Rebuilding Syria

  • Amid Continued Instability, Why Are States Investing in Syria?

    As the Syrian conflict escalated, preemptive plans to rebuild the country started as early as 2012. The United Nations and IMF estimate between $100-200 billion is currently needed to bring Syria back to its pre-war GDP. However, with the central government weak and trying to reestablish its legitimacy internationally, for other countries it is also an opportunity to achieve political goals in the region. Several overlapping motivations drive certain countries to invest in Syria to gain economic positioning, to recoup trade losses, and to contain radicalized fighters.

    Read More
  • Syria Reconstruction and the Illusion of Leverage

    In early April, two days before the United States attacked a Syrian airbase with cruise missiles, high-level representatives from some seventy countries convened in Brussels for a conference on the future of Syria. The issue of Syria’s post-war reconstruction featured prominently on the agenda. Its presence signaled more than a concern with the daunting challenges of rebuilding a country devastated by six years of violent conflict. Reconstruction has become the latest political battlefield in struggles over the terms of a post-war settlement for Syria, and the future of Bashar al-Assad.

    Read More
  • Rebuild Syria by Supporting Syrians—Not Their State

    The fall of Aleppo in December 2016 marked a turning point in the Syrian uprising from a civil war where the opposition still had a chance, to one where the regime was on the path to victory. Amid this pivot marked by widening military asymmetries and international accommodation to the Syrian regime; governments, multilateral donor agencies, and working groups have begun to consider reconstruction strategies for Syria. 

    Read More
  • Wanted: A Plan to Rebuild Syria

    With no end in sight to a war that started six years ago, has claimed more than 465,000 lives, and displaced millions, it is fair to ask when is the right time to launch a much-needed effort to rebuild Syria. Should this effort start now, while the country is still ravaged by war, or once the conflict is over?

    This quandary will inform the work of the Atlantic Council’s Rebuilding Syria Initiative, a two-year project that aims to identify what can be achieved now in terms of physical reconstruction in Syria, while simultaneously developing “a long-term plan that would address the massive reconstruction requirements of Syria in the future,” said Frederic C. Hof, director of the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.

    “This project, however, is not just about bricks and mortar,” said Hof. “It will inevitably have to grapple with the question of how, if at all, investments, loans, and grants can proceed on a suitably massive scale if...

    Read More
  • Rebuilding Syria: Opening Statement by Omar Shawaf

    Below are remarks by Omar Shawaf and audio of the event on Rebuilding Syria: Reconstruction and Legitimacy hosted by the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East at the Atlantic Council in Washington on March 21, 2017:

    Read More
  • The Economic Case for Syria’s Stabilization

    It is fairly easy to consider Syria as a hopeless case, as the country seems trapped in a vicious cycle of nihilistic violence and colossal destruction. The economy is now completely shattered and fragmented, with each party building its own independent entities. The systematic – but imbalanced – collapse of economic foundations is seen across infrastructure and institutions, human and physical capital, and substantial part of wealth. The accumulated economic loss is estimated at $250 billion, with poverty rate at 85% and more than 70% of Syrians inside the country living in extreme poverty. Optimistic studies estimate that with a 5% annual economic growth, it will take at least 20 years and tens of billions of US dollars to recover to Syria’s 2010 $60 billion GDP.

    Read More
  • Rebuilding Syria: Reconstruction and Legitimacy

    On Tuesday, March 21, 2017, the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East hosted a panel discussion with Dr. Osama Kadi, president of the Syrian Economic Task Force; Mr. Todd Diamond, Middle East director of Chemonics International; Ms. Mona Yacoubian, former deputy assistant administrator for the Middle East at the US Agency for International Development; and Mr. Bassam Barabandi, former Syrian diplomat and co-founder of People Demand Change. Hariri Center Senior Fellow Mr. Faysal Itani moderated the discussion. Mr. Omar Shawaf, chairman and founder of BINAA, gave opening remarks.

    Shawaf introduced the two-year Syrian reconstruction initiative in his opening remarks. He reminded the audience that the future of the Middle East and its people is at stake in Syria, and that the conflict will continue to have implications that reach far beyond the Levant. Shawaf also touched on international engagement in Syria, saying that Russia should rethink its Syria policy and Iranian...

    Read More
  • It’s Time to Plan for Rebuilding Syria

    Caught in the sixth year of its interminable civil war, Syria today is beset by a combination of fleeting ceasefires, bombings, localized offensives, and meandering negotiations. Most of the country is controlled either by terrorist groups or by a weak, isolated central government in Damascus. Meanwhile, the United States finds itself in the midst of a dramatic political transition that is reverberating globally. In such an unstable environment, the question of actually rebuilding Syria may appear fanciful, abstract, or at the very least peripheral next to the issues of counter terrorism and humanitarian catastrophe.

    Read More