Discuss about the Sources for Future Reconstruction in Syria.
The continuous period of merciless civil war has left the country in ruins with its adverse and gruesome outcome. The schools, medical and other infrastructures are the most targeted in bombing campaigns, thus, causing a decline in economic output by 60 percent as compared to 2010. The physical destruction of the country has a social impact as migration and displacement of millions of people have drastically devastated the social fabric of the country, giving rise to religious and ethnic intolerance and violence in the country. Such devastating conditions makes reconstruction phase of the country more challenging and intricate in future post-war efforts (Devarajan and Mottaghi 2016). Under such circumstances, it becomes important to recognize allies that are not only politically willing but also are also practically capable of aiding the country with substantial financial resources.
However, besides aiding the country with financial resources, it is equally important to reach political compromise to end the conflict in a manner that guarantees a satisfactory political stability in the end as stability is the pre-requisite to devise any re-construction plan (Harrowell 2016). This paper analyzes the international frameworks that act as sources for reconstructing the nation and its impact of such international assistance on the nationals of the country. It further highlights the challenges that may impede the reconstruction of Syria post-war and the possibilities to overcome certain challenges.
Sources of Reconstruction: Countries as sources of reconstruction in Syria
The seven-year conflict in Syria remains to be unresolved resulting in displacement of millions of Syrians outside the border of the nation, often in refugee camps while war is continued all over the country. There are 6.5 million people who have been presently displaced within the country and more than 5 million have fled to seek refuge in other countries. The infrastructure of the country has been destroyed with an approximate cost to Syria of $226bn. However, there is an international belief that President Bashar al-Assad and its allies shall achieve victory over the conflict and initiate rebuilding of the nation. Russia, Turkey, US, Iran, EU and China has played significant part in the Syrian conflict (Estrada, Khan and Park 2017). The following list provides information concerning the countries planning to aid Syria in its reconstruction process and gives details about their initiatives and plans for future of Syria.
Role of the European Union
In a conference held in Brussels, European Union Foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini announced the proposals relating to Syria reconstruction plan that includes planning ranging from organizing elections to demining. The EU head announced that the EU should attempt to encourage parties in Syria to undergo necessary compromises (Howorth 2014).
. The foreign policy of EU has obligated the nation to play a significant role in the post-war phase of the country to avert the errors committed during reconstruction if Iraq and Libya when the nations were left to act as per their own planning which resulted in devastating outcomes. The EU head further declared that EU is ready to initiate measures as soon as there is a genuine political transition from the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in progress (Abuzayan, Whyte and Bell 2015).
The conference held in Brussels can be perceived as an opportunity for the parties to coordinate their efforts to end the conflict and assist the nation in its reconstruction. Mogherini pointed out the significance of obtaining support of regional nations onside such as Saudi Arabia, which stands in opposition to Assad, Iran, which supports the President in rejecting the demand for him to step down (Crawley and Skleparis 2018). The EU head announced that among the small steps that EU could undertake to reconstruct Syria includes colleting fund to support the re-building expenses including assistance provided to the country in the form of monitoring, security and demining the conflict in the nation.
Further, she announced that the EU has already assembled approximately €9.4 million where a significant amount having been spent on humanitarian missions within Syria. The EU also may assist the country to restore its basic services like health, education and water to exhibit that it is advantageous to end the war and maintain peace. The EU may also assist Syria in drafting a new Constitution and develop election organizations with the assistance of election management and the EU electoral observation mission.
In order to bring an end to the ongoing conflict in Syria, which cost around 320000 lives and displaced millions since 2011 during the Assad protests that turned into civil war, the Union has consistently provided support to the attempts made by the UN to resolve the conflict (Asseburg and Oweis 2017). The future of Assad is the main determinant to decide the reconstruction of the nation post-war. While several rebel-groups supported by Turkey and United States have demanded Assad to step down in a settlement, Russia being a long-time ally to Syria has supported as well as aided the nation in terms of military to fight against such rebel groups. The rationale behind EU’s ambitious plan to aid Syria in its reconstruction process is that it perceives the reconstruction as a ‘dividend’ for peace that would encourage the parties in Syria to make indispensable compromises.
