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Syria is preparing for economic collapse because the US issued new sanctions on Assad

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma vote in Damascus during parliamentary elections in April 2016.

On Wednesday, the State Department and the US Treasury released 39 targets for sanctions, including Assad and his wife Asma al-Assad, marking “the beginning of what will be an ongoing campaign of economic and political pressure to deny the Assad regime’s income and support it being used to fight and committed mass atrocities against the Syrian people, “Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

“We anticipate more sanctions and we will not stop until Assad and his regime stop the unnecessary brutal war against the Syrian people and the Syrian government approves a political solution to the conflict as requested by UNSCR 2254,” he said, referring to UN Security Council Resolutions calling for ceasefire and political settlement in Syria.

The first stage of economic punishment comes as part of the new enactment Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, which is expected to trigger the most extensive and aggressive economic punishment ever imposed on Syria, which has the potential to target its energy, construction and banking sectors. The bill was named after a former photographer for the Syrian military, codenamed Caesar, who leaked a photograph containing photographs showing prisoners dead and mutilated in Assad prison.

The US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft told the Security Council on Tuesday that the move was an attempt to “prevent the Assad regime from securing military victory, and to steer the regime and its allies back to the Special Envoy (Geir) Pedersen and the UN-led political process. ”

China and Russia criticized the plan on Tuesday. Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun called the sanctions “inhuman.” Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vassily Nebenzia accused Washington of trying to “overthrow Syria’s legitimate authority,” according to Reuters.

The Caesar Act, a bipartisan Congressional law, has received widespread support from the Syrian diaspora community, many of whom were pushed into exile by Assad’s brutal repression of most peaceful protests that began in 2011. Assad has repeatedly been accused of war crimes and crimes towards humanity. in his military campaign to crush Syrian armed opposition. He is also widely believed to be behind various chemical attacks in rebel-held areas. The Assad government has repeatedly denied the allegations.

But even among the Syrian opposition, many hope that US sanctions will also give a severe blow to the Syrian civilian population. The poverty rate reaches more than 80%, according to the United Nations. The Syrian currency has fallen rapidly in recent months due to the economic crisis in Lebanon, where many Syrian businessmen avoided international sanctions during the war. Most of Syria lies in ruins.

“The (Syrian) economy has become something similar to the West Bank economy, an economy that relies on aid,” Syrian analyst and non-resident scholar at the DC-based Middle East Institute Karam Shaar told CNN. “This is not really a functional economy. Basically something that survives only because the West continues to inject money into it.”

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US sanctions threatened to cut cash injections from donations and remittances that kept the country afloat. Because the Caesar Act includes secondary sanctions – punishing non-US people and entities for transactions with the regime-held Syria – they are likely to create “phobias” and “panic from banks” around dealing with Syria, Shaar said, strangling financial transactions to country.

He also warned that humanitarian exceptions to food and medicine included in the Caesar Act might not have an effect, a situation that would be similar to Iran, which also has struggling to get drug supplies despite US relief.

“When you have actions that destroy a country’s exchange rate – and you know that 60% of the input to the pharmaceutical industry is actually imported – you influence drugs,” Shaar said. “The Caesar Act will affect everything.”

“Unless the Syrian regime accepts to negotiate, I project famine and it will be terrible.”

The knock-on effect of sanctions’ on neighboring Lebanon is also expected further crippling a collapsing economy. The Lebanese banking sector, which has been buckled under a severe liquidity crisis, is believed to have billions of dollars worth of Syrian assets. Therefore, the international financial system might immediately assume that Lebanese banks are untouched, Shaar said.

Tensions in Lebanon have reached a peak in recent weeks, as the currency continues to spread, triggering riots across the country. On Tuesday night, the leader of Iranian-backed political and militant group Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, gave a fiery televized speech that vowed to sustain Syria economically and called on Lebanon to reject US pressure to abide by the Caesar Law.

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Nasrallah also accused the Trump administration of “encircling” the Lebanese economy in an effort to suppress Hezbollah, and suggested that the country could move deeper into the economic orbits of Iran, Syria and China, removing US influence.

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Lebanon’s political formation consists of a group of pro-US and pro-Iranian politicians. Hezbollah, which intervened in the Syrian war on behalf of Assad, is the most powerful political force in Lebanon.

The United States has repeatedly said that it supports Lebanese political leadership reforms that are highly sectarian and eradicate corruption, and have not publicly announced economic support for Lebanon for the disarmament of Hezbollah. But local media and politicians speculate that the international community has avoided the country as part of an international effort to displace the armed group.

“(The Lebanese government must) show that they are willing to take difficult decisions to reform,” said Assistant Secretary of Near East Affairs David Schenker at a lecture at the Middle East Institute earlier this month. “It’s hard to see how (Hezbollah) will be behind this reform.”

When Assad and his allies doubled their anti-US stance, there were several signs the Syrian government intended to return to the negotiating table, and analysts warned that the Caesar Act would do little to hold Assad responsible for his crimes.

“Caesar’s supporters hope that the law will prove a step towards accountability for the regime’s horrific crimes,” Syrian Program Director in the Synaps Group Alex Simon told CNN. “While that goal cannot be denied, there is no evidence to suggest that Caesar will achieve this.”

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Simon described the sanctions as “a piecemeal policy, reflexive escalation, where ordinary Syrians pay the price.”

