our professional services undervalued. The challenges are great and they include lack of recognition, class discrimination, continuing deterioration of occupational conditions. This manifesto serves to highlight each of these challenges and proposes a solution to the problem, so that our profession remains as honorable as it is.

Challenge 1: Lack of Recognition/Acknowledgement
Notwithstanding the psychological need for recognition, and despite of our obvious presence and our services, felt by every Syrian, our employer continues to refuse to acknowledge our existence. In fact, he/they continue to call us different names in their attempt to giving rise to the myth that we are common folks standing in defense of the beloved eternal leader. This is very dangerous strategy, which may lead to some point in time when our employer may resort to calling us volunteers, and with that deny us our wages and salaries.

Denied recognition poses ill effect on both professional pride and future financial well-being. We demand that our employer, in his next speech, recognize our existence and proudly proclaim our services, especially those amongst us in the field.

Challenge 2: Class/Specialty Discrimination
Vocational specialization is important. It guarantees our ability to perform our jobs on various fronts. This is related to another problem, which is the fact that most of us have two jobs (i.e., journalists, drug smugglers, actors, pimps, students, professors, etc…). A recent brain dropping event allowed us to identify the following specializations listed in order of increasing privilege and decreasing effectiveness.

1. Street Shabbiha: Those responsible for preventing and confronting demonstrations. They are allowed the privilege of looting and the pleasure of beating, maiming, and killing. So far, they have been the most reliable in their job performance. Once they hit someone, that entity is out of commission. No one really knows their real compensation level due to the wide range of potential first occupation. This is the best armed group, usually enjoying the ability to carry cattle prods, knives, and occasionally a short barrel shot gun. These are the most professional of our shabiha due to their proficient use of both Abuse and Intimidation, but most likely, the least rewarded.

2. Office/workplace Shabbiha: Those responsible for making sure loyalists rallies have large attendance. Their privileges include opportunity for job promotion (but there is fierce competition). They have also been reliable, but their reliability is decreasing. Their most recent success was far cry from fun parties they have managed in the beginning of the events. However, they are becoming more proficient in arranging rallies to give false sense of larger than reality numbers. There is no guarantee that their promotion will occure, but they can still exercise a sizable amount of abuse and intimidation.

3. Electronic Shabbiha: Syrian Electronic Army and Expat-Shabbiha, mostly hail from rich families, or are now enjoying higher living standards than most Syrians. Due to their physical incompetence, and the threat they pose to trench shabbiha, they are asked to operate in their offices at the expense of their actual employer, at their homes, of at the tax-payers sponsored computer labs in universities. Rich on abuse, they have been far less successful in intimidation, in reality, every single entity they managed to hit, was back up in less than an hour. Unfortunately, they have become the laughing stock on countless forums they have identified as targets for their spam. They are the only group acknowledged by our employer, despite of their lack of demonstrable performance. (See challenge 1)

4. Intellectualism/Art/Literature Shabbiha: Those who write in press , show up on TV, and are fund of two dimensional geometry. They are the most privileged and recognized both financially and emotionally. Effectiveness wise, we believe that they may have been counterproductive. Backlash against their actions and words have been catastrophic and they have also become a laughing stock on a much wider scale despite of the countless opportunities of excited high-fiving they have afforded the other shabbiha.
As you can see, brothers and sisters, class discrimination among our divisions are rampant, and they threat to split our ranks. Decisive actions must be taken to even the ground. We demand that:

1. All shabiha must go through trench service before they are promoted into the rank. It is obvious that little or no linguistic and intellectual skills are required from shabbiha other than street vulgarity, a short training course should allow any shabbih to move between assignments with a prorated privilege based on the time spent in each style of tashbih.

2. Pay-scale must be established with compensations increasing based on demonstrable physical, electronic, or emotional impact. Cracked skull, broken legs, or death should have different prices. Long lasting impacts should also be considered in the pay scale.

Challenge 3: Deterioration of Occupational Conditions
During the early phase of our recent contract, street shabbiha used to be transported on-site using air-conditioned busses and nice four wheel drive, and other fancy cars including the original shabah. We have been hearing stories and seeing videos that on recent days, many of our brothers are being transported in lorries under demeaning conditions. This practice must stop.

Also and most critically, our employer has finally confessed that we are dealing with biohazards. His confession that germs constitute the majority of our subjects has not been shocking, we knew it all along, and it was our reports that finally made him confess. It has been quite a while and we are still to be issued appropriate biohazard suites. We demand that these suits be issued immediately before we can continue working with germs, bacteria, and alike. This is rather similar to our brothers in Libya, who were never issued snares and traps for rats. If you think shooting, stabbing, or electrocuting a rat with cattle prod is easy, try doing so with a germ.

