The Central Bank of Syria began circulating the country’s new 1,000-pound note, and one major question is being left unanswered in media reports — why the currency was redesigned without a face of the Assad family.
The old 1,000-pound note featured former president Hafez al-Assad, the father of President Bashar al-Assad. The Central Bank instead replaced it with an image of an ancient Roman theater located in southern Daraa, the birthplace of the revolution.
According to the Central Bank, the old note with Hafez Assad needed better paper quality and security features. But the statement fails to give a reason it would require a new image on the face of the bills, or why — of all the Syrian landmarks to use — the new choice would be a lesser-known Roman theater in the city where the uprising began.
Countries often redesign currency notes to make it more difficult to counterfeit. But Jeffry Frieden, international monetary and financial relations professor at Harvard, told Al Bawaba he couldn’t think of a security reason to change the image.
"Whether it was done as a snub to Assad, or as something of a sop to the opposition, ... I have no idea,” Frieden wrote. “But I cannot see a legitimate security-based argument, so it would be interesting to try to figure out what is actually going on."
By Hayat Norimine
Photo of the old note (banknotes.com/Audrius Tomonis):
Photos of the new note (Twitter):
© 2000 - 2022 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)