Role of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia expressed willingness to play fundamental role in the reconstruction efforts of Syria under the appropriate conditions, referring to the condition of anonymity. King Salman informed Vladimir Putin, the Russian President about its disapproval of investing funds that was required to serve Iran and its militias owing to the presence of the countries in the war-zone country. Syria lacks two essential elements like lack of natural resources and high tariffs. The oil reserve of the country has been declining due to depleting reserves amounting to only 0.2 percent of global production. Due to high tariffs, Syrian products have become less competitive compared to imports from nations with which Syria has free trade agreements (Buchanan 2015).
Saudi Arabia is willing to assist in reconstructing Syria and shall engage in any related planning only when the Syrian people would come to a political solution without resorting to any political intrusion. King Salman of Saudi Arabia also contended that Iran must cease interfering with the internal affairs of the countries located in that region and must refrain from continuing any activities that is responsible for destabilizing the particular region (Diansaee and Yurtaev 2017).
Saudi Arabia has stated that it will contribute in the reconstruction process only when the nation has a new government and a new regime that aims at achieving stability. This would only assist in achieving stability and developing a means of understanding with all the components present within the Syrian society. This would not only help Syria in its rebuilding process but will also restore its relations with Saudi Arabia (Devarajan and Mottaghi 2016).
Saudi Arabia plans to work together with Russia in the reconstruction process of Syria and bring together its fragmented position, leading it to political process as asserted by the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Adel al-Jubeir (Devarajan and Mottaghi 2016). The alignment of both the countries to restore Syria is evident from the fact that both the countries have agreed to safeguard the territorial integrity of Syria and state institutions. Both the countries have also agreed to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and they have affirmed the principle of territorial integrity. Saudi Arabia is said to have planned to restore the country beyond financial assistance (more detail).
Role of India
India has reported to be willing to dealing with significant reconstruction projects in Syria, which is evident from the fact that it has hosted senior Syrian officials to discuss about its proposals to assist the country in its reconstruction process. India has already renewed its commitment towards its pre-war projects, particularly the Tishreen Power plant project that can be perceived as the premier developmental undertaking of India in Syria. India has expressed its willingness to commence the project only if the Syria regime is willing to provide security guarantees for Indian people and the Indian companies. In fact, the security scenarios have been subjected to review to determine whether the project could be initiated any time in the future. India had already extended credit line to Syria for $100 million prior to the war but the project hauled when the war escalated (Chan and Lee 2016).
Syria and India have always maintained friendly ties throughout the war period and the officials from both the countries have been travelling to each nation on business purpose. The Assad regime has invited India to take part in the reconstruction process though there are no immediate projects that could be commenced between both the countries. Syria has also sought larger role for the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) in negotiations pertaining to the reconstruction and crisis efforts. Before the BRICS summit in Goa, there were ongoing ideas on the possibility of a proposal introduced by BRICS regarding providing fund in the reconstruction process of Syria pushed by India. Nevertheless, this proposal could not be implemented due to the deteriorating situation in Syria due to the civil war (Abdenur 2016).
India has maintained a favorable relationship with the Syrian regime from both the historical as well as from a contemporary perspective. Syria has appreciated the manner in which BRICS have dealt with the crisis and has requested the countries to play a more active and constructive role in providing solution to the crisis. Although the country does not seem to have undertaken any immediate measure in providing crisis resolution immediately, it must strive to take an active part in the international negotiations for developing consensus with the global community. In the past years, India had participated in the UN sponsored Geneva II conference in 2014, wherein the Former Minister of External affairs Salman Khurshid had outlined the standpoint of the country against a military solution. The country had committed to contribute $4 million in humanitarian aid through the Kuwait International Conferences (Crawley and Skleparis 2018).
