Posts Tagged ‘trade’


Ahmadinejad: sanctions are sacrilege to Islam

October 1, 2012

From AGI (h/t Gates of Vienna) during Ahmadinejad’s visit to the U.N. last week:

New York – Iranian President Ahmadinejad has described sanctions inflicted on his country by the USA, the UK and France as a “sacrilege against Islam”. Speaking in New York where he is attending the United Nations Assembly, and where he spoke at a U.N. debate on the role played by legislation, Ahmadinejad said that sanctions against Islam “violate the rights and the freedom of nations.”

What is Ahmadinejad talking about?  Is he suggesting that sanctions are prohibited by Islam?  It’s an unusual argument, but he isn’t alone.  Watch this video uploaded to Youtube in March showing our old punching bag, Imran Hosein, who asserts that Islam does not permit economic embargos or the use of trade as a weapon.

Imran Hosein is very knowledgeable about his own religion, but what legal and religious basis do his comments have?  One old story supporting such a position may be that a rival tribe of Muhammad imposed trade sanctions against Muhammad’s clan, leading to widespread hunger and, according to one questionable account, the starvation and death of his wife Khadija—a woman of enormous personal wealth:

The other clans of Quraysh implemented a trade embargo on the clan of Banu Hashim, Muhammad’s clan. The embargo lasted for three years and many of the clan starved to death. Khadija, weakened by starvation, died during this time as did his beloved uncle and sole protector, Abu Talib. That was the year 619 CE, “the year of sorrows.”

But that tale turns out to be just another Islamic tear jerker that is contradicted by centuries of economic aggression that followed it.  How do Messrs. Ahmadinejad and Hosein account for:

  • The recent cyber attack against U.S. financial institutions by Iran itself?
  • The international boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel?
  • The economic sanctions adopted by the Arab League against Syria last year?
  • The Turkish prime minister’s call for “UN sanctions on Israel
  • Libya’s 2008 sanctions against Switzerland?
  • The recommendation from Hizbul Mujahideen to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to implement economic sanctions against India?
  • The 1973 Arab oil embargo?
  • The heavy tolls imposed by the Ottoman Empire along the Silk Road that forced Christopher Columbus to search for a water route to circumvent the Middle East to reach the Far East?
  • Perhaps most importantly from the standpoint of Islamic law and tradition, the higher customs duties imposed by Islam’s second Umar, a close companion of Muhammad, who engaged in, according to Islamic sources, something of a trade war against the Roman and Persian empires?

Far from being sacrilegious, sanctions appear to be rather well-suited to Islam.


Italy embraces Syria like a beautiful woman

February 18, 2011

Move over France.  Syria has another suitor.  Italy has increased its imports from Syria by 140 percent since 2009.

The love fest might not be so bad if Italy were getting something equal in return, but Syria is importing as much from Italy.  Neither would it be so bad if Syria had solid anti-money laundering controls in place and could guarantee that profits from its export business weren’t helping fund the abuses of the Syrian regime.

From ANSAmed (with special thanks to GoV):

DAMASCUS, FEBRUARY 16 – In the month of October trade between Italy and Syria was at about 1.7 billion euros, an increase of 88% over 2009, according to the latest ISTAT (Italian national statistics institute) data available, reported by the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE) office in Damascus. Fostering growth in trade between the two countries is especially an increase in Italian imports from Syria, which rose by 140% compared with 2009, and an increase in Italian exports to Syria, which rose by 55.4% on 2009. After 4 consecutive years of a surplus for Italy, the Italy-Syria trade balance saw a slight deficit of 6 million euros, a worsening of the situation compared with 2009 when Italy had a surplus of 195 million euros.