Saturday, July 17, 2004

The Iraqi PM Allawi is hoping in particular for a new relationship with Syria, reports Al-Hayat. He will be visiting Damascus as part of his tour of neighboring states next week. In the many recent article about Iraqis getting passports to travel, most of those interviewed say they want to go to Syria as their first destination. And why not? It is cheap, fun and beautiful. It has the best restaurants of the region - save Lebanon.  Most of all though, it is right there and affordable.
 
The IMF is predicting that Syria's GDP will grow only 4% next year - healthy by Western standards but anemic by Developing nation standards. Syria may just get a boost out of the Iraq war. Growth was depressed last year at roughly 3% because of multiple blows dealt by the war. But now things are picking up - and they may pick up with a vengeance.
 
Not only are Iraqis beginning to come into Syria in ever greater numbers as they get new passports, but tourism is up by 60% overall.

In the post-septa. 11, 2001, world, Middle Eastern tourism markets have undergone an important shift in customer profile, with intra-regional tourism a clear winner.
Syria recorded a 60 percent jump in tourist numbers in the first six months of 2004, year-on-year. Almost 1.2 million tourists traveled to Syria during the period, up from 725,000 visitors in the first half of last year.

The country-of-origin breakdown of these figures was also telling. While the number of Western tourists rose to 141,000 from last year's 85,000, Sana said, visitor numbers from neighboring Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey had also increased sharply. This has many implications for the country's tourism sector, and for its transport infrastructure.


Speaking of Turkey - a real love-fest is getting underway that could have a real impact on the economy. The Turkish Foreign Trade Minister Kursad Tuzmen said on Wednesday that the troubles between Turkey and Syria regarding the border have been overcome and that the border area would become a model for the Middle East - "a valley of stability."

The political and commercial relations between Turkey and Syria improved dramatically once Damascus cut off support to the PIKE (Kurdistan Workers Party) terrorist organization's militias and leader Abdullah Ocalan in 1999. The two countries' reciprocal trading volume reached U$821 million in 2003, up 52 percent from 1999.
 
The trading volume is expected to be U$1 billion this year and U$2 billion next year.
"The free-trade agreement will help us reach next years' goal of U$2 billion," said tsunami. Preparations for a foreign commerce agreement are underway. tsunami pointed out that apart from this agreement they would also collaborate on border trade and the agricultural and transportation sectors.

Otri emphasized that even if every Syrian citizen has not visited Turkey, they feel themselves to be close to Turkey. "We often say brother when referring to Turkey in our discourse. This is the very feeling every citizen of Syria bears inside." (This is first class mujammila. Rarely does one encounter such brotherly spirit in Syrians. Most still curse the Turks for colonialism and stealing Alexandretta. The real test was during the last World Soccer tournament when almost no Syrians were rooting for the (brotherly Muslim) Turkish team, which did very well. All preferred Italy, Brazil, even France and Germany over Turkey. But good trade builds good friends. And Bashar gave up Alexandretta without a peep - more evidence that he is not a real Baathist.

Otri indicated that there must be a reciprocal relationship in commerce and called upon Turkish businessmen to invest in Syria. Otri responded to Turkish businessmen's criticism that Syria is making it hard for Turkish exports to enter the country. "Over the course of time Syria will allow all kinds of goods to enter the country," Otri said; however, would not give a specific date as to when this might happen. (Although 2 billion is probably an overly ambitious figure, trade should pick up smartly.)
 
All the same, many little reforms demonstrate that the two countries are quite serious about changing laws to ease trade. Syria will reduce its territorial waters from 35 to 12 miles while Turkey will open four new air corridors between itself and Syria.  The sources said that two countries aimed to make use of their maritime potential.  In order to allow Turkish and Syrian businessmen and truck drivers to get visas more easily new, consular offices are being opened in Aleppo and Gaziantep. 

Otri also toured the Turkish Stock Market and said he wanted Turkey's help to establish a stock exchange market in Damascus. Syrians just want to make money - and God bless them.
 
Other good news for the the less fortunate is that Syrians jailed or charged on minor crimes will be exonerated under an amnesty issued yesterday apparently to mark the fourth anniversary of President Bashar Al Assad's ascendancy to power, Syria's official news agency reported. The amnesty offer covers offenses like theft, forgery, military desertion and other white-collar crimes. No details were provided on how many people could be cleared under the amnesty, but the number is expected to reach thousands.  The amnesty will not include political prisoners. Syria is doing the China thing. Yes, to capitalism. No to democracy.
 
There can be no greater indication of the failure of economic reforms in Syria than the following bad economic news . Syria received a paltry USD 41.7 million in Arab direct investment in 2003, or 1.12% of all inter-Arab investments, according to the latest annual report of the Inter-Arab Investment Guarantee Corporation (IAIGC). Since 1995, total Arab investments into Syria totaled USD 1.541 billion. Those Turkish businessmen were not joking when they complained to Otri of silly Syria laws.
 
