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During her visit to Jordan, Chancellor Merkel spoke about the Syrian reconstruction. Germany would ensure its participation when certain conditions are met. Other States have less scruples.
Syria is on the floor. The cities are collapsed; the infrastructure, broken. After seven years of a war whose end is not yet visible, much of the country has to be rebuilt. If there is one thing clear is that the reconstruction of the country will engulf millions. How many? It is not known yet.
The calculations differ from each other. The UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, assumes that it will be some 250,000 million dollars. The Syrian government thinks that, realistically, they will be some 400,000 million dollars. A larger sum proposes Sergey Katyrin, head of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry: 500,000 million dollars. All agree, yes, that Syria will take about 15 years to overcome the damage.
Who is going to finance this reconstruction? In principle, the European Union would be willing to participate in the costs, says the High Representative for European Foreign Policy, Federica Mogherini. The condition would be that it was a peace process mediated by the United Nations.
During his visit to Jordan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed this position. “Germany is reserved, as long as there is no political solution, we will not participate in the reconstruction,” he said in Amman.
Iran shows interest
Other States do not have so many scruples. Several weeks ago, President Bashar al-Asad invited Iran to participate in the task. It must be said that at this moment, Iran is the third telecommunications operator in Syria. And the government would like to expand its participation. The Iranian Minister of Infrastructure, Emad Chamis, announced in mid-May “the willingness of the Iranian public and private sector to participate extensively in the reconstruction phase.” A joint plan for long-term cooperation would be under way.
Bassam Alahmad, director of “Syrians for Truth and Justice”, a human rights organization based in the United States, questions – in an interview with the digital magazine Al-Monitor – that Iran can undertake these projects in the ambitious dimension. The new sanctions imposed by the United States could throw the plans to the water because it would not have the necessary conditions, in his opinion, among the engines of reconstruction could be Russia. “China is the candidate with the most possibilities to rebuild Syria,” he said. Alahmad
“Give and take”
In the meantime it seems clear that, for reconstruction, Syria will prefer its allies. According to Steven Heydemann, a researcher at the think tank Brooking Institution, to the Gulf News newspaper “there is a clear system of quid-pro-quo.” That is, a give-and-take.political-military support would be compensated with contracts.Heydemann assumes that for Western countries this will result in a smaller volume of contracts.
However, the West would be able to exert pressure. Iran and Russia would not be able to finance the costs of reconstruction alone. And the Syrian government even less. Recently, Syria declared that it would have a budget of 12 billion euros for the sector. Clearly, an insufficient amount.
Also in the subject of expropriations and redistribution of real estate, Western countries could exert some pressure. This is the “Decree 10”, from the beginning of April, according to which, in each neighborhood an official entity will be established for the reconstruction plans.Every land or property owner must go there to prove his property. Asad this causes them a big problem: they have to go through the scrutiny of the security services. “No one who has fled Assad will have the courage to return to Syria to claim their assets. This could mean his arrest, “says Samir Matar, a DW journalist of Syrian origin.
The German Chancellor in Jordan also spoke about this decree. He asked the Syrian government not to put it into practice. “We must take care not to be placed before faits accomplis,” Merkel warned.