Syria I Am Osmane Arslanian Term Paper

Pages: 10 (4000 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 17  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: History - Israel

Consequently in May 2004, President Bush decided that Syria failed to meet these conditions and, as sanctions, prohibited exports to Syria of items in the U.S. Munitions list and Commerce Control list, of U.S. products except food and medicines and the landing or take-off of Syrian government-owned aircraft in the U.S. The U.S. Department of Treasury also intended to order American financial institutions to cut off correspondent accounts with the Commercial Bank of Syria on money-laundering reasons and pursuant to section 311 of the U.S.A. Patriot Act (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs 2004). And using his international emergency economic powers under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act or IEEPA, President Bush also authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to freeze the assets of certain Syrian persons and government entities (BNEA).

Last September 2, the United Security Council adopted Resolution 1559, which was authored by France and the U.S. And called upon all remaining forces to withdraw from Lebanon as well as reiterated the UN's solid support for Lebanon's territorial integrity, sovereignty and political independence. It had strong reference to, and against, Syria (CIA 2004).

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As of July 2004, we are more than 18 million in population, with approximately 40,000 of us living in Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Our population grows at a rate of 2.4% annually (Central Intelligence Agency 2004). We Syrians are 90% Arabs and the remaining 10% are Kurds, Armenians and other minor races. In the religions we practice, 74% are Sunni Muslim; 16% are Alawite, Druze and other Muslim sects; and the remaining 10% are Christian and Jewish. Arabic is our official language, but we also widely understand Kurdish, Armenian, Aramaic, Circassian and some French and English (CIA). Our basic literacy rate is 76.9%.

Term Paper on Syria I Am Osmane Arslanian, Assignment

The local long form of my Republic is Al Jumhuriyah al Arabiyah as Suriyah or Suriyah for short and our capital is Damascus (Central Intelligence Agency 2004). Our 14 administrative divisions or provinces are Al Hasakah, Al Ladhiqiyah, Al Qunaytirah, Ar Raqqah, As Suwayda', Da'a, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq, Halab, Hamah, Hims, Idlib, Rif Dimashq, and Tartus. Our legal system derives from the Islamic law and civil law system and from special religious courts and has not accepted compulsory International Court of Justice jurisdiction (CIA). Our chief of state is President Bashar al-ASAD. Other state officials are Vice Presidents Abd al-Halim ibn Said KHADDAM and Muhammad Zuhayr MASHARIQA, Prime Minister Muhammad Naji al-UTRI, Deputy Prime Ministers Lieutenant General Mustafa TALAS, Farouk al-SHARA and Dr. Muhammad al-HUSAYN. The President appoints the Council of Ministers and the people directly elect the President for a term of seven years (CIA).

Our unicameral People's Council or Majlis al-shaab makes our laws. This Council has 250 members who are also popularly voted for a term of four years (Central Intelligence Agency 2004). The last Council election was held on March 2 and 3, 2003. The Council is composed of the National Progressive Front or NPF at 67% and 33% independents, as guaranteed by the Constitution that the Ba'ath Party must constitute half of the total number of seats. Our courts of law consist of a Supreme Constitutional Court, whose justices are appointed to four-year terms; a High Judicial Council; a Court of Cassation; and state security courts (CIA).

Our major political parties and their heads are the National Progressive Front or NPF, led by President Bashar as the secretary-general; Socialist Unionist Democratic Party, led by Ahmad al ASAD; the Syrian Communist Party; the Unionist Socialist Party; the Arab Socialist Party, led by Abd al-Ghani QANNUT; and Arab Socialist Unionist Movement, led by Sami SUFAN and President Bashar alk-ASAD as chairman; the Syrian Arab Socialist Party, led by Safwan QUDSI; the Syrian Communist Party, led by Yusuf FAYSAL; and the Syrian Social National Party, led by Jubran URAYJI (Central Intelligence Agency 2004). Conservative religious leaders and the Muslim Brotherhood, which operates while on exile in Jordan and Yemen, exert strong political pressure.