Role of China
Western powers are not willing to assist the country in rebuilding Syria post the civil war as it is assumed that these powers believe that the wrong side has won. Although Iran and Russia played a significant role in the outcome of the war, it is believed they are not willing to spend quarter-trillion dollars needed to reconstruct the country. However, Vice-President of China-Arab Exchange Association asserts that there is a growing opportunity in Syria. He states that the nation perceives huge interest among the Chinese companies as there is a huge business potential in the country, which requires to be entirely rebuilt (Cobain et al. 2016).
Syria has expressed similar interest and enthusiasm in the willingness of China to contribute in the reconstruction process. The country is willing to usher in the Chinese companies with open arms as soon as possible to play an active role in its reconstruction process. The other western powers such as the United States and its Gulf and European allies that have played an important role in supporting the Syrian rebels, have been urging for immediate departure of Syrian leader as they believe he is incapable of stabilizing the country with no future plans,. However, China estimates that rebuilding Syria implies US$2 billion worth of investment during this stage. In fact, China has expressed that companies like China National Heavy Duty Truck Company have been attending Homs and Tartus, Damascus as the companies are aiming at initiating projects of reconstructing the country by constructing airports, hospitals, bridges, roads and restore communications and electricity (Chan and Lee 2016).
China asserts that these projects shall enable the country to stabilize and entering into reconstruction of this country is possible as it matches with Chinese strategy. This is because Syria already formed a fundamental connection on the Silk Road and the country is ready to embark on its most ambitious plan to build the multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative as is expressed by President Xi Jinping. This project shall aim at paving a path for Chinese web of transportation links and trade all over Africa and Eurasia. Recently, the Chinese government hosted the “First Trade Fair on Syrian Reconstruction Projects” during which a Chinese-Arab business group declared a $2 billion commitment from the Chinese government for contributing in the industrial parks in Syria (Chan and Lee 2016).
However, despite such magnificent planning, the Chinese Business has an obstacle that might impede the commencement of projects in Syria. The settlements in Euros and dollars are prohibited because of the EU and US sanctions to sever regime of Mr. Assad from the global economy. Nevertheless, this indicates that without compromising on the future of Mr. Assad, Syria is not likely to receive any assistance on its reconstruction for many coming years. In the words of Professor Robert Ford, former US Ambassador to Damascus stated that Syria requires billions of dollar for its rebuilding process while the projects and planning amount to hundreds of millions of dollars, which also implies that the country is not likely to receive immediate assistance (Speckhard, Shajkovci and Yayla 2017).
Role of Iran
Iran is also expected to play a significant role in reconstruction process of Syria. Iran asserted that it would reconstruct and rehabilitate electricity infrastructure in Deir Ezzor and Damascus due to which an Iranian company was awarded a contract to supply electricity to Aleppo.It is also stated that Iran has committed to build a power plant in Latakia Province. In 2017, the Iranian Reconstruction Authority in March has declared its plan to rehabilitate 55 schools in Aleppo province. The Governor of Aleppo, Hossein Diyab, stated that Iran was going to play a significant role in the reconstruction process in Syria as is evident from the Tehran development, which has initiated attempts in small-scale reconstruction (Scharf 2016).
The Syrian Prime Minister assured the Iranian lawmakers who visited the country that Damascus will give more priority to the Iranian companies and, in addition, the companies shall be provided with incentives to participate in the reconstruction process and make investments in the Syrian market. According to reports, the participation of Iran in the reconstruction of Syria shall be assigned to Sepah, or the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC] owing to the security situation in Syria (Patten 2015). The Sepah IRGC is the elite military force of Iran that is responsible for protecting the Islamic regime against external and internal threats. The guards formed the most powerful economic factor and strengthened their influence over political decisions. It operates on independently and significantly in sea, land and air forces.
