Without Political Settlement; “No Economy” and “No Syria”.
The Syrian economic situation is controlled by politics with all its details and daily events, and it is shackled with high obstaces that can not be surpassed through half solutions but only through a comprehensive political settlement which reconstitutes the country, brings its parts together, and ends the dispersal of its people. All politically and economically active powers in the Syrian situation are clearly aware of this fact, whether those who want to invest in the reconstruction of Syria and its future or those who invest in its destruction today! Those powers of “investment’ are waiting until the nature and potential of upcoming partnerships - according to their perspective - appear. At this current phase, none of them is seriously seeking to take any step except to the extent that prevents a complete collapse and allows remaining at the edge of the abyss.
Economic fate depends on the procrastination and freezing of political settlement. This aims to the consolidation of a fait accompli: areas of influence deprived of resources, encroached by warlords, and dependent on international and regional political supply.
Without Settlement: The Continuations of Crises and Warlords
Preventing solutions prevents the restoration of the country’s unity and disconnects its roads, resources, markets and manpower. This means minimally: the continuation of bread and energy crisis, i.e., the basics, to the point of putting an end to the current production base to produce less than half of its capacity at best. It also makes wheat and flour dependent on aids, and on large annual dollar-priced purchases, which control austerity in bread whose production has reduced by approximately 45% in a way that leads to the continuation of crises such as: electricity, unemployment, transportation, heating, queues, hunger and others.
The situation of the separation of the regions of Syria apart from each other will keep the resources of the Syrian government at its minimum levels and will make its primary dependence on austerity on the one hand, and on collecting from the remains of the movement in production and trading market on the other. Whereas the narrow segment of warlords and their powers of influence are the ones who know the most that this moment is not for work and construction, and the current phase has a main purpose for them: accumulating wealth from domination over most aspects of legal and illegal economic activity, and seeking to collect all that can be collected from money and power to face two political options: either a settlement that allows them to become the first “business partners” in the next moment, or a settlement that forces them to flee with dollar bags.
What applies on government areas also applies on the areas of autonomy and the north of Syria, in each of which resources are scarce and the market is controlled by de facto powers from warlords, and the pressure on society increases to the extreme.
Without Settlement, no Syrian will Return!
Also, without political settlement half of Syrians will stay outside their country, which is a fait accompli that means the loss of half of the capacities of the country: its workers, staff, doctors, technicians, teachers and others. It also means the loss of half of its savings and expenditures, half of its children and future. A county with half of its population is half of a country! Those millions will not seriously return unless the features of reaching settlement and major political changes that call off violence and exclusionary extremist rhetoric and opens a new page where the country is for all its people clearly appear. Most importantly, this return will not objectively happen until the reconstruction of the country begins.
The millions who left Syria are from different economic groups and segments, driven primarily by the quest to send their children away from war. With political complexity and the expansion of the cycle of violence, entire major families have moved to try to save their future. Many of those have sold their savings in this migration and have moved their real estate, business, and daily activity so they can build relative stability and business in the region, particularly in Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf.
As for the more than one million in Europe, it is also difficult to make them return under an unstable circumstance because this segment of young people has paid dearly to reach the “European safehold”. Despite all social complexities associated with the circumstances of asylum, the children of most of these small families have settled in new educational systems and environments, and this has become a determinant in stability. As for the educated, working and unemployed youth, they have social and economic safety in Central Powers more than what they may have inside the country. Both are more socially decisive in making crucial decisions to stay or to return.
The large and weakest remaining segment among refugees is concentrated in Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey. These have been casted away by violence to a very deteriorating reality abroad. They did not sell their homes but fled from its destruction, and most of them no longer have neighborhoods, villages nor a community in Syria. This segment does not have the luxury of collective return without a large compensation system and extensive social spending to rehabilitate destroyed villages and neighborhoods. It is the segment that fears political extremism the most because they do not have enough significance or money to guarantee the “settlement of their situation” without becoming part of some militia!
The country will not regain half of its manpower, and will not even be able to prevent more human bleeding without complete political settlement that can change the form of politics in Syria and can open up its economic future.
Without Settlement; No Reconstruction and No Investment
Finally, political settlement is an objective condition to reconstruction, because Syria as an internationalized crisis really needs international agreement and spending. First: because rights and justice require a compensation for Syria for all the destruction it suffered from as a result of being a major battlefield. Second: because the objective need requires spending about a few hundred billion dollars in a relatively short time for the country to be a country again.
Thirdly and most importantly: reaching the moment of reconstruction will only happen through a new regional political threshold, and it may not only witness the reconstruction of Syria alone, but Syria, Lebanon and Iraq all together at least! This may be accompanied by reaching the core of broad regional settlement that will mitigate the decades-long tension between the Gulf and Iran to the detriment of everyone, will put Turkey in its objective limits, will reveal the fragility of the Zionist entity that lives on the project of creating tension in the “Middle East” and will contribute to marginalizing its role and existence in the region.
Without the maturity of such regional and international circumstances, the money of the Gulf and others will not flow like some are hoping. Also, regional and international powers interested in the Syrian issue will not be concerned with a “comprehensive improvement of life”, as it is enough in their perspective and position to put the sick country on the resuscitation apparatus in the current complex circumstance to prevent it from dying. Whereas the owners of the project of chaos seek to prevent it from getting up by disrupting its vital functions: dismembering it, deporting and marginalizing its people, raising and feeding its parasites from warlords to swallow its future. Without political settlement that awakens the remains of the country’s living powers and motivates regional settlement, we will not be able to stay long on the “ventilator of international balance”, and we may move from the state of clinical death to a more painful situation that may remove the Syria that we know from the movement of history which has previously written off many bright pages in the path of its difficult struggle forward.