Remittances and propaganda

Posted in economics, foreign policy, Islamists, labour, politics, West Asia by jrahman on December 22, 2012

I don’t really have much to say about how the war crimes trial is unfolding.  However, I think it’s important to push back against a propaganda being peddled.  According to some anti-trial voices (in facebook, Bangla blogs, newspapers, and even some TV talk show stars), the trial has annoyed the Saudis, and remittances are crashing because of that.

The thing is, there is no evidence of that in the data.  The chart below shows through the year growth in total remittance and remittance from Saudi Arabia.  Do you see the slump in remittance from the kingdom as we approach the trial conclusion? 


(Source: CEIC Asia, smoothed by three month moving average).

There may be reasons to worry about the outlook for remittance — there could be a slump in oil prices, or there might be political turmoil in the Gulf.  We should be concerned with the  human rights situation in the region.  But Saudi annoyance over the war crimes trial is causing a remittance slump — that’s nonsense.

13 Responses

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  1. Rumi said, on December 24, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    There is no reason to believe that there is a policy level Saudi government reprisal against the trial exercises in Bangladesh. Although our PM Hasina was seen hitting back against Saudi Arabia like the way Don Quixote was going after the monsters.

    However, looking at the graph, from a non economists perspective, I do not see the natural and expected upward trend. Bangladesh expat population is growing, so is Saudi economy/ GDP. How that does not reflect the trend?

    Do the trends reflect confidence of expats on Bangladesh? I see spikes after fall of first Hasina govt in 2001 and fall of second BNP government in 2006.

    • jrahman said, on December 31, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      That’s a good question, to which I have no ready answer. Will investigate and write later.

  2. Diganta said, on December 25, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Saudis care a little about Jamaat … but the other way around is not true 🙂 so … the propaganda was inevitable!

  3. My Complaint said, on December 26, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I don’t think so. This is cause of our foreign policy. Some of our dirty politics.

  4. fugstar said, on December 27, 2012 at 7:23 am

    you don’t have much to say about how the trial is unfolding?

    • jrahman said, on December 31, 2012 at 12:23 pm

      No, not really. The upside of writing in your own blog (as opposed to something like UV) is that you can focus on things that you know about or are interested, rather than trying to be an expert on an issue like the trial because that’s what everybody’s talking about.

  5. Diganta said, on December 29, 2012 at 2:47 am

    BTW, the recent Turkish PM’s letter has made me rethink of the whole thing – Jamaat might still have a good propaganda going in many different places.

    • jrahman said, on December 31, 2012 at 12:40 pm

      Turkey has even less leverage. If the accused are found guilty, and sentenced to death, and the government is inclined to carry out the sentence, then there is little Turkey can do about it.

      The Turkish PM’s letter is interesting from a different perspective. I wonder if the Turkish government will try to aid ideological fellow travellers the way Soviet Union or Red China used to aid communist parties in different countries (including East Pakistan / Bangladesh). In the post-trial world, with Jamaat (or whatever remains of it) led by post-1971 people, Turkish (and Egyptian) assistance can have an impact.

      • Rumi said, on January 1, 2013 at 7:09 am

        Turkey itself has a fairly secular society with newly earned religious freedom. I do not think Turkish establishment will back a shariah based rule. I feel what Turkey is doing is just creating a momentum and a paper trail on this issue. Turkey is very tactfully moving towards regaining ( after caliphet) their leadership role in Musim world. It is merely serving it’s own ambitions. What Turkey might do is spearhead OIC based campaigns where Turkey will propose measures like expulsion of Bangladesh from OIC etc. Such proposals will give Turkey a leverage among Muslims around the globe. But for making such moves in the future, Turkey will need some background work and paper trail. We probably are seeing those background works.

      • fugstar said, on January 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm

        I have a lot of respect for Erdogan, Gul, the AKP party and the IHH organisation (behind the flotilla to Gaza). AKP leadership have shown some statemanship over their dealings in recent years. Something that we seem to have a problem with.

        Seeing Erdogan’s wife and foreign minister standing with the Rohingya in Myanmar, listening to their sorrows made with wishful about Bangladeshi leadership and integrity of being. Dipu Moni and the Awami League, and NGOs like BRAC do nothing for them. The Government labels them extremists and jamatis.

        I heard that the Bangladesh government arrested a Turkish MP for distributing qurbani meat to them this year. And it blocks assistance to them. I realise that 71sta seculib mentality has no truck with being part of the dysfunctional ummah, but how about the human race?

        It was hilarious to read about the Nirmul and Nirmul 2.0 committees throwing an out of date Kurdish killing condemnation at the AKP, who aren’t the secular nationalists who bear responsibility for it.

        Youth movements in Malaysia, and the top leadership of Turkey may not have the money and influence of saudi. but i think they have some moral authority. Its fascinating that seculibs seem to be handing over moral authority to islamic orientated people with these trials. Whilst bangladeshis in bangladesh are still afraid to share the tribunalgate evidence even on social media.

        more interestingly (probably) to you.

        If Hasina and the Awami leadership order and carry out the executions, with that be Hasina’s death warrant?

  6. jrahman said, on January 3, 2013 at 10:59 am

    I think the probability of Turkey (or anyone else) pushing for expulsion of Bangladesh for hanging any of these people is close to zero. Fazlul Quader Chowdhury’s stature in Pakistani establishment and its allies was in the Arab-Muslim world was considerably higher than anyone currently on trial. He died in jail without any trial in 1973. That didn’t stop OIC from giving Sheikh Mujib a gala reception in 1974.

    As for any execution being Hasina’s death warrant — doubt it. Don’t be fooled by the sound and fury in Deshi cyberspace on this issue. Rest of the world cares little about Bangladesh’s historical score settling. As long as she is the prime minister, she will be safe — this is not 1975, and it would be highly unlikely that there is a Jamaati Beant Singh (Indira’s Sikh bodyguard-turned-assassin) in her entourage. If Awami League were to lose office in the next election, its top leaders will probably spend most of their time in secure West — more like Altaf Hussain (Muhajir leader) than the hapless Bhuttos.

  7. Shafiq said, on January 4, 2013 at 4:37 am

    Hasina blithely disregarded pressure from USA and Hillary on the issue of Yunus, the sole superpower and the 2nd most powerful woman in the world respectively. She can weather desultory winds of displeasure form countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

    In my opinion, Bangladesh is not important enough before these countries to bother for a full foreign affairs row. Saudi Arabia knows that its basic foreign policy goals in Bangladesh will change little with change in government party. If Bangladesh really wanted to go secular then it may be a different story.

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