“People currently sell the few assets they still have to feed their families. Some sell their kidneys,” Simon said. “The pharmaceutical shortage is so bad that people have been brought to Facebook to gather information about who has a backup drug that can help save lives.”

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Who is Paulo Bento, the Portuguese coach from South Korea who coached Cruzeiro?

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The coach commanded the Portuguese national team at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and left the South Korean national team after being eliminated in Qatar.

Portuguese coach Paulo Bento qualified South Korea for the playoffs of the World Cup, something the team had not achieved since 2010, when the South Korean team reached the 1/8 finals of this championship. But 4-1 rout against Brazil as a result, shortened the path of the Asian team, as well as put an end to the work of Paulo Sousa in the national team.

Paulo Bento started his career as a coach with the youth team of Sporting Clube Portugal in 2004. At the club, he commanded the youth team for two seasons, winning the junior national tournament in his first year. Incidentally, the coach took over the first team shortly after he announced his retirement as a player.

Given his prominence in the youth categories, Paulo was chosen to replace José Peseiro, who was eliminated in European competition, in the professional team of Sporting CP for the 2005 season./2006.

Professionally, Bento was runner-up for four seasons in a row in the Portuguese Championship. Despite this, the coach won two Portuguese Cups and two Candido de Oliveira Super Cups. On November 6, 2009, the coach resigned.

Having distinguished himself at Sporting, Paulo Bento was announced as Portugal’s coach on 21 September 2010 after the World Cup in South Africa, where the then-champion Spain was selected in the round of 16.

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In qualifying, the coach managed to show good results in the first games, plus, of course, take Portugal to the semi-finals of Euro 2012, taking off from Spain on penalties. Having stood out in competitions, the coach extended the contract until Euro 2016.

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However, after losing to Albania in qualifying for Euro 2016, the coach could not resist and was fired in September 2014. The unsuccessful campaign at the World Cup of the same year in Brazil also affected.

After the Portugal national team, Paulo Bento returned to Brazil in May 2016, but this time to coach the Cruzeiro club. With a contract until December 2017, the coach made his debut in the second round of the Brasileirão the same year.

Paulo Bento Cruzeiro Brazilian Championship in Sao Paulo 05062016Washington Alves/Light Press/Cruzeiro

However, Bento only lasted 17 matches in power with six wins, three draws and eight losses, leaving the team in second-to-last place in the tournament.

On 11 August 2016, the coach was announced as the new commander of Olympiacos, Greece, where he remained until 6 March 2017, winning the Greek title. Following this, Paulo Bento was announced as Chongqing Dangdai of China leading the team for only 15 matches.

20221124 Paulo BentoGetty Images

On August 16, 2018, Paulo Bento was announced as the new coach of South Korea following the departure of Shin Tae-yong, who lost in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup.

As part of the South Korean national team, the coach has 55 wins, 12 draws and eight losses, having won the East Asian Cup title and classified the team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. After being knocked out against Brazil in the 1/8 finals, the Portuguese announced his retirement from the national team.

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Pioli ‘pulls’ Leao by the ears and says the Portuguese ‘must make a dash’

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Pioli 'pulls' Leao by the ears and says the Portuguese 'must make a dash'

FROMTefano Pioli, Milan coach, gave an interview on the Italian radio program Sky Calcio Club on Sunday in which he talked about Rafael Leao’s participation in the 2022 Mundial, a test in which the Portuguese striker was a replacement for Fernando Santos. ‘, indicating that he has been talking to his player over the past few days.

“If we talk? They have an obligation to call me at the end of the game. He is happy because Portugal is doing well. It is clear that he would like to play more. I can take advantage of this for a contract extension,” said Pioli, who also spoke about the Portuguese’s renewal process.

“He is fine with us and management and Rafael are talking. We are waiting for good news,” the Transalpine coach fired.

Looking at his player’s short playing time at this 2022 World Cup, Pioli admitted that Rafael Leau would like to have more playing time for the national team, but hinted that the Portuguese striker is not unhappy.

“If he plays a little? It’s hard to judge because Portugal has a very high quality team. Rafael is happy because Portugal is having a good World Cup, but there is a lot of quality and competitiveness in the attacking sector of the Portuguese team. “, – stressed the coach of the Italian, who also left a small warning to Rafael Leau.

“When you see him in training, you immediately understand that he has incredible potential. He has technique and speed that few others have. Over the course of a period, he had to develop and adapt to the reality at Milan, where the pressure is different from what he is. he was in Lille. It took time, but his potential to become a great player was always there. But he still needs to make the leap to become a champion because he can be even more decisive in the opponent’s zone,” he stressed.

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“If you think about Rafael from two years ago, he has made tremendous progress. He’s missing a few things, but he’s smart and approachable. I can give him all the ideas he wants, but his talent must be left free. should improve his heading, given his physique,” he concluded.

Read also: Spaniards say Carlo Ancelotti is “in love” with Rafael Leao

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Portugal, nuts and the Portuguese consumer: a successful trilogy

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Portugal, nuts and the Portuguese consumer: a successful trilogy

Nuts have become part of a limited group of Portuguese agri-food sectors that manage to achieve much-desired food self-sufficiency. In the case of almonds it is 170% and in the case of chestnuts it is 116% in relation to the national consumption.

The value of Portuguese agricultural production in 2021 was 9.6 billion euros, representing a growth rate of 14.6% compared to 2020, and therefore it is fair to say that dried fruits today, with a production of 80,000 tons and exports reaching 100 million euros contributed. to this success.

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