Category Archives: Syria
Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest.
Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov
No official confirmation or denial of the report was immediately available. The report quotes the source as saying Russia had supplied to Syria Yakhont supersonic anti-ship cruise missiles, as part of Bastion mobile coastal missile systems.
The report does not say when the deliveries took place or how many missiles have been delivered, but says the contract was worth around $300 million.
It says Russia believes the weapons will allow Syria to protect its entire coast from a potential seaborne attack.
The report quotes Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov as saying in February that Moscow intended to fulfill the contract, despite opposition to the deal from Israel and its ally the United States.
The United Nations says that more than 4,000 people have been killed since protests against Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad erupted in mid-March, and that the conflict has now evolved into a “civil war.”
Russia, a traditional ally of the Syrian regime, has helped block moves for UN sanctions targeting Syria over the bloodshed.
compiled from agency reports
By Peter Apps
(Reuters) – The uprisings that swept the Middle East this year have cost the most affected countries more than $55 billion, a new report says, but the resulting high oil prices have strengthened other producing countries.
A statistical analysis of International Monetary Fund (IMF) data by political risk consultancy Geopolicity showed that countries that had seen the bloodiest confrontations — Libya and Syria — were bearing the economic brunt, followed by Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain and Yemen.
Between them, those states saw $20.6 billion wiped off their gross domestic product and public finances eroded by another $35.3 billion as revenues slumped and costs rose.
But as the major oil producers such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait avoided significant unrest — often through increasing handouts as oil prices rose — they saw their GDP grow. Oil prices rocketed from around $90 a barrel of Brent crude at the start of the year to just short of $130 in May before retreating to around $113 now.
“As a result, the overall impact of the ‘Arab Spring’ across the Arab realm has been mixed but positive in aggregate terms,” the report estimated, saying overall the year to September saw some $38.9 billion added to regional productivity.
Libya looks to have been the worst affected, with economic activity across the country — including oil exports — halted at an estimated cost to GDP of $7.7 billion, or more than 28 percent. Total costs to the fiscal balance were estimated at $6.5 billion, roughly 29 percent of gross domestic product.
In Egypt, nine months of turmoil eroded some 4.2 percent of gross domestic product with public expenditure rising to $5.5 billion just as public revenues fell by $75 million.
HANDOUTS NOT REFORM?
In Syria, where protests have continued throughout the year in the face of a bloody crackdown, the impact is hard to model but early indications suggested a total cost to the Syrian economy of some $6 billion or 4.5 percent of GDP.
The report said the number of Yemenis below the poverty line was expected to be pushed above 15 percent as a result of currency falls and protracted unrest. Total cost to the economy was estimated at 6.3 percent of GDP, with the fiscal balance deteriorating by $858 million, 44.9 percent of GDP.
Tunisia, where the protests began in late 2010, lost some $2.0 billion from its GDP, roughly 5.2 percent, with negative impacts across almost all sectors of the economy including tourism, mining, phosphates and fishing. Tunisia’s government increased expenditure by some $746 million, pushing its fiscal balance some $489 million into the red.
Saudi Arabia’s newly instituted handouts and wider public investment program, the report estimated, amounted to some $30 billion — perhaps seen by the kingdom’s rulers as a way of avoiding real reform. But increased oil prices and production helped boost gross domestic product by more than $5 billion and push up public revenues by $60.9 billion.
In Bahrain, oil helped cushion the impact of weeks of protest, with the fall in GDP relatively low at some at 2.77 percent. Public expenditure rose some $2.1 billion, partly because of cash transfers of $2,660 to each family.
None of these steps, the report argued, addressed the underlying causes behind the unrest. A better solution, it said, was much broader international support through the G20 or United Nations aimed at much wider reform.
- Arab Spring upheaval ‘cost $55bn’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Foreign direct investment for Arab region expected to fall; Iraq projected to double (thecurrencynewshound.com)
Posted on Sunday, April 24, 2011by Elliott AbramsOn Friday, the Syrian regime killed another hundred peaceful protesters, and then fired at people attending their funerals on Saturday, killing yet another dozen.
What has been the Obama Administration’s response? To toughen up its rhetoric a bit, but to do nothing.
On Friday, after an especially weak performance by the President’s press spokesman (who contrasted the terrible situation in Libya with what he apparently thought was a far better one in Syria), the White House issued a new statement from the President.
“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the use of force by the Syrian government against demonstrators,” the statement said. And, “We strongly oppose the Syrian government’s treatment of its citizens,” it concluded. What’s wrong with that?
First, where is the President? This statement carefully avoided using the word “I” and was handed out by the White House. The President’s appearance on camera, delivering such words personally so that they can be carried into Syria on al Jazeera and YouTube, would be much more effective. With hundreds now dead in the streets of Syria, it is past time for him to speak.
Second, the Friday statement continues to appeal to Assad: “We call on President Assad to change course now, and heed the calls of his own people.” That might have been acceptable 300 deaths ago, but it is now absurd. The President called on Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, a long-time American ally, to leave; why the reticence about Assad, a long-time American enemy?
Third, the White House statement is just words. It does not promise, suggest, or announce any actions. This Administration has spent two years engaging with the Assad regime and loosening U.S. sanctions on it. “The World Trade Organization’s 153 members granted Syria observer status after the U.S. dropped its opposition in a sign the Obama administration is softening its stance toward the Middle Eastern nation,” Bloomberg reported a year ago, noting also that “President Barack Obama’s administration has already loosened export-license curbs on aircraft repairs for state-owned Syrian Arab Airways.” So this Administration, having followed a foolish policy of engagement with this barbaric regime, has a special obligation to correct its course. The first action should be recalling our ambassador to Syria, who should never have been given his recess appointment to the post last year. Second, the United States should be calling immediately for special meetings of the UN Security Council and Human Rights Council, to bring additional focus on the murders of peaceful protesters in Syria and seek sanctions against the regime, in the hope that this attention will constrain its bloody hand.
As in Tunisia, as in Egypt, as in Libya and Bahrain, the President has been slow to react. This is inexcusable in the face of the mounting death toll—and the very real gains for the United States if the vicious Assad regime falls.
Sun, Apr 24, 2011, 03:18 AM by Tom McGregor
President Barack Obama is threatening another war against a Middle East country. He is demanding Syria allow for so-called democratic protests, or face the consequences. Nevertheless, the Syrian government does not wholeheartedly agree with the Obama Doctrine, otherwise known as George Soros’s foreign policy concept of Right to Protect, and is rebuking Obama for interfering in its own internal affairs.
According to Fox News, “a Syrian official fired back at President Barack Obama’s condemnation of the latest use of force by the government against demonstrators as two parliamentarians resigned in protest over the violent crackdown.”
A government official from Syria expressed regret over Obama’s criticism, arguing that it was not “based on an objective and comprehensive view of what is truly happening.”
As reported by Fox News, “Obama on Friday said the regime’s ‘outrageous’ use of violence against the protestors must ‘end now.’ Syrian security forces killed at least nine people when they opened fire on thousands at funeral processions Saturday.”
To read the entire article from Fox News, link here: