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.
 
It's deje vu all over again
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-05-20
Author : Abdulrahman al-Rashed
The capital of Iraq's Al-Anbar province, Ramadi, has fallen to the terrorist organization Islamic State (IS), almost a year after the fall of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province. What...
On the brink
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-05-20
Author : Osama Al Sharif
This week's surprise capture of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar governorate, by Islamic State (IS) militants represents another blow to Prime Minister Haider Al- Abadi's efforts to win the trust...
Striking at the roots
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-05-20
Author : Mshari Al-Zaydi
On Friday, the New York Federal Court sentenced Khalid Al-Fawwaz, a suspect in the deadly 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, to life in prison. It took...
New phase beckons in GCC-US relations
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2015-05-20
Author : Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi
The many analytical reports after the Camp David Summit focused on the Iranian nuclear deal and its impact on relations between the Gulf Cooperation Council and America. This is because...
Total 200 Results in 14 Pages
  5 
For more news, views and reports about this topic, please subscribe
to GRC website: www.grc.net
Wed May 27, 2015| 08-شعبان-1436هـ
IS denounced for shedding Muslim blood
DP World shares insights with Kuwait delegation
Fierce fighting rages in Yemen
Anti-money laundering drive: Bankers join key Riyadh talks
Emulative space sector UAE priority: VP
Saudi Arabia real estate sector to gain further from economic stability
US-Turkey 'deal' on air support to Syrian rebels
Revenue hits RO 2.4 billion in Oman
Hadi's demands in Yemen
Qatar trade surplus falls 50pc in first quarter
Daesh faces battle in Iraq, bombs in Syria
UAE Central Bank reviews report on financial stability
Iraq, Iran push back on US defence chief over Ramadi loss
Saudi Shoura lauds people for maintaining unity
Joint Arab force protocol drafted
Bahrain forces arrest wanted 'terrorist,' seize explosives - MoI
    Newspaper Editorials
Pursuing peace
IS victory
More>>  
    Opinions
Geneva Yemen conference: Talk for talk's sake is a waste of time
Fighting hate speech
More>>  
    GCC Press Agencies
Day's main stories from the GCC Press Agencies
    Reports
The Arab-U.S. Strategic Partnership and the Changing Security Balance in the Gulf
More>>  
    Bank Reports
Saudi Arabia Banking Sector
GCC Equity Monitor - Global
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
Demography, Migration, and the Labour Market in Bahrain
Islamic Finance: A three-volumes series.
United Arab Emirates’ Legal Framework of Migration
    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:0  |   11-- 11 Middle Page :0  --   | Right : 11 - 11--en--sess-enreq-en-coming