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- Next Step For Stopping the Killing Machine, Cut The Oil
Posted by : الدكتور احمد جمعة August 19, 2011
Oil is not only an Assad family wealth, but is also a main resource for financing the repressive organs in Syria. The regime officially employs over a quarter of a million security personnel, divided over its police and seventeen branches of intelligence. With the beginning of the revolution, the regime’s forces expanded to include tens of thousands employed in unofficial terror and death squads, in addition to hosted Hezbollah and Iranian militiamen. If the regime is to be hurt, its financial body should be targeted, as the absence of money equals the absence of hired mercenaries and thugs.
The regime has been suffering financial difficulties since the beginning of the revolution. The economy is collapsing and the value of the currency and enlisted stocks have plummeted. Furthermore, there were inside reports of Shabbiha thugs and death squads returning to their villages in the coastal areas because they were not paid for two weeks. This month, Lebanese banks stopped exchanging Syrian currency because the regime is printing fakes to keep a steady flow of cash to its supporters and beneficiaries.
If oil revenues were to suddenly cease, the repressive regime would lose its steady income and would have serious problems keeping its militias and mercenaries on a payroll, especially since oil revenues account for about a third of the regime’s income.
The precise extent of the contribution of exports to the regime's finances is hard to determine. IMF estimates show export revenues accounting for about 35% of the state budget in 2009, however, with the recession and repercussions of the revolution, it is estimated that oil now contributes over 60% of the state budget.
Currently, the shares of Syria's main oil producer, Al-Furat Petroleum Company, is owned 50% by SPC, and 50% by other foreign shareholders including Royal Dutch Shell, Petro Canada, China's CNPC and Gulfsands; a British oil company which Rami Makhlouf, the President’s sanctioned cousin, is a shareholder in. Other foreign companies investing in Syria are the American Halliburton Oilfield Services which operates the Soweidi Oilfield in addition to Schlumberger, Crosco Drilling, and CGG.
It is noted that Shell, Total, BP, and OMV have purchased Syrian crude since the uprising, thus directly contributing to the budget the Assads have used for hiring mercenaries and buying illegal weapons to kill innocent civilians. Royal Dutch Shell bought 586,400 barrels on 29 May 11, Austria’s OMV bought 586,400 barrels on 28 Jun 11, BP bought 586,400 barrels on 10 Apr 11, and another 586,400 barrels on 20 Apr 11.
Currently in Lattakia, there are over a hundred injured civilians besieged in the Raml Janubi area, while in Nazlet Raml, the security forces turned the Tishreen 6th School -next to the train station- to a prison camp filled with those randomly arrested or picked up from the streets or during the house to house searches. Heavy fires and explosions are constantly heard in Hersh and Sheikh Daher. The regime has also been clearing houses around Hersh, Skunturi and Bustan al-Hamami, to stop people from documenting and filming the crimes of the regime. The regime also arrested many of the occupants of those houses.
Jableh, Bukamal, the Damascus suburb of Moadamiya, and Rukn Eddin in Damascus, were also subjected to security operations and random arrests.
Demonstrations took to the streets all over Syria as usual. This time, the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk was under the spotlight as massive Demonstrations broke out in solidarity with the besieged cities in Syria. All those residing in Syria have expressed their unity in opposing the regime and no attempts by Assad to incite a civil or sectarian conflict could deter them.
Syrian Revolution News Round-up
Day 155: Tuesday, 16 Aug 2011
Ausama Monajed and others