We demand the establishment of our own labor union and the declaration of professionally recognized code of ethics that embodies our values of Abuse, Assault, and Intimidation. Most importantly WE DEMAND RECOGNITION and ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Our demands must and will be met

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June 26th, 2011, 6:08 am


281. Syrian Commando said:

Your demands:

– Hand Lebanon to Israel
– Hand Syria to USA
– Destroy the economy
– Turn Syria into Afghanistan

No your demands won’t be met, but if you keep pushing things, this is what you’ll get instead:

– Global Nuclear Holocaust

Stay in your tree, “hamster” aka “Foxes of Syria” aka “Ramsis” aka “Another fat american who gets paid $20/hr to astroturf for Israel”.

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June 26th, 2011, 6:13 am


282. syau said:

No, Australia is not in on it, but media networks report fake footage like the ABC claiming footage that was taken years ago in Lebanon, was taken in Syria, the SBS by the way aired the same fake footage, until they were embarresed by being caught out and didn’t report anything until recently.

These days, the media report anti regime demonstrations and ignor the demonstrations in support of the president. It’s called one sided reporting, you know, like the US, Aljazeera, Alarabia and so on.

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June 26th, 2011, 6:14 am


283. Aboud said:

@278 “We demand that these suits be issued immediately before we can continue working with germs, bacteria, and alike”

LOOOOOL!!!! Thanks, that’s the funniest single line I’ve read on this blog 🙂

Put a hamster in junior’s place, he couldn’t do any worse.

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June 26th, 2011, 6:15 am


284. 873 said:


“Its failure to pass reflected lawmakers’ qualms about the outcome of the Libyan conflict and frustration with Mr Obama’s assertion that congressional approval was unnecessary because US forces are not involved.”

From the article you linked. Wrong again. US troops ARE involved on the ground in Libya. “Some have already begun coming back in body bags.”– from soldier at Ft Hood, TX who claims to have seen them personally due to the nature of his job.

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June 26th, 2011, 6:18 am


285. Revlon said:

267. Dear Louai, you have misunderstood the Arabic text below, that you quoted earlier.

You said “Never been interested in politics before , i have a question for you, is it normal in the history of revolutions that the opposition work to destroy the economy of their own country? did it happen before or that is a unique to the so called Syrian opposition”

Here is how it reads:
break down the “System” economically!
The system = Regime!

This is different from destroying the ecoonomic system!

The Syrian Revolution 2011 الثورة السورية ضد بشار الاسد
شباب الثورة .. هذا الاسبوع في عنا بعض الافكار الهامه جدا لتنفيذها على ارض
الواقع .. وكلنا لاحظ اعتراف القاتل الاكبر باننا قد نجحنا بشكل كبير بايقاف السيولة
التي يستعملها بتمويل شبيحته ..ولهذا فسنطرح بعض الخطوات لزيادة فعالية هدم
النظام اقتصاديا .. وحرمانه من الموارد التي يستخدمها لقتل وحصار اخوننا .. انتظرونا

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June 26th, 2011, 6:34 am


286. Mohamed Kanj said:


Pro syria and bashar rallies in sydney Australia today on 26/6/11. Maybe your google search is run by Aljazeera or Alarabiya, and thats why the search didnt bring up todays rally in sydney 🙂


Here is a wahhabi, scary looking demonstration in sydney australia on the 24/6/11 against the syrian government. Look how ugly, vicious and scary these 5-8 people look. I can gaurantee you all but one of these 8 protestors is actually syrian. The rest are lebanese from Hizb a Tahrir ( a banned terrorist organisation ).

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June 26th, 2011, 6:40 am


287. syau said:


You and your friends made the UK Sunday times.


Islamists battle Syrian regime
Hala Jaber in Damascus

“A series of attacks by extremists on security forces in Syria has triggered fears that an Islamist insurgency is taking place against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad”

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June 26th, 2011, 6:42 am


288. Louai said:

Dear Revlon.

i didnt get my idea that the so called opposition are trying to destroy the economy(for them break down the system economically ) from this post i got it from their action they are calling people for strikes(i am not against this peaceful way to express) but they are also calling people not to pay their bills and taxes and not to go to work if they work in public sector ,they are asking people to buy dollars etc…

they are trying to show that every lira paid to the government is used to pay shabiha to kill people , how stupid !!its another form of terror that it want work , the Syrian economy is in a hardship anyway and now they are trying to remove food from the Syrian family’s table ,i respect YAZAN and DEMOCRACYNOW who in their posts pointed out this particular issue .

i blame ‘the regime’ of not allowing the national opposition to express and grow, now we end up with an opposition hates Syria more than any enemy !

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June 26th, 2011, 7:07 am


289. syau said:

Mohamad Kanj,

More videos are being uploaded, your probably right on the Aljazeera google seach, lol.


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June 26th, 2011, 7:08 am


290. Aboud said:


AAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Omg, THAT is your “massive” demonstration? Several problems with your video, ya ghabi;

1) Nothing to indicate WHEN it happened. It could have been a demo from a year back.

2) Nothing to indicate WHERE it happened. Nothing to indicate it was in Australia or Qurdaha, Bashar’s home village.

