The American Bear


Syria After the Massacre | Patrick Cockburn

[…] A better-armed opposition will be too strong to be suppressed by the government, but the outcome is most likely to be prolonged civil war rather than a clear victory by either side. Sanctions have already wrecked the Syrian banking sector and are hurting the country, but they are not leading to economic collapse. Syrians feel it is a collective punishment on them all which causes little harm to the government. There is plenty of food because Syrian agriculture, the largest sector of the economy, is benefiting from two years of heavy rain after three years of severe drought. There is no tourism and hotels are empty, but this was never as important as in Lebanon or Egypt. The biggest blow has been the fall in oil exports as foreign oil companies cease operating here.

Both the government and the armed opposition have become stronger in the past six months and neither side sees much reason to compromise. It feels like the beginning of a long war. [++]