The Federation of Syrian Chambers of Commerce has made a surprising decision to transfer the powers and functions of its president, Muhammad Abu al-Huda al-Lahham, to his deputy, Mazen Hammad. This move is contrary to the established internal structure of the union.
According to reports from local websites loyal to the Syrian regime, the decision was unanimously agreed upon by the chambers of commerce in all governorates. As a result, Damascene businessman Lahham’s responsibilities will be assumed by Hammad, who currently serves as the head of the Tartous Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The selection of Hammad as president goes against the union’s structure, which dictates that the head of the Damascus Chamber of Commerce should hold the position of president. Additionally, the heads of the Aleppo and Homs chambers of commerce are designated as deputies, with one of them acting on behalf of the president in case of a vacancy.
Hammad’s appointment as vice president earlier, and now as the head of the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Commerce, is in violation of the declared internal structure. The presence of the head of the Tartous Chamber of Commerce and Industry in this role raises concerns and questions about the decision-making process within the federation.
What does Iran have to do with it?
According to reports from the website Ektesad, the intelligence services of the Syrian regime have instructed all heads of chambers of commerce in the governorates to convene a meeting with the purpose of dismissing Lahham and transferring his powers and duties to Hammad.
Confidential sources, as cited by Ektesad, suggest that one of the main reasons for this action is the accusation against Lahham of “obstructing economic cooperation with Iran.”
During an extraordinary session in the People’s Assembly last week, Lahham delivered a speech calling for the cancellation of several decrees issued by the President of the Syrian regime. He also expressed his position on the deteriorating economic situation, blaming it on restrictions imposed on merchants, which has led to their emigration from the country.
On the other hand, the pro-regime Syria Steps website claims that the change in the union’s presidency is part of a broader effort to restructure its work. The goal is to enhance its presence in the economic scene, serve the Syrian economy, foster commercial activities, and bolster foreign economic relations and intra-trade between Syria and various countries.
It’s worth noting that the same website has previously launched a fierce attack on Lahham. He was accused of prioritizing the interests of merchants over the interests of the homeland and citizens. The website even compared him to former President Mohammed Ghassan al-Qalaa, stating that the latter was more flexible in dealing with similar matters, according to an “economist” as cited.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.