Although a new generation of Sunni businessmen emerged as others left the country in the wake of the uprising in 2011, the complex network of relations between the power elite, and fractions of the Sunni bourgeoisie, has remained part of the regime’s tools to dominate society and build loyalties among this sector.
Eugenio Dacrema analyses the variables of Chinese involvement in the Syrian reconstruction. Silently and calmly, Syria and the Middle East are likely to become soon much more Chinese than they ever used to be.
There remain several challenges for the regime in reaching political and economic stability and securing funds for reconstruction. Some of these challenges are rooted in the internal contradictions and the nature of the regime as a patrimonial state and its need to satisfy divergent interests of actors who played an important role in supporting it, especially militias and crony capitalists.
Recently-uncovered documents have revealed that Russian firms have made major strides in securing economic boons for the immediate postwar period. Despite this, the Kremlin continues to face profound issues in projecting its influence across regime-held Syria, a problem that demands ever-growing resources even as major combat in the country declines.
A socially responsible economic strategy is central to the Syrian transition. The fact that the Syrian opposition has not yet embarked in a critical debate of Syria’s future political economy has jeopardized their legitimacy and deprived the Syrian business elite of a chance to reconsider their own practices and contribute to Syria’s transition towards a better future.