Incomplete due to student's reassignment to the USA.
Current political Priorities:
For the past few decades Syria has been trying to increase its influence among its Arab neighbours, and achieves an Arab-Israeli peace settlement. Because of Syria’s stand with Iran in the Iran-Iraq war, Syria’s relations with the Arab world were strained. Syria was an active country in the Arab-Israeli War, which cost it the Golan Heights and parts of Syria’s territory. After the war Syria tried very hard to get the Golan Heights back but it only got a very small part of it back. After the war ended Syria worked hard on making relationships with the Arab world better which they are now. Syria was on the side of the Arab nations in the gulf war, which again strained Iraqi-Syrian relations. After the Gulf War Syria started to work on relations with Iraq. Syria is a member of many organisations but of important ones it is a member in the Arab League, Arab Monetary Fund, Council of Arab Economic Unity, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Chamber of Commerce, Islamic Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, INTERPOL, Non-Aligned Movement, Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, Organisation of the Islamic Conference, and the United Nations.
Syria has many allies other then the Arab nations like Iran and Russia. Most of the Arab states are strong allies of Syria although some Arab states do not look eye to eye with Syria such as Iraq. The U.S for many years has been accusing Syria of being a nation that gets terrorism. Syria has been on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism since the list's creation in 1979. Syria has been trying to reach a settlement of peace in the Middle East. In October 2001, Syria was elected to a 2-year term as a no permanent member of the UN Security Council. That term began in January 2002.
Politics and ideology:
Suriyah is known in the world in its long form Syrian Arab Republic and in short form it is Syria. Syria used to be called Suriyah and the long local name for it is Al Jumhuriyah al Arabiyah Al Suriyah. The president of Syria Bashar is al-Asad. The two-vice presidents of Syria are Abd al-Halim ibn Said Khaddam and Muhammad Zuhayr Mashariqa. The prime mister is Muhammad Mustafa Miru, and Permanent Representative to the UN is Mikhail Wahba. The parliamentary branch consists of People's Council or Majlis al-shaab.
Syria government type is republic but it has been under military regime since March 1963. Its constitution was created on 13 March 1973; its legal system is based on Islamic law and civil law. Some special religious courts did not accept obligatory ICJ authority. Its capital is Damascus its is composed of 14 provinces (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah) which are Al Hasakah, Al Ladhiqiyah, Al Qunaytirah, Ar Raqqah, As Suwayda', Dar'a, Dayr az Zawr, Dimashq, Halab, Hamah, Hims, Idlib, Rif Dimashq, Tartus.
Syria’s political parties and leaders are National Progressive Front or NPF, Arab Socialist Renaissance, Arab Socialist Unionist Movement or ASU, Arab Socialist Party, Socialist Unionist Democratic party, Syrian Arab Socialist Party or ASP, and Syrian Communist Party or SCP.
Syria has a variety of agriculture products such as wheat, barley, cotton, lentils, chickpeas, olives, sugar beets, beef, mutton, eggs, poultry and dairy products. 80% of agricultural land is still under the mercy of rain-fed sources, which means if it stops they will face some serious problems. 20% of the labour force work in industry. There is about 15%-25% of the Population is below poverty line. 40% of the Labour force works in agriculture.
Despite the improvement of the severe drought that overwhelmed the region in the late 1990s and the recovery of energy export revenues; Syria is a middle-income developing country with an economy based on agriculture, industry, and energy. Syria's economy faces serious challenges. With almost 60% of its population under the age of 20, unemployment is currently estimated in the range of 25%-30%. Oil production and financial aid flows from the Gulf have slowed. The Industry is mainly composed of petroleum, textiles, food processing, beverages, tobacco, phosphate rock mining.
The imports are equal to $3.5 billion that is composed of machinery and equipment 23%, foodstuffs/animals 20%, metal and metal products 15%, textiles 10%, chemicals 10%. This is mainly from France 11%, Italy 8%, Germany 7%, Turkey 5%, and China 4%.
The exports are about $4.8 billion that is composed of petroleum 65%, textiles 10%, manufactured goods 10%, fruits and vegetables 7%, raw cotton 5%, live sheep 2%, phosphates 1%. This mainly goes to Germany 21%, Italy 12%, France 10%, Saudi Arabia 9%, and Turkey 8%. Syria has made progress in its heavy foreign debt through rescheduling deals with all of its key creditors in Europe. The debts are roughly equal to $22 billion. There are debt owed to the former Soviet Union remains an unsolved problem. Syria mainly receives aid from European countries and from the United States. Syria also receives aids that are equal to $199 million.
Syria was originally part of a much larger region called Greater Syria including present-day Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian. The name Syria was the name given by the ancient Greeks to the land bridge that linked the three continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa. This region never effectively maintained self-rule, but the region still maintained unique cultural aspects that evolved throughout the centuries. The region became under the influence of the Romans and later the Byzantine and conflict between east and west had started.
The Syrian city of Damascus became the seat of the succeeding Ummayid dynasty (661-750), and has remained the regional capital ever since. After this a series of Muslim kingdoms came into power. The region witnessed conflict during the crusades, when European Christian armies came to free the Holy Land from Muslim rule. Turkish dynasty ruled the Syrian region by 1516.
After the First World War the French declared a mandate over Syria. Arab forces aided by the British declared a free independent Syria by 1918. The French and the British did not recognise the state, and the French entered Syria crushing all Arab resistance. Syria did not see independence until after the Second World War. During the Second World War Syria managed to keep its independence in 1945, forming a national army and joining the United Nations. Syria managed to participate in the ill-fated war with Israel in 1948. Military dictatorships started such as the Shishakli Dictatorship taking power and falling.
Of all political parties and pressure groups the Baath party, a pan-Arab socialist group founded in the 1940s by Salah al Din al Bitar and Michel Aflaq, was the most powerful. In 1958 Syria sought a solution to its problems of instability. It united with Egypt and became the United Arab Republic (UAR). Conflict began to arise within the Baath party. Aflaq's adherents, preferring the traditional pan-Arab nationalist views and the regionalists were later to become known as the "extremist" becomes or radical wing of the Baath party problems started to rise. After a period of infighting, the radical Baathists took power in 1966. Assad then began what is commonly called the "Correction Movement", a series of reforms within the government and Baath party. After the death of Haffiz in July 2000, his son Bashar Al Assad took control. Syrian troops - stationed in Lebanon since 1976 in an ostensible peacekeeping role - were withdrawn in April of 2005.