It is also noted that the Syrian government shall decide the extent to which Iran should participate in the reconstruction process of Syria and the initial work with respect to rebuilding in progress. The Syrian government has granted the IGRC companies with beneficial contracts on a non-bidding basis. For instance, one such beneficial contract that was signed between the Iranian and Syrian government was a contract to construct a mobile phone network in Syria that was awarded to the IRGC-affiliated Iranian Mobile Telecommunication Company, which formed an additional source of revenue for the military force of Iran (Patten 2015).
Role of Russia
Russians have been increasing their ties and presence with Syria sine soviet time. The regional developments over decades brought Syria closer to the Russians and the presence of the Russians have proved to be more influential in Syria compared to the Western nations. Russia has received a conditional pledge to extend support to Syria in its post-war reconstruction from Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during his recent visit to the Kremlin as per the reports of high-diplomatic sources. Syrian government is willing to enhance exchange of trade with Russia and concentrate on development of suitable environment to attract investments for stabilizing the economy of the country. Syria has expressed its willingness to implement the projects settled by the Syrian-Russian joint government Committee for the enhancement of economic, trade and technical cooperation (Hoxha and Hanitzsch 2017).
The Syrian government is grateful to the strong support that Russia has been extending to Syria to assist them in safeguarding the cultural and sovereignty identity. Russia is equally willing to assist Syria in rebuilding the country that has been destroyed by the terrorist activities in several services, economic and production fields. Russia has confirmed its willingness to secure economic cooperation with Syria by conducting regular conversation dealing with several ways to benefit from the investment opportunities and other facilities provided by the Syrian Government (Hinnebusch 2017). This is due to the previous declaration made by a Russian trade delegation in Damascus regarding the involvement of the Russian companies in Syria’s post-war reconstruction. The particular visit by Russia paved the way for contracts worth $1 billion and the lately, the private security contractors have been appreciated for playing significant role in their combat operation relating to lucrative gas and oil contract.
The Syrian government is reported to have invited the Russian companies to take an active part in the reconstruction process of the nation (Diansaee and Yurtaev 2017). The country aims at concentrating on the social, economic and cultural fields along with rehabilitation of the infrastructure. Russia has further asserted that it is willing to supply the Russian market with Syrian agricultural products on a regular basis and shall resume exportation of the Russian products to Syria. Moscow is said to be willing to play a significant role for Saudi Arabia and its Gulf partners as per the capability of these nations to provide legitimacy to the Syrian solution. Moscow believes that the solution provided to Syria should be such that lasts for long and provided the country with stability.
Lately, there has been a strong disagreement between Russia and EU regarding the reconstruction of Syria post conflict. On one hand, Russia expressed its willingness to commence with the reconstruction project in Syria within a short period and expected the European Union to recover the expenses of reconstruction. On the other hand, the EU officials have stated that the destruction caused in Syria was the result of the armed operations of Russian forces. Russia held that the EU should be held responsible if it fails to identify that, it is necessary to support a program that is worth billion of Euros. The EU construed the statement made by Russia as an effort of the country to take advantage of the dilemma of EU over the refugee crisis in Syria. The EU states that Russia is reducing the flow of the Syrian refugees without coming into sight as the country responsible for preventing the Syrian seek refuge in another country, which would result in the incline of the Assad’s regime (Kfir 2015).
However, it is clear that the political solution that will end the conflict shall have a deep and direct impact on any reconstruction plan, the international nations assisting in reconstruction, in particular. Presently, it has been observed that the country is not likely to receive any international contributors as long as Assad is in power for the transnational period and longer. However, this is not true in case of China and Russia. This is because Russia has been an ally to Syria, and China considers reconstruction of Syria as a significant investment. For instance, gulf monarchies like Qatar and Saudi Arabia along with Turkey have been demanding the departure of Assad, though Turkey has recently softened this demand owing to its increased alignment with Russia. Moscow is financially reluctant to take part in the reconstruction process and is encouraging the West, particularly Europe to take a leading role (Abuzayan, Whyte and Bell 2015). The only possible international donor seems to be China, which is only willing to take part in the rebuilding of Syria if the political compromise guarantees stability in long-term which in reality, seems to be problematic, given the present situation of the country.
