Home Page - Gulf in the Media
HomePoliticsEconomy                               Set Gulfinthemedia.com as home page
Opinions
"Postings of opinions published in the Gulf and international newspapers
 Print  Send This Page
Save Listen to this Article
An economic bloodbath will test Assad's staying power   

The National - 28 February, 2012
Author: Faisal al Yafai

The bodies keep piling up, and Bashar Al Assad endures. The video and photographs coming out of Syria are heart-breaking: even during a referendum on constitutional reform, images of the dead in Baba Amr continue to emerge. Men, women and children are shot to death and blown apart by shells. Homs is being bled dry, one body at a time, while the world watches.

The winds of the Arab Spring have shaken the throne of President Al Assad, but have yet to topple him. Saudi Arabia now speaks openly of arming the opposition; the United States has not ruled out the possibility.

The days of Mr Al Assad's rule are ending, but may yet be measured in months or years. He has lost his legitimacy in the eyes of many to lead the country but remains in charge of the army.

Yet an armed confrontation may not be the only way for Mr Al Assad to leave: the regime could yet implode. This could come in one of two ways, an internal coup (almost certainly by Alawite officers) or economic pressure leading to widespread protests.

The second remains more likely, if only because Mr Al Assad's father, Hafez, who came to power in a coup, spent his entire time at the helm attempting to "coup-proof" his regime. The fate of Bashar Al Assad could yet be decided by economics, not intervention.

Economics has played a significant, if little understood, role in the Arab Spring. In Syria in particular, as the instability has dragged on, the economy has been ravaged.

The first problem is household spending. In times of uncertainty, people immediately stop spending money on luxuries and start hoarding cash, bringing a huge fall in income for businesses. At the same time, the loss of any semblance of normality in daily life means that fewer people go to work, there is less economic activity, and consequently less tax revenue for the government.

Those who can are getting their money out. Capital flight out of Syria is at critical levels, as The National reported on Sunday, with an estimated 100 billion Syrian pounds (nearly US$ 2 billion) leaving the banking system since the start of the uprisings last year.

Worse, the regime has no way to replenish that liquidity. International credit is closed to it, while its few friends - Russia, say, or Iran - are unlikely to be willing to extend sufficient credit to the regime.

The economy is creaking, bringing severe hardship to many millions. The longer the uprising continues, the harder it will be to rebuild the economy; suppliers will have been replaced, tourists will continue to stay away and the underlying capability of the economy will be diminished.

Yet while Syria's economy is faltering, it is not collapsing. As corrupt and as stagnant as it is, as dangerous as these times are, Mr Al Assad could still hold on. It is not the economy per se that is his Achilles' heel, but the lack of any opposition who could manage it better.

The economy is key to the continued survival of the Al Assad clan. Since Bashar Al Assad took power in 2000, his gradual liberalisation of the economy has significantly enriched a business elite, many of whom fear what might come after. Even before he took over, during the long rule of his father, the merchant class centred in Damascus and Aleppo, the two main cities, looked to the regime to ensure stability, in return for political quiescence.
 
