JOSHUA LANDIS BLOG : The Khatib Controversy – How Liberal is He? More Countries Recognize National Coalition

Friday, November 16th, 2012 – Washington (AP) — Obama says US not ready to recognize new Syrian opposition group as ‘government in exile’. France, Turkey, and Gulf States recognize the National Coalition.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is urging the Syrian opposition to unite as France pushes for arming the opposition. Lavrov met with Arab foreign ministers on Wednesday in Saudi Arabia stressing the unification of Syrian opposition groups and calling for the establishment of a team to negotiate with President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Syrian opposition groups formed an umbrella coalition on Sunday in what Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Muqdad criticized as a “declaration of war.”

France said it will discuss arms supplies to the Syrian opposition with its European partners. While French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he was wary of injecting more weapons into the war torn country, the government is looking for a relaxation of a European Union arms embargo which has made it difficult for “defensive arms” to reach opposition fighters.

•          Turkey recognized the Syrian opposition’s new coalition as “the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.”

•          Protests against King Abdullah II and rising gas prices continued in Jordan for a third night.

•          The Pentagon estimated that it would need 75,000 troops to seize Syria’s chemical weapons.

Syria economy: Quick View – Inflation rises to almost 40% in August

2012-11-14,  Nov. 13 (Economist Intelligence Unit)

Statistics has issued data for the consumer price index in August, showing that year-on-year inflation has risen to 39.5%.


The rise follows a stabilisation in price growth at 36.1% in June and July, mainly owing to seasonal factors. The average inflation rate for the first eight months of the year is about 30%, according to the official data.

There are significant regional variations, with Aleppo, which first became affected by large-scale violence during the summer of 2012, showing a year-on-year inflation rate of 48.8%, compared with 34.7% in Damascus. The overall August inflation rate corresponds closely with the rise in prices for food and beverages, which has a 42% weighting in the index. The overall food and beverages index rose by 39.5% year on year, and the index in Aleppo climbed by 47%. Prices of bread and flour showed a 70% year-on-year increase in Aleppo, compared with 41% for the country as a whole.

The highest rate of increase in the index is for housing, utilities and fuel, which have a total weighting of 22%. Overall, this sub-index rose by 55% year on year, while in Aleppo it rose by 64%. Prices for fuel in Aleppo rose by 120% year on year. The intensification of the military conflict since August, particularly in Aleppo, is likely to have resulted in further sharp increases in prices. The onset of winter, which will push up demand for scarce fuel, will also be a driver of higher inflation. An additional factor has been the recent fall in the value of the Syrian pound on the black market. After stabilising at around S£70:US$1 between April and October, the rate has slipped in November and is currently quoted at close to S£80:US$1.