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Is oil embargo on Assad pushing for political solution?

Analysis | 2019-04-23 18:48:41
Is oil embargo on Assad pushing for political solution?

Because of the shortage of gasoline and the almost total inability to provide solutions, Assad’s regime is under increasing pressure at a time when there is talk of an international and regional desire for a political solution in accordance with the Security Council resolutions.
Analysts argue that the economic crises plaguing the regime will push it to compromise in order to reach a political solution.

For more than a week, the regime has suffered from a severe fuel crisis that has immobilized transportation in all regions, particularly in the major cities of Damascus and Aleppo.

Russia reported on the lack of technical and commercial possibilities to supply Russian oil to Syria, because of the lack of land infrastructure (pipelines or land transport), and the exclusion of shipping because of the high costs. This disappointed the expectations of supporters of the regime leading some to demand that Assad enters into a political settlement, fearing that the situation would worsen.

For his part, the head of the Syrian Economic Task Force, Dr. Osama Kadi, said in an exclusive interview with "Iqtisad" that, "the suffocating embargo on the Assad regime is to embarrass Iran and force the regime to abandon such a weak ally, which will not be able to deliver oil for its ally.”
 
-Russia's Approval-

In his analysis, Kadi asserts that the embargo is approved by Russia, in order to deliver a clear message to Iran that Russia is the only strong ally and the one in command in Syria, and that the embarrassment of the regime before its loyalists aims to prepare for the replacement of the head of the regime by Russian means.

"Russia is using US sanctions as a means of getting rid of the head of the regime and its ally Iran. Russia is trying to gain popularity in Syria, as well as gaining international recognition for its role in fighting Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism," he said.

Kadi added that America is serious this time in tightening the boycott against the regime of Assad and Iran that it surrounds by land and sea, inside and outside Syria, not to overthrow it, but to push for a political solution, especially if the Caesar Act is ratified (a civilian protection act drafted in 2016). He stresses that "the Syrian crisis is very complex, and the political solution ensures a balance between the interests of Russia and America, specifically their relations with Israel, Turkey, Egypt and the Gulf."

He expressed his belief that the American administration wants an additional gain, namely, the elimination of the Iranian influence and expansion in Syria and perhaps in Iraq as well, and appearing as the victor who brought the Syrian issue to political safety, albeit without fulfilling popular demands.
 
-Complex Crisis-

Economist Yunus al Karim described the crisis in the system as a "complex crisis" and that to understand the impact of the oil crisis on the behavior of the regime it must be analyzed.

He pointed out, in an exclusive statement to "Iqtisad", that there is a role played by the regime in the crisis, where it paves the way to raise government subsidies on fuel prices and sell them at international price, in order to attract multinational companies, which are considered as the main player in the international policies.

He explained that state subsidy makes it hard for multinational companies to enter the local market, as it will make it more difficult to compete and will make the expected profits weaker; as well as an increase in the taxes imposed by the State because of its support for certain basic goods and materials, ie, increased State responsibility.

The second reason for the crisis, according to Karim, is political, resulting from the international demands from the regime in order to proceed with the political solution.

He said that, "the goal of economic siege on the regime is to pressure it to implement the full procedures required to advance the political solution, specifically the formation of the Constitutional Committee, because that would reorganize the opposition."

Karim continues that, "As a result of the oppressive policies of the regime, no Syrian opposition has been capable of performing the internationally demanded role. The withdrawal of the head of the regime or his absence, before arranging the situation, may drive the country toward a greater conflict than it already is."
 
The only victor

However, the dissented financial analyst, Munther Mohammed, ruled out that the regime will take real steps towards the political solution, saying that "despite the financial and economic crises that shake the regime, Assad still thinks that he is the only victor in the war."

He added to "Iqtisad" that the regime suffers mostly of shortages in linquidity in its Central Bank, and its inability to pay the price of the oil that was imported from Iran, who stopped the supply of oil to demand the implementation of contracts signed with it, starting with receiving the port of Latakia.
 
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