Our Constitution requires that the President should be Muslim without making Islam the state religion. But it establishes the Islamic jurisprudence as the main source of our laws (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs 2004). Our judicial system is a composite of Ottoman, French and Islamic laws and consisting of three court levels: courts of first instance, courts of appeal and the constitutional court, which is the high tribunal. Syria is a republic wherein we choose our President but cannot change our form of government. The President is the commander-in-chief of our military consisting of 400,000 troops upon mobilization (BNEA). The deterioration of our ties with the Soviet Union significantly reduced my country's ability to secure modern military equipment, because the Soviet Union was our principal source of training, material and credit for our forces. But ours remains one of the largest and most capable in the region (BNEA). We received funding from Gulf Arab states because of our participation in the Gulf War..

Ours is a predominantly statist economy with an average growth rate that is slower than the 2.4% growth rate and this kept our per capita GDP going rolling down. Our recent laws allow private banks to operate in Syria, although it will take years for a private bank to develop government cooperation (Central Intelligence Agency 2004).

Our position in the U.S.-led coalition against Iraq and related factors are responsible for the fall of our GDP growth levels below 1% in 2003 after a 3.5% growth rate in 2001 and 4.5% in 2002. Our unchecked population growth, industrial expansion and increased water pollution levels also put pressure on our water supplies (BNEA).

We have a diversified economy that thrives on agriculture, industry and energy. In the 1960s, the government nationalized most of our major industries and adopted economic policies that addressed regional and class differences (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs 2004). Our domestic and international critics say that this form of state intervention and our price, trade, and foreign exchange control measures were responsible for our stunted economic growth. We do have a large number of poorly performing public sector firms, low investment levels and low industrial and agricultural productivity (BNEA) to account for our troubled economy. Almost 60% of our population is under age 20 and our actual unemployment rate is higher than the estimate of 20 to 25% and we are undertaking measures to respond to this situation (BNEA).

Our oil production has, however, come up to the challenge and recent agreements are likely to encourage foreign investment in our petroleum sector in two to three years (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs 2004). Our economic reforms have been incremental and gradual and privatization is not a foreseeable probability at this time. But our government has already started addressing structural defects in our economy, such as our lack of a modern financial sector, by installing required changes in our legal an regulatory structures (BNEA). We legalized private banking in 2001, so that four private banks began their operations this year. We also put into place a committee last August to supervise the establishment of a stock market. Our government likewise undertook major changes in our rental and tax laws and commercial codes that affect property rights.

We boast of traditional industries, such as weaving and fruit-packing and a modern heavy industry, but our policies in the 1960s to the 1980s prevented us from joining an increasingly interconnecting global economy (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs 2004). We, however, requested the World Trade Organization to begin the accession process. My country was an original contracting party of the initial General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade but we withdrew on account of Israel's inclusion. We are aware that elements of our trade rules must change to become consistent with those of the WTO and we intend to sign an association agreement with the European Union, which will require substantial trade liberalization (BNEA).

Prospects are high that my country will be able to reverse the downtrend of its current economy. Principally, our government has already redirected development priorities from industrial expansion into our agricultural sectors in order to achieve food self-sufficiency, improve export revenues and stop rural migration (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs 2004). Sustained capital investment, infrastructure development, subsides of inputs, and price supports have enabled our country to evolve from a net importer of agricultural products to an exporter of cotton, fruits, vegetables and other foods (BNEA). These were the consequences of our government investment in large irrigation systems in northern and northeastern parts of our county as part of an overall plan to increase the volume of our irrigated farmland by 38% in the next decade (BNEA).

We have laid much of our confidence on our capability to produce heavy-grade oil from our fields in the northeast since the late 1960s (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs 2004). Our discovery of light-grade and low-sulfur oil near Dayr az Zawr in our eastern side cancelled our need to import light oil for mixing with our heavy crude in our… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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