Other sources of reconstruction
Role of Banks as sources of Syrian reconstruction
Several years of conflict have left the Syrian economy into ruins resulting in a decline in the domestic product by more than its half (Khalaf 2015). Although the government has succeeded in retaking the city of Aleppo, its financial decline has weakened the ability to exercise control over the country. The country was experiencing economic difficulties and the hike in water and natural gas prices made the situation worse (Hilhorst 2016). The country is on the threshold of a wheat crisis when Russia stepped in and assisted the country with wheat supply from last year’s wheat harvest. The country further lacks economic development strategy and the state-owned as well as 14 private banks have suffered economic losses during the war. The deposits in private commercial banks have pushed back from 13.8$bn in 2010 to $3.5bn in 2016 as per reports of World Bank.
In regards to the financial assistance from the financial institutions, the World Bank has been supporting Syria through technical assistance before the commencement of the crisis and provided policy advice with respect to the human development, private sector development, environmental sustainability and social protection as well. The bank ceased its operational activities and missions to Syria due to the worse security situation in early 2011 (Jaafar and Woertz 2016).
The bank is responding in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to address the impact of the Syrian conflict on the neighboring countries like Jordan and Lebanon. The bank has conducted substantial work on the economic and social impact of the refugees in the neighboring countries to Syria. The World Bank has rapidly prepared reports to aid the countries hosting the Syrian refugees and have assembled substantial grant to fund countries assisting the Syrian refugees to assist them financially (Zeitoun 2017). The Bank has granted assistance of US $150 million to enable Jordan assist the adverse impact on Syrian crisis on the economy of Jordan.
Additionally, the World Bank is leading with a wide range of International Financial Institutions [IFIs] with two new financing mechanisms under the MENA Financing Initiative. The first financing mechanism ensures that the nations affected by the Syrian war are provided with financial aid on concessional terms. The MENA countries like Lebanon and Jordan are middle-income countries, who are coping with large inflows of refugees despite having less accessibility to financial development on concessional terms (Weinthal, Zawahri and Sowers 2015). In 2013, the Bank has developed an emergency Services and Social Resilience Program [ESSRP] project that provides residence to refugees and meets the needs of urban centre of host countries that provides such residence of the Syrian refugees like Jordan. The bank has funded US$3 million for supporting 250000 refugees.
Therefore, the World Bank mechanism combines the financial grants provided by the international nations along with the loans from Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and endows the MENA countries loans on concessional terms to provide basic services to the refugee population like water, education and health. The second financing mechanism is to control guarantees from the supporting countries so that the World Bank may issue bonds to provide financial assistance for reconstruction projects and recovery projects in countries that are affected by the Syrian conflict.
The bank stated that reconstruction expenses is estimated to be between $100 billion and $300 billion and there is hardly any chance that the reconstruction process shall take place unless a comprehensive political deal is cracked which seems to be difficult in the given situation (Moore and Pubantz 2017). Although Iran and Russia are expected to provide funds to the country in its rebuilding process, and consider the assistance as an investment, but they will not provide direct economic assistance on large scale except supplying oil through Tehran. However, the countries stand to obtain economical benefits from the deals with Syria.
Role of agencies as sources of Syrian reconstruction
Thousands of Syrians have forcibly left their home country and fled to neighboring countries since the commencement of the civil war in 2011, where majority of the refugees have been seeking shelter in host communities. Under such inconvenient and severe living circumstances, it required the international community to support such refugees on the grounds of humanity (Elamein et al. 2017). The prolonged crisis is likely to deprive the refugees of their right and opportunity to study which might result in significant loss of human resources that would have been useful in reconstructing Syrian Arab Republic post the civil war.
