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Research Report

Planning Ahead for a Postconflict Syria:: Lessons from Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen

Copyright Date: Dec. 1, 2013
Pages: 20

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. [i]-[i])
  2. (pp. [ii]-[iii])
  3. (pp. 1-2)
  4. (pp. 2-3)

    Since 2011, the situation in Syria has evolved from a civil uprising to a large-scale humanitarian and political crisis, destroying infrastructure, displacing millions, and reversing development gains in a country once on track to achieve many Millennium Development Goals. The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) estimates the two-year death toll to be more than 100,000 people. According to the latest UN appeal, more than 16 million people are projected to be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2014, including more than 9 million people inside Syria and over 4 million refugees.¹ Clashes among government forces and more than 2,000 opposition...

  5. (pp. 3-7)

    On May 22, 2003, after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the UN adopted Security Council Resolution 1483, which recognized the United States and the United Kingdom as the occupying forces of Iraq and authorized the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to administer the occupied territories until a native, legitimate, and representative government could be formed.⁹

    At that point, the coalition strategy in Iraq shifted from one of regime change to one of “occupy and rebuild,” whereby the newly formed CPA and its Iraqi counterpart, the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC), would launch and implement an ambitious reconstruction program aimed at liberalizing the...

  6. (pp. 7-10)

    The National Accord Document, or the Taif Agreement as it came to be known, brought a formal end to the civil war in Lebanon. It was an agreement that was discussed, negotiated, and concluded by Lebanese parliamentarians in the town of Taif, Saudi Arabia, in October 1989 under the auspices of Riyadh and the Arab League, with participation of Iran, the support of the US, and under the direct supervision of Syria.

    The Taif Agreement engineered a cease-fire; called for a disbanding and disarming of all militias and the building of a nonsectarian national army and police; and provided for...

  7. (pp. 10-12)

    During Arab Spring–inspired mass protests after ten years of civil unrest, Yemeni security forces fired on protestors in Sanaa on March 18, 2011, killing fifty-two people. Key military commanders defected to the opposition and encouraged mass desertion from the army. Then-president Ali Abdullah Saleh began to look for an exit from power and turned to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for help.36

    The GCC Initiative accord, developed in April 2011 and signed in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in November of that year, ended President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s thirty-three-year term and installed Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, his then-deputy, as interim president. Brokered...

  8. (pp. 12-15)

    While in many ways, the examples of postconflict transitions in the Middle East described above are different from the situation in Syria today, there are common lessons that might find resonance in a Syrian transition.

    The first is a lesson true of all postconflict scenarios, but one that, in the first blush of a new peace agreement, is repeatedly ignored. That is, above all, prioritize security and stability before any meaningful reform, reconstruction, or rehabilitation takes place. A lack of security diverts energy, time, and funds from political reform and reconstruction. It prevents economic renewal by raising production costs, discouraging...

  9. (pp. 16-16)