Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Syria: The Natives are getting restless?

Holy Jimmy Carter. Syrian gas lines?
I don't know. Things don't sound so peachy-keen over there in the kingdom of the Supreme Royal Chinless Optometrist.

Oil prices rise, could provoke unrest.

DAMASCUS, 25 September 2007 (IRIN) - Over 40 years of subsidising fuel and other vital commodities have benefited the rich more than the poor, encouraged smuggling and cost the state more than it can afford, say Syrian government officials.

Syria’s socialist Baath Party government, with its centrally planned economy, has subsidised commodities such as bread, rice and sugar, as well as electricity and fuel by up to 40 percent since it came to power in 1963.

However, increasing domestic consumption by a rapidly growing population, further swelled by the influx of around 1.5 million refugees from Iraq, is now putting unbearable pressure on state coffers.

Paging John Edwards - there are two Syrias!

Subsidies permit low income families to afford basic necessities, but they are indiscriminate, benefiting the rich, who consume more, more than the poor. “The best-off Syrian households benefited 59 times more from government subsidies than the poorest families,” said Abdullah Dardari, deputy prime minister for economic affairs.

Oh, it's sweet. Read it and weep.