This item came in from Felix who comments that it is "Quite a good analysis":
Syria's economy, which is predominantly state-controlled, was characterizedin a recent report by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as "stable butstagnant economy"(1) because of the failure of the narrowly confinedpolitical establishment to implement extensive economic reforms. Anold-fashioned inefficient and heavily regulated socialist command conomy, restricted political freedoms under a totalitarian system of government, andwide-scale corruption at the highest levels of government have impeded theemergence of a viable market economy. The three revenue sectors that Syriarelies on annually are oil production; taxes from government services; andthe government-owned industrial companies, which are widely politicized,greatly inefficient, and bleeding red ink. Only three segments of theeconomy are somewhat profitable and, not surprisingly, the three aremonopolies: tobacco, telecommunications, and banking, although the latter isbeing opened slowly to private banking. The tobacco monopoly is run by amember of the Assad family which has a complete ownership of the businessand is not subject to pricing control.
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