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Publication of Adopt a Revolution: Reconstructing Syria: Risks and side effects Strategies, actors and interests | Syria Freedom Forever – سوريا الحرية للأبد

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Publication of Adopt a Revolution: Reconstructing Syria: Risks and side effects Strategies, actors and interests

 

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To read the document, follow this link: [PDF]Reconstructing Syria: Risks and side effects Strategies, actors and interests

SUMMARY

1 The reconstruction plans of the al-Assad regime largely ignore the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees. The regime’s reconstruction strategy does not address the most pressing needs of over 10 million Syrian IDPs and refugees. Instead it caters mostly to the economic interests of the regime itself and its allies.

2 Current Syrian legislation obstructs the return of IDPs and refugees, and legalizes the deprivation of rights of residents of informal settlements. A series of tailor-made laws have made it legal to deprive inhabitants of informal settlements of their rights. This includes the restriction of housing, land and property rights through Decree 66, Law No. 10, the restriction of basic rights under the counterterrorism law, and the legal bases for public-private co-investments. These laws also serve the interests of regime cronies and regime-loyal forces. The process of demographic engineering in former opposition-held territories, which has already begun, driven by campaigns of forced displacement and the evictions of original residents, is being cemented by these laws. They considerably discourage and obstruct refugees from returning to Syria. Funding reconstruction under the umbrella of the Syrian state threatens to reinforce this policy.

3 Under the current circumstances, reconstruction would further strengthen the dictatorship and its nepotism, as well as fuel new conflicts. Current housing, land and property rights are a key driving factor for future conflicts in Syria, and are expected to considerably increase the existing and massive social inequalities in Syrian society that were major motivating factors at the start of the Syrian uprising in 2011.

  Instead of providing reconstruction assistance to the country, the allies of the Syrian regime are plundering the country’s natural resources. Iran and Russia in particular are hardly contributing towards a base for future reconstruction. Rather they are plundering the country’s few resources. One example is the Russian-Syrian agreement on the use of phosphate resources, which assures a Russian company 70 percent of all the phosphate extracted while the Syrian government will get only 30 percent. Such agreements jeopardize the prospect of economic stabilization in Syria, as potential tax and foreign exchange earnings are compromised.

5 Reconstruction fails as a means of political pressure on the Syrian regime. So far, the al-Assad regime has attempted in vain to force European states to fund Syria’s reconstruction by using the repatriation of Syrian refugees from Europe as a “bait”. At the same time, Western states have not been very successful in making financial pledges for reconstruction conditional, attempting to use them as a foreign policy tool to aid political change in Syria. This is due to the fact that the military victories of the al-Assad regime and its allies have reduced what little pressure there was on the Syrian regime to commit to reforms or a political transition. Its current reconstruction strategy illustrates how the promise of reconstruction funds cannot be used to pressure for substantial change within the Syrian regime.

6 No reconstruction without peace. Experiences from other conflicts show that reconstruction only makes sense after armed conflicts have ended – that is, when all hostilities have ceased and a peace agreement is signed. Syria still has a long way to go in this respect, as no notable progress has been made with the Geneva peace process. Before committing to any reconstruction aid, there must be a political solution to the conflict in Syria.

7 Reconstruction aid must be tailored to the needs of those affected and involve Syrian civil society. If reconstruction is to lay the foundation for the return of IDPs and refugees to their home country, their needs must be assessed and their participation in the reconstruction process ensured. In addition to material needs and assuring legal rights regarding housing, land and property rights are maintained, other obstacles to return must also be eliminated, such as, for example, establishing effective protection against potential state persecution. This is why Syrian civil society and the diaspora should be involved in reconstruction planning by Germany or the European Union at an early stage.

[Source: Reconstructing Syria: Risks and side effects Strategies, actors and interests, pp. 4 – 5.]

INTRODUCTION

Since the civil war in Syria began, half of  all  hospitals  and  a  quarter  of  all housing   there   has   been   destroyed.   Around two-thirds of Syrians live in extreme poverty,  millions  have  no  access  to  clean  water, more than half of the population has been displaced, either internally or to other countries. And above all, one thing is clear: The Syrian people need help.1

It  has  been  suggested  that  reconstruction  in  Syria  could  cost  up  to  US$400  billion.  That  is  a  massive  sum  of  money  for  a  country  whose  economy  has  been  almost  completely  destroyed  by  this  conflict  and whose  foreign  allies,  Russia  and  Iran,  don’t  have anything close to that kind of funding. That is why Russia is using all the diplomatic channels at its disposal, as well as general publicity, to put pressure on Europe, and in particular Germany, to secure western aid to help  rebuild  the  cities  that  were  destroyed,  in  large  part,  by  its  own  and  the  Syrian  air  force. The argument coming from Russia is that once Syria has been rebuilt, Europe can send the refugees it harbours – and which have  caused  it  so  much  domestic  political  anxiety – back home.

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Open Letter to Code Pink | Oaklandsocialist: Worker’s Struggles and Marxism

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Workers on strike in Iran

The following is an open letter to the US “peace group” Code Pink. At a time of widespread confusion in the working class around the world, and a time of increased war, what’s needed more than anything is international working class solidarity. That is why we think the issue dealt with in this letter is important. If you as an individual or as a group want to add your name to this letter, please let us know. Send a note to us at oaklandsocialist@gmail.com. We also appeal to you to help publicize this letter on Facebook, Twitter, or any similar means. We think this letter will end up being translated into Farsi and distributed in Iran also. For those who are interested in reading further on this massive confusion on the left, see this article. And for those who are interested in reading more…

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