Under such circumstances, the Japanese government declared in May 2016 that Japan would accept approximately 150 Syrian young people as students for five years with the objective of providing educational opportunities to Syrian youth who will make contribution to the Syrian reconstruction in the future. Accordingly, the Japan International cooperation Agency [JICA] developed a program that signified “Japanese initiative for the future of the Syrian Refugees [JISR]”. The program has been established in association with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for a maximum 100 Syrian refugees that are residing in neighboring countries to obtain Master degree at Japanese universities (Buchanan 2015).
The objective of JISR is to extend support to the Syrian refugees who possess the potential to make contribution to the reconstruction of the Syria in the future, post the civil war. Apart from enabling the youths to study their Masters in the Japanese universities, the JISR further intends to encourage the Syrian individuals who possess potential to assist in the rebuilding process of Syria. This support provided to the Syrian youth shall encourage them further to rebuild the country and engage in peace building at the right time in the future. The agency also ensures that the youths while studying in Japan are not only encouraged to assist Syria in its rebuilding process but also comprehends the Japanese people while such youths stay in the neighboring country. Furthermore, the JISR program also aims at fortifying the mutual friendship between the Japan and Syria by encouraging the Syrian youths to comprehend the Japanese people, society and the system of the country (Stent 2016).
The Syrian conflict has left the country into ruins and has caused significant human sufferings. The international community is said to be profoundly committed to work together in rebuilding Syria’s future and securing them a peaceful nation (Telhami 2015). To that effect, the international community laid importance in maintaining an independent, sovereign, territorially and unitary integral nation where the Syrian refugees will be provided with security and safety. The international community aims at addressing immediate resilience and humanitarian needs within the country while supporting the efforts made by neighboring countries in hosting more than five million refugees, which is led, by efforts of German, Turkish and the EU.
The hosting countries and other international participants who are ready to make their part of contribution in the rebuilding process of Syrian has been generous enough to pledge $6 billion in 2017 in addition to multi-year pledges of $3.73 billion for the year 2018-2020. Furthermore, humanitarian assistance is not sufficient to relieve the Syrian refugees from their sufferings unless there is a political solution negotiated between the Syrian parties. The permanent solution to end the prolong conflict in the nation is to undergo inclusive and genuine political transition in the country (Cobain et al. 2016). This can be achieved if the solution to the conflict is aimed at serving the need of the Syrian people by the democratic nations ensuring safety and security.
Impact of foreign aid on people and local areas
As international or foreign aid organizations are striving to use their money effectively to enable the country recover from the crisis, they consider the Syrian crisis to be the worst in the world. It caused millions to flee from their home country and the number of displaced people continues to increase with no assurance of the cessation of the conflict (Hubbard 2015). The post civil war has impacted over 12 million people residing in the nation where 3 million have been displaced in the neighboring countries and 7.6 million people displaced within the country (Kirk 2016).
Refugee camps are being run by the foreign aid agencies to aid the refugees. CARE runs programs in the large camps located in Jordan where the Syrian refugees had sought shelter. Since the UN refugee organizations run camps based on formal registrations, the actual number of camps have been increasing with the continuous flow of refugees (Khalaf 2015). During winter, the aid groups face several challenges to provide water, food and sanitation services as well as winter clothing, mattresses and weatherized shelter to the refugees who are in need of such services.
The United States Agency for International Development [USAID] and Government of Jordan [GOJ] have been in association to provide food, water, education, health and economic development to the Syrian refugees displaced in Jordan. The USAID has re-structured its existing programs to take into consideration the Syrian refugee crisis and has further provided financial assistance to lay emphasis on mental stress or trauma that has been caused to Syrian refugees.
