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The Butcher's Achilles Heel

It turns out that ruthless, blood-thirsty crackdowns aren’t all that great for business –Bashar Assad’s survival plan is beginning to show some cracks in the form of waning investor confidence and a deteriorating economic outlook.

The Syrian central bank is instituting emergency measures to limit the convertibility of the Syrian pound — a sign that its foreign currency reserves are under pressure from currency flight and sanctions on oil exports — while a number of indicators suggest that domestic economic activity is grinding to a halt.

With the US still reeling from the “days, not weeks” war in Libya, the UN handcuffed by guaranteed opposition from Russia and China, and Turkey still on the fence, it may be that the economy is the only enemy that can force Assad from power.

With or without Assad, Syria is going to be a much more difficult place to live and to govern in the aftermath of the damage done over the past six months. Sadly, it looks like things are going to get worse before they get better.

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