Why is the Syrian Pound the Hallmark of the Current Stage?! Either Abyss or Salvation.
Since the end of last year, the Syrian pound (SYP) has collapsed at an accelerated level, a harbinger of reaching a situation in which it would lose its last function. This was accompanied by tightening the sanctions and talking about Caesar's Law, the Lebanon crisis, economic stagnation, and crises between the elites of corruption, influence, and wealth within the country. Within less than six months we have witnessed two occasions in which the Syrian pound experienced an accelerating daily deterioration (the first was at the beginning of this year, the second began last week). In both cases, deterioration was being stopped by means of temporary security and propaganda mechanisms, but only at higher limits than previously, and this was often accompanied by raising of the official exchange rate.
By: Kassioun Editorial Board
The current speculative crisis has a security character, but its political and economic in its depth, so that it cannot be dealt with through security measures, even temporarily! The financial size available for speculation is very large, and as long as the major financial forces in the Syrian market "converts" daily profits of approximately one billion pounds (i.e. they transform them in the black market from Syrian pounds to dollars), and as long as they find, on the other hand, dollars in the market pumped from abroad, and as long as the possibilities of pumping money abroad exist, then the tools of speculation will not come to an end. The huge monopolistic profit that those financial forces accumulate on a daily basis, along with the presence of major dollar volume in the hands of market and cross-border forces, are factors that constitute a cumulative economic and political problem that indicates the weakening of the state’s apparatus, under its current status, to deal with this problem.
Speculation is an ongoing process and has a solid base that cannot be faced "formal strikes", but requires deep economic and political measures commensurate with the size of the problem and the degree of risk, measures that radically displace the dollar from circulation, and restore the state apparatus to its economic capacity and its function as a basic resource owner, producer and primary trader.
But do those who present themselves as responsible for taking solutions and measures to address the deterioration of the Syrian pound realize how big is the political and national problem resulted from the continuous collapse?! We will try to outline the political implications of this in three points:
The Collapse of the Syrian Pound and the "Economic Heart Attack"
The collapse of the Syrian pound is a condensed expression of the fact that what remained of the Syrian economy has a "heart attack", because when sale stops this means that circulation and its underlying production gradually stop, and the money moves in specific directions to preserve its value by escaping to the safe shelters: the dollar, gold, and then to outside of the country... This eviscerates the country of the resources necessary to restore "the pulse". When this medium, the Syrian pound, becomes ineffective, the remaining functional economic forces will objectively resort to another medium for conserving resources, investments, pricing and circulation. Today we are in such a stage when the Syrian pound lost the greatest part of the first three functions; because it is actually the dollar, not the national currency, is what forms the coffers of wealthy resources, and investment does not take place under instability of circulation, and it expands effectively only in "queer and narrow" fields linked to the dollar such as black trade and smuggling. The rest of the local investors and producers price their business according to the black market dollar price, and thus the bulk of material pricing has shifted to be related to the price of the black market dollar, while trading is still in the Syrian pound, which is "as a token and paper money" increasingly turning into a mere reflection of the US dollar!
The Syrian Pound: Common Unifying Fate, or a Tool for Division?
The deterioration of the Syrian pound is a tool for division: when the Americans resort to an economic blockade as a means of warfare and essential tool for turning Syria into a quagmire, and a way to achieve their goal of preparing the ground for partition of the country and preventing it from restoring its territorial integrity, they know very well what they are doing! Of course, this is not a compliment to them, but it is a censuring and condemnation of everyone who reduces the risk of the deterioration of the Syrian pound and conducts formalities that push the country, not only economically but also politically, towards the abyss. Those who do not see this should read the signals sent during the past week when talking about the possibility of pricing wheat, in the Syrian Jazeera region, in dollars, and about the call of Jarablus Chamber of Commerce to deal in the Turkish lira instead of the Syrian pound due to the instability of the latter.
The Syrian pound is the remaining bridge to interconnect the country's regions to each other, and integrate the Syrian society into one common fate. Thus, increasing its value and fixing it as a tool for investment, pricing and as a medium of circulation, is the most important means of confrontation and the effective and decisive tool in "resilience, confrontation and sovereignty".
A Tool for Starvation and Chaos
The collapse of the Syrian pound is a tool for starvation and chaos. This past week was accompanied by "crazy" calls from abroad to applaud "the hungry revolution" coming to Syria, as a political event able to change the equations, and it is indeed so! But regardless of the vision of these people and their extremist proposals, a hunger revolution in Syria is possible and desirable by those international parties (and perhaps also some local parties) who want to open the gates for chaos and recurrence of violence, as those parties are afraid of the advancement towards consensual political solutions that obligate everyone to make concessions, because such concessions would amount to "losses of Billions" for the extremists and beneficiaries of the past and present Syria.
The rise of the dollar exchange rate, which reflects the deterioration of the Syrian pound, brings with it the rise in food prices in Syria at an accelerated pace. It is possible to trace the changes in figures during the past nine months. The market's dollar exchange rate against the Syrian pound has increased by 425%. In contrast, the cost of the Syrian basic food basket has increased by 240%. More than half of the cost of the Syrian food basket is priced in dollars while most of its component products are locally produced, and every rise in dollars means plunging hundreds of thousands, even millions, of additional Syrians down to the scourge of hunger, not only poverty. What then after 8 million hungry people?! This is according to the estimates of international food organizations that have tools to probe what the Syrians and their children eat, and do not eat, in their daily meals.
He who does not see the organized process of starvation as a tool of chaos, has to find an explanation for the wheat burning operations, and which signal is intended to be given thereof... He has to pair the matter with the transformation of the Syrians into militias used in regional chaos, and he also has to find an explanation for the sustainability, expansion and thrive of the drug trade and of turning Syria into a main center supplier of drugs to the region. Ironically, while food prices rise, the prices of drugs within the country do not rise! Two basic inseparable aspects of the phenomenon: starvation and converting the hungry people into mercenaries on all sides and fronts... both of these aspects provide new fuel for potential escalating of violence.
Collapse of the Syrian Pound is Similar to "Terrorism in Damascus"
The problem of the collapse of the Syrian pound, the penetrating impoverishment and hunger, and the continuation of the mechanisms of looting, corruption and criminality, as a determinant of the behavior of "confrontation", pushes the country again to the bottom of the chaos and even division, which is a battle no less dangerous than the attempt of international terrorism to station in Syria and turn it into a terrorist platform. If that stage has been overcome by international and regional efforts, the current stage, in contrast, is more complicated and may not be successfully dealt with regional and international efforts only, as had happened in the previous juncture when international terrorism was knocking on the doors of Damascus, but it was managed to rescue the country at the time... Is the current juncture, however, is solvable in the same way?! Will the change in the international balance of power alone be able to provide rescue solutions without change and support from the Syrians themselves?!
Changing the Local Balance of Power and Political Solutions
This moment requires a serious change in the balance of local powers. The change that allows the Syrians in general to transform their desire in preserving the country into a material force, must be made or imposed on the obstructing local parties, so that to make them commit, concede, and submit to the need of millions. A push and pressure should be made to implement International resolutions which oblige the Syrian extremists to submit and to open the door for Syrian society to solve and address the problem, to enable the Syrian people to cultivate their land, to manufacture, and to build houses and facilities using their national currency without being controlled by a handful of speculators competing for the greatest amount of influence and wealth, or by a few politicians who raise loudmouthed slogans applauding for sanctions or demanding "the hungry to steadfast"! The likes of those who follow the US line should step well back because they are forcing the country into an ominous path from which it may never be possible to return back again.