The US has been reached Syria to provide children less than 5 years with medical services with mobile teams have been engaged in supplying critical medical supplies to the Syrians (Lostal and Cunliffe 2016). The country has also provided additional funds to equip the trauma centers with the help of the local partners of IRC to provide critical emergency and care services to patients injured from bombs and gunfire. Further, the war has made it difficult for the girls and women of the nation to survive, in particular, as they bear the emotional and physical scars of the war. They are still being subjected to violence in the new communities or back at their homes in Syria.
The IRC with the support from the US, reaches the Syrian women and girls with their social worker teams who travel to villages and places to determine the safety of women and girls. They also provide them with therapeutic services, critical support and care as well as conduct special programs for the teenagers.
Despite such aid on the part of the foreign nationals including the neighboring countries, the country is going through a devastating situation. Since the hospitals and other medical institutions are being targeted, the repression campaign is costing the life of many people. according to the accounts or reports from the patients and the doctors, hospitals were subjected to strict monitoring and surveillance and that people are arrested and are persecuted inside the institutions. Even Doctors who are treating the injured are being labeled as ‘enemies of the regime’ leading to their arrest, imprisonment, torture and death (Williams 2015).
The economic and the social impact of the conflict are so substantial that foreign aid is not sufficient. Although the international agencies and humanitarian organizations are striving to extend their support to the people in need but the lack of accessibility of the vulnerable people and refugees to such aids such as food, water, clothing, health care system has become the most significant impediment to the rebuilding of the country (Chaziza 2016). Usually, Syria is not a major oil producer but it produced 370,000 barrels per day (Bpd) prior to the war, which amounted to 0.4 percent of the global supplies. It also exported less than 150,000 bpd primarily to Europe. Since the country lacks oil products, it is compelled to import them from abroad. However, severe decline in the oil receipts and the disturbance in trade have placed more pressure on the external balance of the country, which further resulted in the increasing exploitation of its international reserves.
Coalition of interests of different countries and institutes
Almost after seven years, the prolonged civil war is finally ending and the great and middle powers of the Middle East are looking forwards towards the reconstruction of Syrian. The leaders of Russia, Turkey and Iran attended a meeting in the Russian resort town, Sochi, to decide about the future of Syria. Russian has played a significant role in the Syrian conflict. In 2015, Russia went to Syria to support the country in defeating the ISIS terrorist group. It also prevented external powers like the Saudi Arabia and the US from pressuring Syria to set up a new government (Estrada, Khan and Park 2017).
Russia insists to maintain territorial unity of Syria, however, it is not the only external power to support the country during the war, as Moscow also supported Assad’s regime with its air power. Iran supported the country by fighting the ISIS group on the ground along with its allied militias. Tehran wishes to institutionalize its presence in the nation and support the country to in its reconstruction process, which will also enable the country to maintain a physical contact with its primary regional supporter, Hezbollah.
Russia is aware of the interests of the Iran and it seeks to maintain good relation with Iran. Moscow understands the security concerns of Israel in the presence of the armed Shiite groups close to the Israeli border and Moscow wishes to make use of the Russian Diaspora in Israel for its own technological, economic and financial benefit. Iran being a neighbor and a regional power offers numerous opportunities from nuclear energy to arms. Russia seems to enter into a compromise between Iran and Israel based on the legitimate interests of each other in the reconstruction process of Syria (Benmelech and Klor 2016).
India is also willing to provide economic assistance in the reconstruction process of Syria based on the legitimate interests associated with the project Damascus that has commenced in Syria. Syria, In return, promises to expand the project in majority cities of Syria. This will commence after the country is freed from the terror group ISIS and al-Nusra along with other relevant anti-social groups. Besides, Syria believes that India has already been a victim of terror attacks, which makes the country, extends more support to Syria to fight against the peril (Singh 2017).
