Syria raises penalty on foreign currency use to seven years of hard labor
…by Press TV, Tehran
[ Editor’s Note: The loss of the initial US coalition Balkanization effort via its proxy terrorism war on Syria has morphed into a different kind of attack. Those in the chaos and destabilization business are layered up in options to make sure they stay in business.
Grinding a country down to crushing poverty creates a lot of regime change pressure, especially as the years flow by and families see no future. They will get desperate enough to jump on any horse going by to get out of despair.
The initial sanctions plan was to build support for a military coup. A lot of money was used to buy a lot of the Syrian military officers, setting up their entire families in SA. These are some of the people that had ISIS uniforms fighting the SAA, the command staff that got flown out on US choppers during retreats.
Fortunately they were replaced by Hezbollah people and the Iranian Shia militias who came in originally to guard Holy sites which the Sunni jihadis were savaging.
Later they began training local defense forces so the army was not weakened by constant static defensive work, where their small guard units were picked off one by one.
This allowed SAA offensive formations to be built up, and later the Russians came in with new equipment, training, the planes, state of the art intelligence, which prepared them to go on the offensive without absorbing big casualties.
I had forgotten that the EU had been on board these crushing sanctions all along, despite their being a huge engine for the flood of refugees into Europe, so how stupid was that. The EU also has its own “gang that can’t shoot straight” problems, most recently exhibited with the “Bigfoot” legend INSTEX payment system for Iran, their pretend effort for the JCPOA.
I don’t have any sympathy for the EU anymore for being under the gun with Trump sanctions. Let them eat that bitter fruit and see how they like it… Jim W. Dean ]
– First published … January 01, 2020 –
President Bashar al-Assad has increased the punishment for transacting in foreign currencies to seven years of hard labor, as part of the government’s efforts to prop up the Arab country’s pound.
A decree issued by President Assad “upped the penalty for anybody who deals in anything other than the Syrian pound for payments or any kind of commercial transaction,” the presidency said in a statement on Saturday.
The punishment, which also applies to transactions in precious metals, was stiffened from up to three years in detention to seven years of hard labor, as well as a fine, the statement read.
President Assad also increased fines for circulating information that seeks “to undermine confidence in the strength of the country’s currency,” the presidency said.
The Syrian pound has plummeted to 1,200 to the dollar on the black market in recent weeks, despite an official exchange rate fixed at 434 to the greenback. The rate stood at 47 pounds to the dollar in 2011, when the foreign-backed conflict broke out in Syria.
International sanctions against Syria, damage to the country’s industry from the nearly nine-year war and panicked Syrians sending their money abroad have pushed the currency down sharply. Prices for key staples such as sugar and rice have risen to record highs amid Western-backed sanctions against Damascus.
The devaluation of the Syrian pound has been exacerbated by a liquidity crisis in neighboring Lebanon, which has long served as a conduit for foreign currency into government-held areas of Syria.
According to the Financial Times, some 80 percent of wealthy Syrians keep their money in Lebanon, which has been hit by tough capital control since the protests erupted in October.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a former Syrian banker told the Middle East Eye (MEE) that the Lebanese crisis closed a major door for Syria to get dollars. The European Union has imposed harsh economic sanctions against Syria since 2011.
The sanctions currently in place against Syria include an oil embargo, restrictions on certain investments and a freeze of the assets of the Syrian central bank held in the EU. The EU bans also target dozens of companies linked to the government of President Assad.