The eastern states surely won’t be all caught up to those of the west by 2019, when the solidarity tax expires. With Europe’s economic slowdown, the upswing in the east has slowed to crawl. The east’s rebound is not comparable to the Wirtschaftswunder (West Germany’s postwar economic miracle ), which put the post–World War II Federal Republic on its feet in less than two decades. The east’s fragile new industries will remain highly susceptible to economic turmoil in the eurozone and elsewhere. The good news on the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s breach is welcome and long overdue, but an extraordinary success story it is not.
The other piece of economic luck has been Lebanon. The Syrian army's Soviet-style gobbling up of Lebanon, with a level of economic production (the gross domestic product, or GDP) four times greater than Syria on a per capita basis, bought a brief economic reprieve. To an extent, Lebanon plays a role for Syria such as Hong Kong does for communist China, serving as the steam valve releasing pent-up economic pressures at home, allowing entrepreneurs to bypass central planners and socialist bureaucracy. 12 Lebanon offers unregulated markets and trade that is largely free; it also serves as the arena of employment for a million Syrians, about a fifth of the entire Syrian labor force. Indeed, with an the unemployment rate in Syria estimated at 12-15 percent, and underemployment probably worse, the Lebanese economy offers the only alternative to starvation for many Syrian families.
The Supreme Council of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference awarded all of German East Africa (GEA) to Britain on 7 May 1919, over the strenuous objections of Belgium.  : 240 The British colonial secretary , Alfred Milner , and Belgium's minister plenipotentiary to the conference, Pierre Orts , then negotiated the Anglo-Belgian agreement of 30 May 1919  : 618–9 where Britain ceded the north-western GEA provinces of Ruanda and Urundi to Belgium.  : 246 The conference's Commission on Mandates ratified this agreement on 16 July 1919.  : 246–7 The Supreme Council accepted the agreement on 7 August 1919.  : 612–3