Further, India and Syria both are aware of the after-effects of terror attacks very intimately. Therefore, it is only obvious that both the nations work together towards developing a ‘genuine coalition’ to combat terrorism (Harrowell 2016). In fact, Assad asserted that India has been one of the countries apart from Russia and Iran that has been extending full support to Syrian as per the International Law and the UN Charter. The country has been independent in its decision to stand by Assad’s regime despite being pressurized by other nations to end all ties with Syria.
Example of reconstruction in the past: Reconstruction of Iraq
During the reconstruction process of Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Kuwait were among t several other countries that have promised to provide economic assistance in the form of direct investment and loans to assist the country in its rebuilding process. Iraq needed an estimated amount of $ 88.2bn to attain its goals and objectives out of which $22bn was need immediately (Singh 2017). The reconstruction process of Iraq was being discussed in a conference located in Kuwait, where the EU, World Bank, UN collected funds from non-state actors, state actors and even from the private investors.
Similar to the war like Syria, Iraq had to fight against ISIS group that had destroyed hospitals, schools and homes of the country and the country aimed at rebuild its demolished infrastructure and adversely affected economy. Kuwait pledged $2bn in the forms of investments and loans and Saudi Arabia promised it would provide $1.5 bn. Qatar pledged $1bn whereas Turkey vowed to assist Iraq with $5bn as an economic assistance. The only difference between the post-war conditions in Iraq and Syria is that the destruction is more severe than the condition of Iraq and rebuilding expenses is comparatively higher than that of Iraq (Scharf 2016). Further, gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and Western countries like USA, have placed a condition of removing Assad’s regime and set up a new government and only then the countries would extend their economic assistance.
Challenges and Possibilities in Reconstruction of Syria
The main challenges in the reconstructing efforts and rebuilding the future of Syria include the existence of political tyranny and the incline in compromises between the countries, which further leads to increase in power suppression (Wille 2016). Secondly, the political oppression was the sole reason for social moment and during the war, the political oppression that was prevailing prior to the commencement of the war led to political fundamentalism and political tyranny. These external and internal powers have abused their authority and infringed all social and human rights, which shall impede reconstruction process that is required to address the Syrian destructive post-war consequences.
Thirdly, President Assad’s regime shall seek to control any reconstruction effort and such funds shall be used up in restoring the control of the regime instead of using it for reconstructing infrastructures and helping the victims. There is also evidence stating that Assad’s regime has appropriated humanitarian assistance over the last few years (Patten 2015). Fourthly, the dozen of millions of dollars that is required for the physical reconstruction of Syria is not available. Countries like USA and Saudi Arabia are reluctant to contribute in Syria unless the country throws down Assad’s regime.
From the above discussion, it can be inferred that Syria presents a highly difficult and uncertain environment to even achieve any foreign policy objective, let alone something as exigent as rebuilding the country for long-term stability. Syria is raising questions pertaining to stabilization which would require the country to engage new actors including the regional donors and private sector investors (Sterio 2015). Inclusive and legitimate institutions may create an environment to draw attention of external funding and utilize the funding in accordance to the priorities of the Syrians. The participation of Syria in the funding process shall reduce the expenses and enhance the benefits for the country, also lessening the burden of dependence solely on the external funding sources.
As mentioned before, countries like China, India are considering assisting Syria in its reconstruction process would mainly be investments, owing to the opportunities developed from the destruction of the country. However, if the political oppression and the conflicting economy of the country are to be considered, it can be stated that with the continuance of such political restlessness and conflicting economy, it would not draw attention of the foreign investors to invest in the country under such circumstances. This is because the destruction shall develop significant opportunities for such investors irrespective of the sustainability, justice and inclusivity. Thus, under such circumstances, the participation of the Syrian society shall minimize and there will be an increase in inequality as more elites grab the opportunities (Chan and Lee 2016). Therefore, the circumstances and the institutions in the post-war Syria shall determine the success of the reconstruction process of the country. Further, with appropriate influence from the international community, non-state actors and regional actors may contribute respectively in the reconstruction process of the country to enable it achieve long-term stabilit
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