Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Syria and Lebanon

Hi Everyone,

With all the doin's ahappenin' in Lebanon I thought it would be worth while to present a brief profile of the two countries. I got the information from the CIA World Fact Book so you know its right.

Lebanon:
Per capita GDP = $4,800
Economic sectors = agriculture 12%; Industry 21%; Services 67%
Population below poverty line = 28%
Public Dept = 185% of GDP
Median age = 26.9
Life Expectancy = 72.35
Literacy Rate = Men 93.1%; Women 82.2%
Major ethnic/religious groups = Shi'a, Sunni, Druze, Isma'ilite, Alawite, Maronite Catholic, Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Syrian Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Roman Catholic, Protestant and other. There are 17 officially recognized religious communities.
Parliament seats are allocated by broad religious community = Muslims 64 seats (including Sunni 27, Shia 27, Druze 8 and Alawites 2); Christians 64 seats (including all sects, Maronites 34 seats);

Syria:
Per capita GDP = $3,300
Economic sectors = agriculture 28.5%; Industry 29.4%; Services 42.1%
Population below poverty line = 20%
Public Dept = 89% of GDP
Median age = 20
Life Expectancy = 69.71
Literacy Rate = Men 89.7%; Women 64%
Major ethnic/religious groups = Arab 90.3%, Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%; Sunni Muslim 74%, Alawite, Druze, and other Muslim sects 16%, Christian (various sects) 10%, Jewish (tiny communities in Damascus, Al Qamishli, and Aleppo)
Country is a military/hereditary dictatorship lead by the Asad Family who are from the Alawite minority.

Neither country has much oil. Lebanon has a surplus of water in a region with a severe shortage of water. Syria is beset by factions within the dictatorial regime. The largest Shia party in Lebanon (Hezbollah) is closely tied to Syria and Iran through ideological and financial ties.

So what do you guys think?

4 comments:

US West said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
US West said...

Actually, a really good link would be the US State Department background notes. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3580.htm

There is an interesting remark in this report. It explains Syria's involvement in Lebanon And mentions Hizballah in passing. But then it ends with the U.S. poisition which reads:

The U.S. supports the immediate withdrawal of Syrian and Iranian forces from Lebanon, consistent with the spirit of the Taif Accord, that calls for the extension of Lebanese government control over the entire territory of Lebanon.

Iranian forces in Lebanon? Where did that sneak in? Syria's main ally is Iran. But I haven't heard of Iranian troops in Lebanon. So you have ot wonder.

Raised By Republicans said...

I think the "forces" they are talking about are Iranian intelligence agents working within and with Hezbollah. Bush et al have repeatedly gone out of their way to mention Syrian "troops and intelligence agents."

Raised By Republicans said...

I want to redirect the conversation on this posting such as it is.

The data I put up about Lebanon and Syria show, IMHO, that Lebanon has far greater potential for economic and political reform than does Syria. Lebanon has a more diverse economy, a more literate population (especially among women) and an older population.

Syria is on the "bad" side of all those comparisons.

I spoke with a Syrian student after one of my classes recently. He expressed the view that Lebanon was Syria's by right because they have already sacrificed so much to get it. I got the distinct impression that his family was a pro-government family in Syria. He proudly declared that the elder Asad ended "terrorism" in Syria when he killed every man, woman and child in some village thought to be harboring anti-government insurgents.

All this suggests to me that there may be a kind of mentality in Syria that resents the obviously greater wealth in Lebanon and wants to drage Lebanon down with them.