What is the Price of “Resistance”, Mr. Assad?

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Washington DC – December 28, 2009 (Farid Ghadry Blog) — It is no secret why the Assad regime embraces resistance. Not really to avoid western culture or knowhow but rather to extort its way into getting something in return for nothing, while staying in power at the expense of 22 million Syrians.

But “resistance” has its price. We learned today that the Obama administration has blocked the sale of a fleet of Airbuses to Syria. A deal that Assad personally tried to see to its conclusion upon his visit to the Elysée Palace in late November. Having continued terrorizing his neighbors, Assad assumed the US will just roll out the red carpet for him no matter what.

The news come today from the Syrian Minister of Transportation Ya’rob Badr who has set his eyes on the next best alternative: Russian-made Tupolev. It is noteworthy to say here that the Syrian aging civilian fleet functions in a similar fashion to the Syrian Air Force. If you cannot buy spare parts because your country is on the list of terror nations, you just cannibalize the next plane over.

From a personal experience, I must share with RPS readers these facts about a Tupolev I once flew in.

Some ages ago (post Berlin Wall), I had an interest in a Russian company who held some cellular licenses in the regions south of the Volga. I managed to retain a small reputable Wall Street investment firm to do some basic due diligence on the profitability of the business. Part of that process was a first-hand visit to Moscow and then to the south region to meet the executives, inspect the equipment, and analyze the numbers.

In Moscow, we boarded a Tupolev flying to the south. Mind you, Russia, at that time, was just beginning to open-up to the west and its fleet was more of the variety you find in a Museum rather than on tarmacs.

Upon approaching to board the plane, there were no stairs for the passengers to use but rather a small door with a small step ladder (The one you use at home) located by the belly of the plane that ushered you upward to the seating areas. As you climb with difficulty, you are welcomed not by stewardesses but by the luggage compartment, a landing gear staring at you, and a glass turret like the ones you see in an old WWII bombers. Later, we we were told that the airplane can be modified in less than 24-hours to actually become a bona-fide bomber.

From the luxury of Airbuses to step ladders through the luggage department. That is the price of resistance, Mr. Assad. Even terror has its price.

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