Cameron's Syria problem seeks Turkish answers
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2014-12-13
Author : Ceylan Ozbudak
When British Prime Minister David Cameron was in Turkey this week he was right to argue that the threat of ISIS must be confronted together. His Turkish counterpart, Prime Minister...
You, too, can command an Iraqi Army division for $2m
Source : The Peninsula  
Date : 2014-12-13
Author : Peter Van Buren
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi recently revealed that there are 50,000 "ghost soldiers" who haunt the payrolls of the Iraqi Army. Many see the phenomenon as a factor in the...
Social media and its credibility challenges
Source : Khaleej Times  
Date : 2014-12-13
Author : Najla Al Rostamani
Social media went on a rampage when it started spewing information that went viral following the recent killing of an American teacher at a restroom in an Abu Dhabi mall....
Oil and Politics
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2014-12-13
Author : Mshari Al-Zaydi
In April 2014, when the Russian President Vladimir Putin was at the peak of his tsarist splendor after his invasion and subsequent annexation of Crimea, he spoke about his ability...
Is Iran getting a free pass on Iraq and Syria?
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2014-12-12
Author : Majid Rafizadeh
As the leaders of the P5+1 states (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States), and Iranian politicians continue to negotiate with respect to the nuclear program,...
A Strange Budget for a Strange System
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2014-12-12
Author : Amir Taheri
What do you do when your ambitions are bigger than the resources you have to pursue them? The Tehran leadership must have asked itself this question when drafting the national...
The Illusion of American Naivety
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2014-12-12
Author : Eyad Abu Shakra
In my youth I sometimes heard and read somewhat racist jokes, and watched movies and TV series that created and underlined certain stereotypes about the peoples of the world, all...
Speaking a foreign language is not a sign of erudition
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2014-12-12
Author : Saleh Bin Sabaan
There's a lot of talk in Saudi society about the need to be able to speak other languages apart from Arabic. One aspect of this discussion centers on teaching foreign...
Why Does The Niqab Scare The Public?
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2014-12-12
Author : Muna Al-Fuzai
There are many people who don't feel comfortable being around ladies who wear niqabs. They don't feel safe to communicate with anyone whose faces they can't see and are covered...
The office is for work, not for chatting
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2014-12-12
Author : Saleh Al-Rasheed
Women have to struggle a lot to secure their right to work in Arab society, in general, and in Saudi society, in particular. Many women are confident they can, like...
The garbage dumpster problem: A new solution
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2014-12-12
Author : Salman Muhammad Al-Bihairi
The municipality places garbage dumpsters close to our homes so that we can deposit our rubbish in them. However, we often find the dumpsters in the middle of the street...
Abandoned and waiting
Source : Gulf Today  
Date : 2014-12-12
Author : Michael Jansen
While war rages in Syria, its civilian victims face danger, deprivation and long-term homelessness, but the international community has failed to halt the violence, deliver life-saving financial aid, and provide...
Total 200 Results in 14 Pages
  5 
For more news, views and reports about this topic, please subscribe
to GRC website: www.grc.net
Fri Dec 19, 2014| 26-صفر-1436هـ
Kuwait accepts reparations request
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources speaks on world oil market
Yemen's parliament approves new Cabinet
Dubai stocks stage dramatic rebound
Qatari leaders attend National Day parade
Oil decline may hit GCC fiscal balance, growth: StanChart
Iraqi Pres. calls for intensive efforts to counter terrorism
KAC receives first Airbus A-320 plane
King Abdullah denounces Peshawar attack
Saudi Rail 2015 to showcase latest technologies, services
Resumed nuclear talks useful: Iran
Tower rents to face pressure on new supply
Unicef says needs $ 900 million to help Syria children
Investments up to $ 45bn seen in tourism-related projects in Qatar up to '30
Kuwait to host 18th meeting of GCC environment ministers on Dec. 25
Bahrain may start importing Russian gas from 2017
    Newspaper Editorials
Right approach by Palestinians
Improving Kingdom’s education system
More>>  
    Opinions
The Reality of the de Mistura Plan for Syria
South Yemen and the question of secession
More>>  
    GCC Press Agencies
Day's main stories from the GCC Press Agencies
    Reports
The US Shale Revolution and the Arab Gulf States
More>>  
    Bank Reports
GCC Markets Performance – May 2014
Saudi Arabia: Baseline Macroeconomic Forecast 2014-16
More>>  
    GRC Analysis
Saudi Arabia and the ASEAN Periphery: Cambodia, Myanmar, and Brunei
NATO and the Future of Gulf Security.
Saudi-Vietnam Relations
    GRC Commentary
Price of not heeding Kingdom's advice
On Relations between Rulers and Citizens: The Need for a New Social/Political Contract in the GCC States
Key Issue Facing the Saudi Ruling House.
    GRC Book Review
Beyond Regionalism? Regional Cooperation, Regionalism and Regionalization in the Middle East
India, GCC and the Global Energy Regime: Exploring Interdependence and Outlook for Collaboration.
    GRC Press Release
Gulf Research Center press releases to the media
    GRC Publications
Ethnography, Anthropology and Migration to the Arabian Peninsula: Themes from an Ethnographic Research Trajectory
Can the EU Still Inspire Integration in the Gulf?
Security Dynamics of East Asia in the Gulf Region
    GRC Newsletters/Bulletins

Enter your email to get the Newsletter
Go
      
Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Terms & Conditions | About Us |
Weather | Qibla Directions | Hijri Date Conversion Tool
Full Page :total time:6  |   26-- 32 Middle Page :0  --   | Right : 31 - 31--en--sess-enreq-en-coming