The Arab Spring of 2011, as we all know, is still with us as there is some blatant unfinished business. Some may take the opportunity here to bring up Bahrain, or even Jordan or Morocco, but I’m referring instead to the country now catching the vast majority of the world’s attention. That was supercharged yesterday with the reported deaths there of an American and a French journalist, so I mean Syria, of course, where anti-government agitation has now been going on at least since last March, and where the government apparently is now carrying out its ambition to blast one of its major cities, Homs, to the ground.
Governments everywhere gnash their teeth in reaction, asking what can be done in the face of Russia’s and China’s refusal to allow the passage of any UN Security Council Resolution which, under international law, is necessary for any active intervention. Still, there is some good news, brought to us today in Le Monde:
L’asphyxie financière: financial asphyxiation – it seems that at least the economic sanctions that Europe, America, and the Arab League imposed on the Damascus regime some time back are finally starting to have an affect. Simply put, Syria is being starved of foreign exchange, since it can hardly earn any – no one will buy its oil. There are maybe “three or four months” worth of foreign currency left, is what is now estimated within diplomatic circles. After that, the Syrian pound “will crumble”; even if they can find importers for what they need in the midst of all the official sanctions, they’ll have nothing to pay them with.
Of course, this will likely make life equally uncomfortable for the rebels as well as the Syrian government. But perhaps of greater relevance is the question whether those rebels can hold out another three or four months.