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Research Report

Stability and economic recovery after Assad:: key steps for Syria’s post-conflict transition

Ivan Briscoe
Floor Janssen
Rosan Smits
Copyright Date: Dec. 1, 2012
Published by: Clingendael Institute
Pages: 59
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Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. 3-8)

    The worsening bloodshed and accumulating atrocities of the Syrian conflict, which began in the wake of the regime’s repression of peaceful demonstrations in March 2011, augur a period of extreme volatility in the country and across the region. Venturing a prediction about the conflict’s outcome would seem, in this context, to be reckless. The uncertain evolution of battlefield resources and manpower, the possibility of schisms in the regime and the opposition, the potential role of sectarian violence and formation of territorial enclaves, and the positions of allies of both sides as well as, of course, the level and intent of...

  2. (pp. 9-22)

    A key characteristic of many authoritarian regimes is a tightly knit collaboration between the political elite and the business community. The aim of this collaboration is to safeguard the privileges of both by promoting a style of economic development that suits their interests – and which very often features use of monopoly privileges and other forms of rent-seeking. Historically, Syria is no exception. However, even more so than in other Arab states such as Egypt, where state–business ties also primarily sought out ventures for mutual profit, in Syria the state’s main concern has been its own survival – even...

  3. (pp. 23-36)

    As is the case of all economies,79 that of Syria is firmly embedded in a mesh of institutional and informal routines and expectations developed over the course of four decades. At the moment of any clear rupture in this economic system through the crumbling, collapse or strategic withdrawal of the Assad regime, the country would be exposed to a radically new environment for business and employment. While there is little doubt that the freedoms of a post-Assad environment could pave the way for a raft of long-awaited political and institutional reforms – such as abolition of the regime’s intelligence services,...

  4. (pp. 37-40)

    There is no doubt that the way the conflict ends will have enormous influence on the possibilities for economic recovery and the conditions in which a new government inherits the central state. Territorial fragmentation, state bankruptcy, regional spillover and the spread of criminal and Islamist networks are among the existing or possible direct effects of conflict, each of them threatening to have huge and harmful effects on Syria’s future economic and political life. However, in addressing the question of what conditions are required for stability and recovery in the event of the downfall of the Assad regime in Syria, this...