The Year Ahead: Syria in 2009

2009_logoSyria started its reform program almost ten years ago when President Bashar al-Assad assumed office. There are several milestones expected in the year ahead that will change the scene in Syria including signing the Association Agreement with Europe, Bush’s departure from the White House and Obama’s inauguration, reaching a peace agreement with Israel, the launch of the Damascus Stock Exchange, creation of Majlis al-Shura (Parliament’s upper house), etc.

Share with Forward Magazine your opinion or wishes on how Syria will look like in 2009? Opinions will be published on this blog and in online and print editions of Forward in January’s Special Edition: Forum for Change.

5 Responses

  1. This is a very nice initiative from FW Magazine. For me, I will share my wishes not my opinion since opinions are many times defected with narrow prospective and ill-sighted.

    I wish that military service will be a real training for the young to love and defend their county. It is very sad to see the youth of our beloved country either running away to deploy their talent abroad, or suffering humiliation and bad treatment in the lap of the army. I have heard the comment many times from people: “you get out of the mandatory service hating your country rather than loving it”.

    I wish to get rid of bureaucracy and having to run for many useless signatures and stamps for official documents. Unfortunately, in this case, corruption is very useful. You can have your papers done very easily.

    I wish there was a reliable infrastructure in our country. I think this would be the REAL achievement by authorities and will defiantly be the true force to push country “Forward”.

    I wish that the rule of law is applicable on all, regardless of whom they are or who they know. And I also wish a real accountability low to ask people how they made their fortunes.

    I wish there was a reliable transport system, Internet infrastructure, transparency in the work of public companies and government agencies and less protectionism in major sectors.

    I wish there was a real Santa Claus to give me my wishes.

  2. correction to the laws in which we will have a civil society, I want to see citizens active, I want to see individuals and (free and independant) NGOs that are not religious nor racial… just NGOs.

    Correction in the civil law in which women are really considered as Syrian citizens who can give their children the Syrian nationality. Abolishing the what so called “honour killing” justification law, abolishing death penalty… oh yeah and an actual active parliament!

    Too much for one year?

    I’ll say!

  3. The America people suffer while our beautiful Country is in ruins by these scam artist Terrorist groups operating in America.

    New SEC chief gave Bernard Madoff’s son a job
    Rosie Lavan

    Mary Schapiro, Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), previously appointed one of Bernard Madoff’s sons to a regulatory body that oversees American securities firms.

    It has emerged that in 2001, Ms Schapiro, currently chief executive of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra), employed Mark Madoff to serve on the board of the National Adjudicatory Council — the division that reviews disciplinary decisions made by Finra.

    Last week, Mark Madoff, with his brother, Andrew, were understood to have approached the authorities after their father apparently confessed to orchestrating a $50 billion securities fraud.

    Mr Madoff is under house arrest in his $7 million Manhattan apartment and will be electronically tagged after he failed to secure further signatories to guarantee his $10 million bail.
    Related Links

    * Obama picks regulator to be SEC chairman

    * Madoff and the watchdog: SEC chiefs from 1960

    *‘Most hated man in New York’ seeks $3m for bail

    Both sons have emphatically denied any involvement in what could be the biggest fraud perpetrated by an individual.

    However, the link with Mark Madoff may prove controversial for Ms Schapiro and the President-elect, who has moved fast to replace Christopher Cox, the current head of the SEC. The watchdog has came under fire for failing to detect Mr Madoff’s activities.

    Earlier this week, Mr Cox admitted the regulator had repeatedly failed to follow up on tip-offs about Mr Madoff’s business dealings.

    At the time of Mark Madoff’s appointment, Ms Schapiro was serving as president of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), according to the Wall Street Journal, which was consolidated with the New York Stock Exchange Member Regulation in 2007 to form Finra.

    She has served as a commissioner of the SEC under three administrations since the 1980s: President Reagan appointed her in 1988, she returned for the first President Bush in 1989, and she was named acting chairman by President Clinton in 1993.

    Ms Schapiro chaired the Commodities Future Trading Commission in the mid-1990s, during the downfall of Barings Bank, and first joined NASD in 1996 as president of regulation.

    Mr Madoff was himself closely involved in NASD, the self-regulatory organisation for brokers and dealer firms, in the 1970s.

    The NASD went on to found Nasdaq, the screen-based equity exchange, in 1971, and Mr Madoff became its chairman in 1990.

    Mark Madoff began working at his father’s firm, Bernard L. Madoff Securities, in 1986. He was the third member of Mr Madoff’s family to join the business, following his uncle, Peter Madoff, and his cousin, Charles Wiener, son of Bernard’s sister, Sandra. Andrew Madoff, his younger brother, followed in 1988, and Roger and Shana, children of Peter Madoff, joined in the 1990s.

    It emerged yesterday that Shana Madoff’s relationship with her husband, Eric Swanson, is at the centre of an SEC probe. Mr Swanson is a former SEC attorney.

    In a profile of the Madoff family, published in 2000, Mark Madoff said: “What makes it fun for all of us is to walk into the office in the morning and see the rest of your family sitting there. That’s a good feeling to have. To Bernie and Peter, that’s what it’s all about.”

  4. I would like to see more faith by the Syrian people in the media. There’s this common conception that hits us like a wall continuously that people in the media are simply out to get you or to inform on you, and many of the older generation have such a deep seated distrust in what we’re trying to do, it really stands in the way.

    I would also like to see bureaucracy, if not disappear, at least normalize. For me, what is frustrating is not the existence of bureaucracy, which in the end is somewhat necessary, but the fact that when you try to get anything done, you never seem to be able to do it the same way twice. On our block, everyone has figured out how to get high-speed internet, but no two people seem to have done it the same way, leaving people like me in a complete lurch, since while I don’t mind schlepping from station to station, I do like have a procedure to follow. On a list, printed out, and specific. This extreme mystery as to what is and what isn’t necessary when applying to anything is holding the country back. Keep all three hundred offices and stamps, simply let us know which offices are for what. Give us procedure!

    Finally, I would like to see the issues facing Syria finalized in some way (hopefully positively, but at least concretely). Syria’s position towards Israel, the United States, and Lebanon, for example. Internally, it’s position towards communication and the media would be nice to know. Maybe this is my Western side rearing its ugly head, but I do like a bit of certainty in my life, and so, that is my New Year wish list.

    Peace, out!

  5. All best wishes for the new year to everyone.
    AMMA BA3D, … 😉

    as much as there is a hint of scepticism in my tone, but the only way for 2009 to fruit any kind of real progress, is not to promote technology and internet usage amongst the masses. But to provide jobs when unemployment is at a high, support local businesses to compete against far more efficient foreign import and to revise the educational system dramatically.
    A key image that could be symbolic of prosperity is the shrinking of that endless queue of applicants outside the Turkish embassies on a daily basis. I know that’s far to specific and acute but that seems to just metaphorically reflect a certain unfortunate reality.

    and on a final note… . i have this very relevant article from Patrick Seale:
    The Arab World’s Grim Prospects for 2009

    salam for all.

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