The Assad family regime
Been following the situation in Syria for quite some time now since 2012 (The civil war broke in 2011) and it is evident the despotic regime of Bashar aided by Iran and Russia will just have to run out of people to kill because it makes no sense at all to kill over 450,000 citizens (a majority of whom are children). And here lies the problem: Bashar succeeded his father, Hafez, in 2000, who had been in power since 1970. What are we Kenyans complaining about? Syrians have been through hell and back and the world hasn’t batted an eyelid about it. For 30 years, Hafez ruled Syria, for 18 years, Bashar has ruled Syria and brought it to its knees along the way (Elected in 2000 and back in 2007 receiving over 95% support in uncontested referendums). That’s close to 50 years under one family.
Ahem, Democrats and Mugabe supporters.
In the country’s first contested presidential election in Ba’athist Syria’s history
, held on 16 July 2014, Bashar was sworn in for another seven-year term after receiving 88.7% of votes in the sham election as denounced by the Syrian opposition and Western allies. The international election observers deemed the election “free and fair”. Since 2006, the Bashar government has reportedly expanded the use of travel bans against political dissidents.
At the time of Hafez’s death, the age requirement for the presidency was 40. The constitution was amended to lower it to 34, Bashar’s age that time!
It is approximated that about 82% of Syrians live below the poverty line. Read that again and let it sink in.
In case you want a comparison with Kenya, Kenya is at approx 40%. However, this cannot be compared to Kenya since a large part of the Syrian population is not poor financially and is able to sustain itself, but has poor living conditions, which are indexed as poverty, conditions which have been caused by the massive destruction of infrastructure during the Syrian Civil War
, which has caused the price of certain goods/services to skyrocket/become unavailable, making a majority of the citizens poor. This reminds me of the famous famine “Nikwa Ngwete” – I shall Die with money in my hands
in Kamba land in 1984 in which Kambas, though had money, there were no commodities to purchase. There is no better description of poverty than this. If you think about it, it is ridiculous to have money and not be able to live a sustainable life.
Either way, if you had money to buy a 6 bedroom townhouse in Runda but the best houses available in the market were a one-room ramshackle, would you consider yourself rich?
The Syrian Pound
World Bank reports that oil exports declined from $4.7 billion in 2011 to $0.14 billion by 2015. Oil is Syria’s major economic export. To make matters worse, Syria’s currency began to depreciate in 2011, falling from 47 Syrian Pounds to the dollar to about 515 Syrian Pounds to the dollar today. To people who are paid in local currency, this is geek maths to them but to them, those that (is that even English? This language is not fun at all.) do online shopping and transact online would understand. Over this period of around 7 years, the Syrian Pound has lost its strength against the USD over 10 folds. To break this down to make it easy to understand in this country, if you were buying a shirt online worth Kshs 1,500 (approx 15 USD), that would cost you 15,000 (150 USD) today. That’s astonishing. This means that you would not be able to afford anything anymore. However, one’s loss is someone else’s gain. To those running online platforms, they would be reaping big time buy being paid in USD then converting their USD to the Syrian Pounds (assuming inflation does not have a major impact on the local currency). For something that you offered online for 15 USD and received Kshs 1,500 you would now receive Kshs 15,000. I’m no expert in economics but that’s what any leader should think about before plunging a country into a civil war.
By adding foreign remittances from relatives abroad adds more agony to this story. For example, a family that would receive USD 1,000 (Kshs 100,000), would now receive Kshs 10,000 unless the sender increases their remittance to USD 10,000.
Does it get worse than this?
World Cup 2018
I strongly feel Russia should not host the world cup but this thought is rather too delayed. The World Cup kicks off in under 108 days. Russia’s support of Bashar’s regime in Syria points to lack of strong will about crimes against humanity. There are various issues of concern over Russia including security of fans, footballers, the long distances between cities hosting various matches, racism and safety of aeroplanes. In the past years, there have been several rallies by nationalists to protest against the presence of Asians and Africans in Russia.
I will follow keenly the match between Senegal and Japan.
On the other hand, England fans and Russia fans will certainly clash if we are to go by they happenings during Euro 2016 in France. If Russia and England meet in the later stages of the tournament, it could end chaotically.
Games in Russia will be played in host cities more remote than at any other World Cup. This leaves fans facing up to 50hours of intercity travels to watch their national teams. Depending on how far some teams go, some fans will face a travel of over 10,000km the entire duration of the tournament. This is approximately taking a round trip to Mombasa from Nairobi ten (10 times) or 20 (10 times) one way.
The Syrian War Beneficiaries
Unverified reports claim that the major beneficiaries are Iran, USA and Russia. Iran is involved in the war politically and logistically by exporting military equipment, training and battle troops. On the other hand, Russia exports firearms as well and signal intelligence systems. By making sure the Middle East is not at peace, the USA seeks to benefit from the importation of cheap oil and gas.
The USA is in this with Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Turkey in itself is accused of sending terrorists to fight against Bashar’s army. Saudi Arabia aims to reduce the population of Christians in Syria. They are also accused of eliminating Shia Muslims by accusing them of being non muslims.
No matter what the USA is in for, it will always work to secure Israel. See, Syria supports Palestine to resist their intervention in their land, and the USA supports Israel. In the end game, Syria will be left dilapidated which will leave Israel a force to reckon in the region alongside Turkey & Saudi Arabia.
The greatest beneficiary, however, seems to be Russia, who in addition, maintains an air base in Chmeimim and a naval base in Tartus, the only Russian base in the Mediterranean Sea.
Imagine a country like Congo operating the Wilson Airport and a port on the Kenyan coast.
We all understand the importance of having such, and this is likely why the civil war in Syria won’t end anytime soon.
In the wake of all this. The major ball players here are the USA and Russia. Different sources from the internet point to USA funding extremist groups in Syria to fight the Syrian government while on the other hand, the Russia government throws their support behind Syria. As a matter of fact, Russia has on multiple occasions vetoed against the intervention of UN into the Syrian government. Going by history, in all countries, the USA has influenced the regimes: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya etc, there is a sequence of replacing the president with someone who works for the interests of the USA in that country. At the same time, Russia has never invaded any country.
Russia intervened in the Syrian war with the consent of the Syrian government while the USA did not.
We are asleep, when will we bat an eyelid?