3) 30 people tops, including children. Not a very enthusiastic crowd either, one man’s voice drowns out all the rest.

4) Look at the uncultured idiots stepping all over the flag. Since when was a country’s flag laid on the ground, moron? Everyone who has the manners above that of an ape or shabiha scum knows that you don’t put your country’s flag on the ground and then step on it.

@286 Another amateur heard from. Here is a lesson ya khayen ibn khayen, when the opposition posts a video of a demo, someone is always holding up a sign indicating the date and place of the demo. I can’t believe these imbeciles still don’t know how to do even that. And your videos have all the same problems as Kanj boy up there.

Try harder next time, you amateurs. Hehehehe.

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June 26th, 2011, 7:14 am


291. Mina said:

Sorry but I think Bashar has clearly condemned the shabihas in his speech #3.
He said everyone who commited violent acts should be put to jail. I do believe he is trying to take the chance of reforms against all the local criminals and mafias who have always sabotaged the efforts in this direction.
Just like what Abdallah II said here about his country

The mufti Hassoun in Daraa and the demo by some pro-Baathists on Saadallah Jabri square in Aleppo at the beginning of May are also proofs that Bashar has tried to encourage peaceful demos at the start.

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June 26th, 2011, 7:19 am


292. Syrian Commando said:

“Each country its cost analysis is going to be different. So what we are you seeing in Syria, for example, is different than what’s going on in Jordan. The maps are being rewritten.”

This man is a pure zionist, it just oozes out of everything he says.


Wow, if it was a “Syrian Retard’s revolution 2011” video from march you’ll be posting it every day saying it was happening as we spoke.

Such filth!

Also, god damn those Islamists are ugly. SOOO ugly. They’re going to die alone, but sadly they’ll rape a girl or two before being taken down.

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June 26th, 2011, 7:23 am


293. Aboud said:

Doesn’t everyone find it strange that a supposed sycophant demonstration took place in Sydney, and yet the Internet, newspapers, Twitter, Google and satellite channels make absolutely no mention of it? Even the feeble videos uploaded on Youtube could have been from anywhere, anytime.

You’d think just *one* of those morons would stop screaming junior’s name for a moment to just yell out the date and place.

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June 26th, 2011, 7:26 am


294. syau said:

You put a flag down when people sign it Einstein.

Your eyesight is severely off, anti regime are known for enhancing numbers, not decreasing them. But then again, that would only apply to anti regime demonstrations.
By the way, learn how to read properly, you might then see the dates and location, and also see the Australian flag.

What did you think of the anti regime demonstration Mohamed Kanj linked?

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June 26th, 2011, 7:27 am


295. Aboud said:

@291 “You put a flag down when people sign it Einstein.”

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHHA! Is this Baathist comedy morning? “You put a flag down when people sign it Einstein.”

Seriously, that’s just delicious. No one in that video was signing crap, they were standing on top of the flag while yelling junior’s name through loud speakers. Baathists have the manners and IQ of a monkey.

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June 26th, 2011, 7:33 am


296. Mina said:

Australians have a day off on sunday, as most Western media, so it is no surprise that except for the very big outlets you don’t see any update on a sunday. Plus people are now starting Summer recess. That is, if you have a job and money. And journalists belong to this class which is getting smaller by the day.

The comments on Australia being strangely implied in a conspiracy that it would have nothing to share with simply ignore that it is part of a decaying Anglo-Saxon axis, which we have seen very much alive during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, no matter how many millions Brits were in the streets of London against it. Australia just as Canada is part of the Commonwealth and they don’t see it as a pure anachronism.

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June 26th, 2011, 7:36 am


297. Mohamed kanj said:

Aboud – the demonstration held today I’n Sydney, was just mentioned on channel 10 news and channel 2 and sbs news :-)))) i will upload the news reels for u .I’m very sure Those wahhabi’s from the other video are ur cousins from tripoli Lebanon . By the way, how is harriri? Is he still hiding from his beloved Lebanon??

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June 26th, 2011, 7:46 am


298. syau said:

Please use you brain, that’s considering you have one. If I wanted to waste my time on you, I would link a photo of the signed flag, but wasting time on worthless people like you to make a point is not something I’m interested in.

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June 26th, 2011, 7:47 am


299. Aboud said:

@294 & @295 Wait wait, I thought the Australian media was in a plot against junior? What, now all of a sudden they are impartial?

Pathetic. The Baathists are utterly clueless about how modern day media works. Videos uploaded, and yet not one of those imbeciles thinks to put up a sign on when, where or why.

“If I wanted to waste my time on you, I would link a photo of the signed flag”

In the video, the flag was on the ground. No one was signing it. Hasn’t the table yet been invented in Baath-land? Or maybe putting the flag on a table didn’t occur to this bunch?

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June 26th, 2011, 7:56 am



Sorry but I think Bashar has clearly condemned the shabihas in his speech #3.

And….I am a Soaring Eagle…..

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June 26th, 2011, 7:59 am


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