Syria Today: Regime Assures “Economy is Strong & Balanced”

By Scott Lucas / EA – 27.6.2013 – Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi has declared that the economy is “strong and balanced” for the third time in just over a week, with the Government adapting to the demands of the Syrian conflict. Al-Halqi’s latest declaration was made to the People’s Assembly on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister spoke in particular about last week’s fall in the Syrian pound — more than 25% in one day — with the claim that it @has become the target of unprecedented media and financial attacks by some Arab capitals which are attempting to make citizens and businessmen abandon it”. He said that the Government had “bolstered citizens’ confidence” with steps to “clarify the nature of this media and economic war which is accompanied by spreading rumors.

Al-Halqi also issued ritual denunciations of “armed terrorist groups” and praise of the Army and security forces in “restoring security across Syria”. He claimed attacks by insurgents on a gas pipeline, flour mills, and medical factories.

State news agency SANA’s presentation of the discussion was not as positive about the reaction of MPs, however. They “pointed out that the government must exert more efforts to ease the living crisis of the steadfast people of Syria”, pointing to the need to compensate farmers for crops destroyed in the conflict and to secure main roads.

US Tries to Regain Control of Arms to Insurgents


Another twist in the battle within the Obama Administration over the arming of Syrian insurgents….

More than two weeks after the Administration said it would begin overt supplies — but then balked at the provision of heavy weaponry — “diplomats and U.S. officials briefed on the plans” have told The Wall Street Journatl that “the Central Intelligence Agency has begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month”.The diplomats said the shipments, training, and arms deliveries from European and Arab countires are being timed for an insurgent offensive by early August.

Opposition commanders and fighters, particularly in the south and the Damascus suburbs, have complained about the American failure to deliver weapons and warned that this could lead to regime victories throughout the area.

The leak appears designed to sway the debate within the Administration, as well as to give a signal to insurgents and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis have been providing weaponry, including anti-tank missiles, across the Turkish border. On Tuesday, in a public challenge to visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal signaled that Riyadh would expand the effort, irrespective of American concerns.

The Journal’s sources said that the CIA is expected to spend up to three weeks bringing light arms — and possibly anti-tank missiles — to Jordan. The agency plans to spend roughly two more weeks vetting an initial group of fighters and making sure they know how to use the weapons that they are given. Apparently trying to control the efforts of foreign allies, the officials and diplomats said Saudi Arabia is expected to provide shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles, known as Manpads, to handpicked fighters — but only about 20 in the first effort. The sources said

talks are under way with other countries, including France, about pre-positioning European-procured weapons in Jordan.

The officials had a further message for the Saudis: “the U.S. would monitor this effort, too, to try to reduce the risk that the Manpads could fall into the hands of Islamists”. The sources said they “believe it would take four to five months before there are enough rearmed and trained moderate fighters to make a meaningful difference against Mr. Assad’s forces and their Hezbollah allies”.


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