Syria – a beautiful land of olden traditions and bustling markets is trending news with Syrian forces executing ten people last Friday and two journalists killed, a French reporter wounded in a rocket attack, and at least ten more people killed when a shell hit demonstrators this week. Can Syrian consumerism survive this War and Violence?
Can Blossoming Syrian Consumerism Survive in the War Zone?
Syrians are suffering not only from the bloody war they find themselves in the middle of, they also now are feeling the pinch of the US sanctions, and their only hope is that President Bashar al-Assad will stop his bloody campaign against those who want him to step down.
Since the conflict started in 2011, Syria`s economy has suffered, but, surprisingly, real estate prices have continued to rise, leaving Syrians struggling to afford housing. Syrian banks have stopped lending and the US has put sanctions in place. No U.S. banks are currently operating in Syria, and Visa and MasterCard have ceased doing business in Syria due to the sanctions.
While the World is contemplating on how to help Syrians, the assets of Syria`s central bank are going to be frozen by the European Union, said France`s foreign minister, in an effort to stop the violent crackdown on the uprising again President Bashar al-Assad, which has killed more than 4,000 people, according to United Nations estimates.
“Trade in Syrian public bonds and the provision of insurance and reinsurance to the Syrian government will be prohibited in the EU,” the 27-nation bloc said yesterday in a statement. “Syrian banks will no more be allowed to neither open new branches in the Union nor establish joint ventures or correspondent banking relations with European financial institutions.”
Because of the current dangerous conditions in Syria, the only people traveling there are likely to be journalists covering the story, but Americans who are visiting Syria would do well to bring a small amount of US currency with them, as they will not be able to use credit cards anywhere in the country, and Traveler`s Checks will not be accepted either. For now, they can still exchange their money for Syrian pounds with licensed moneychangers, the Commercial Bank of Syria, the Real Estate Bank, or at private banks inside four or five-star hotels, but not for long: At the Damascus International Airport, getting Syrian pounds is already difficult, and change counters accept US dollars only.
Why Should Americans Care?
WTRG Economics, since 1947, global strife, especially in the Middle East, swung oil prices higher than production shortages, despite of U.S. imposed price controls on domestic production from late 1973 to January 1981:
The typical American may not know why they should be concerned about thesituation in Syria, but problems there reflect back on the US, particularly the economy, affecting everything from banking to oil prices.
In his New Hampshire address this week, President Obama said: “The biggest thing that`s causing the price of oil to rise right now is instability in the Middle East. A lot of folks are nervous about what might happen there, and so they`re anticipating there might be a big disruption in terms of [oil] flow. And when uncertainty increases, speculation on Wall Street can drive up prices even more.”
The conflict in Syria and Middle East take roots in the times of the Nebuchadnezzar. Although there is no ending to hatred in sight, as it was carried through generations into the modern day of Globalized Economy, it is especially easy to feel the pain of old rivalries spilling blood and oil 5,700 miles away.