Since 1970, President al-Asad has forcefully positioned Syria on the Middle East political map. It became obvious that a comprehensive peace could not be achieved without finding a settlement to the Syrian – Israeli dispute. Nevertheless, in a 30-year retrospective it appears as though al-Asad sacrificed most of Syria’s national interests on the altar of the confrontation with the Jewish State. Hence, today Syria is one of the most isolated nations in the world. Terms such as globalization, liberalization, privatization, and even the Internet and cellphones are anomalies in daily Syrian life. The economy and related infrastructure desperately require profound modifications in order to bring prosperity to the average Syrian, who earns an annual average income of approximately $1,200. Syria's business community hopes that Bashar will succeed in consolidating a peace agreement with Israel, thus allowing the country to reap lucrative economic rewards, similar to what Jordan and Egypt previously experienced.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)