EPC | 22 Sep 2020
The visit of the Russian delegation to Damascus on 7 September 2020, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, and the meetings it held with regime officials, are of particular importance given the current pace of regional and international interactions on the Syrian issue. In addition, this visit is expected to constitute a turning point in the Russian policy towards the Syrian crisis, and to give indications of the directions of Russia’s policy towards the region, and the form of its relations with the international actors therein. This paper attempts to explore the nature of the changes in the Russian policy against the background of this visit, and the new elements in this policy.
EPC | 01 Sep 2020
The Eastern Euphrates region has been witnessing tensions between the Arab and Kurdish components that warn of the possibility of collapse of the fragile implicit rapprochement that was built against the backdrop of the defeat of Daesh (the Islamic State, IS), amid Arab demands to strike a balance in the relationship and interests between the two sides and the competition between regional and international actors to gain influence in an extremely important region at the geopolitical level in the Syrian file.
This paper sheds light on the events taking place in the Eastern Euphrates region and the interests and goals of regional and international actors.
EPC | 05 Aug 2020
The military agreement on the development of the Syrian air defence system, concluded between Iran and the Syrian regime on 8 July 2020, raises many questions about its timing and objectives and the extent of the capability of Iranian technology to compete with the capabilities of Russia that is the dominant party in the Syrian skies, in addition to the effectiveness of the system in preventing Israel from hitting Iranian targets in Syria. The agreement also raises a question about its repercussions for the existing balances of power in the region, its impact on the confusion experienced by the Iranian regime, and the shaking of its image at home and in front of the regional allies as a result of the attacks on Iran’s assets, whether in Syria or at home.
EPC | 23 Jun 2020
The US sanctions law against the Syrian regime, called the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, or the Caesar Act for short, entered into force on 17 June 2020. The Act targets several sectors of the Syrian economy and sanctions entities, businesses and individuals, both regional and international, that provide military and economic support to the Syrian regime. The Act is estimated to have significant economic and political impact that would change the balances among actors in the Syrian issue and bring about new dynamics that could affect the outputs of the promised political solution. This paper sheds light on the nature, goals and economic and political implications of this Act.
EPC | 16 Jun 2020
The recent Russian steps in the Syrian file have raised questions about their significance and objective, especially that they coincide with local, regional and international developments in the Syrian file. On 25 May 2020, the Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed the Russian ambassador to Syria Alexander Yefimov as a special presidential representative for developing Russian relations with Syria. On 28 May 2020, Putin also signed a decree in which he delegated the ministries of defence and foreign affairs to start negotiations with the Syrian government with a view to handing over additional facilities to the Russian military and expanding their maritime control in Syria, provided that the new arrangements would be complementary to the agreement signed in August 2015 allowing for a military presence in Syria. This paper sheds light on those steps and explores their dimensions and impact in the Syrian context.
EPC | 18 May 2020
The current dispute between the president of the Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad and Syria’s top businessman Rami Makhlouf constitutes a new variable in the policy of the Syrian regime and its way of dealing with the problems that erupt within the narrow circle of decision making. While Rami Makhlouf is not a political figure and has no specific position within the Syrian power hierarchy, it is no secret that in addition to being a relative of Assad, he represents a strong economic centre that owes its status to the significant role played by the regime policy. This makes him organically linked to the Syrian ruling system. This is evidenced by the fact that Rami Makhlouf benefitted a lot from the economic transformation that occurred in Syria under Assad the son’s presidency, that is the shift from planned to market economy which required the issuance of hundreds of presidential decrees to rehabilitate the legal and political structure accordingly. This paper sheds light on the background of the dispute between the two men and Russia’s position thereon in its capacity as the most influential player in Syrian policies.
EPC | 30 Apr 2020
The recent attack by Russian media outlets close to the Kremlin against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has raised questions about whether it was reflecting the inclination of the Russian decision maker. It constitutes an introduction to shifts in his attitude towards the Syrian leadership and reflects, therefore, on developments of the Syrian crisis in light of the crises experienced on the international scene (the COVID-19 epidemic and the fall in oil prices) which threaten serious implications for the global economy that would also extend to the Russian economy.
EPC | 13 Feb 2020
Russian-Turkish relations are put to a hard test these days. The escalating tension between the two sides in Syria's Idlib province and the countryside of Aleppo threatens to undermine bilateral cooperation and coordination on more than one front in war-ravaged Syria. Recent military developments have brought about a dangerous shift in the rules of engagement between the two parties, and have opened the door for potential direct confrontation. This is particularly true as both countries embrace contradictory positions in justifying their actions. On the one hand, Turkey believes that the Russia-backed Syrian army onslaught on Idlib and the countryside of Aleppo will push about a million Syrians to Turkey's borders, threatening Turkish national security. In turn, Russia is sticking to the implementation of the Sochi Agreement, which obliges Turkey to dismantle extremist organizations, as well as Turkey's lack of commitment to handing over control over international roads to the Assad regime.