The number of 41.7 million dollars can be compared to the 850 million dollars of direct Arab investments in Lebanon, (about 20 times the Syrian amount!) which makes the land of cedars and zaatar the greatest recipient of private investment in the Arab World.  Go Lebanon. 
 
In a thoughtful piece in al-Ahram on foreign terrorists in Iraq and cross-border smuggling, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Jordan are credited with being the main sources of fighters and money for the Iraqi resistance. Syria comes in a distant last. Last Friday, Jim Krane of the Associated Press quoted unnamed U.S. military officers saying that Iraq's insurgency is led by well-armed Sunnis angry about losing power, not by foreign fighters. They number up to 20,000, not 5,000 as Washington briefers maintain, Krane added in his well-reported but generally overlooked dispatch.  

4 Comments:

At 7/18/2004 12:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are my less sunny ideas about Otri's trip to Turkey: http://turknews.blogspot.com/2004/07/middle-east_18.html

 
At 7/18/2004 01:25:00 AM, Blogger Tom said...

Or rather here: http://turknews.blogspot.com/2004/07/middle-east_109012864539781591.html

 
At 6/01/2005 01:07:00 PM, Blogger Inheriting Syria said...

Memorial Day, Monday May 30, 2005

To: Syria Web Blogers and To Whom It May Concern:

Subject: Media is too Gutless and Corrupt to stop the “brainwashing”

I’m a 1968 Vietnam War Veteran. As a gift to myself because it is Memorial Day, I’m writing this letter in hopes to help stop the war from spreading to Syria and or Iran.

The war with Iraq was started so America could steal the oil from Iraq.
In order to trick the American people into thinking we went to war for an honorable reason the government used two lies.
1. Iraq was part of the evil of terror that caused the September 11, 2001 attack.
2. Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and was planning to use them against America.

The current propaganda is that America’s military is stupid because they didn’t have enough soldiers to fight the war and had no exit plan to end the war.

Those who “are behind the scene and control America’s military” are NOT stupid. The military/government is controlled by some of the smartest minds in the world. Those “behind the scene mind,s” get together in “Think Tanks” and are “continuously” planning for power and money making opportunities.

Common Sense Example:
If the Iraq war would have been over in 6 months and America would have exited Iraq shortly there after, the power and money-making minds could no longer steal Iraq’s oil.

I make the above statements about the “Think Tanks” based on 2 non-fiction books.

1. “A Beautiful Mind” by Sylvia Nasar, See Index page 447. Read all subheading pages listed under “games:” and you will understand that American soldiers are being killed in Iraq NOT because America’s military controllers are stupid.

2. “Public Intellectuals” by current U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals Judge, Richard A. Posner. Pages 34, 35, and I’m paraphrasing. Think Tanks hire specialists and encourage specialization towards legislators, officials, lobbyists and other members of the political establishment. Page 364, verbatim. Recently a number of Reagan and Bush judicial appointees have been criticized for accepting invitations to seminars sponsored by conservative think tanks; it has even been argued that some of their votes in cases have been swayed by the conservative “brainwashing” they received there.

Sincerely,
Carl G. Mueller, Nam 68




PS.
C-Span’s Q & A, televised May 29, 2005.
http://www.q-and-a.org/Transcript/?ProgramID=1025
The New York Times self publicized conscience, Op-Ed columnist Bob Herbert and author Brian Lamb, gave an excellent example of the brainwashed media being to gutless to say anything more direct then; “We went to war for oil.”

Those who “are behind the scene and control America’s military” do NOT give a dam about human lives, so why should anyone believe New York Times Op-Ed columnist Bob Herbert when he says writing letters, passing out flyers, getting signatures on petitions and voting in some newer politicians could make a change for the better? American lawmakers and those behind the scene need bigger personalized eye openers then Herbert suggests before their will be any major changes towards America’s military and the behind the scene involvements in Middle Eastern oil money. I make those statements about the gutless media and those behind the scene not giving a dam about human lives based on 2 non-fiction books.

Gutless Media:

1. “Breach Of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders” by current U.S. Senator of Oklahoma, Tom A. Coburn, M.D. Page 163, verbatim. “The fact is, the press decided that the best story was not about the manipulations of congress but the gossip of the dirty details of Republican infighting. This shows the failure of the modern-day media to serve their intended purpose.”

Do NOT give a dam about human lives:

2. “Inheriting Syria” by Flynt Leverett who is a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institutional Think Tank. Mr. Leverett was or still is a Middle Easter analyst for the CIA. Page 137, verbatim. “Anxiety within the regime was surely increased by Secretary Rumsfeld’s statements in March suggesting that Syria might be the next target for a U.S.-led campaign of coercive regime change.” (Sentence has strong supporting footnotes)

http://inheritingsyria.blogspot.com/2005/05/media-brainwashing.html

 
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