detail - Syria/Iraq Office
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On the 28th of January, the KAS Syria/Iraq Office and the Middle East Institute for Research and Strategic Studies (MEIRSS) held a one-day workshop that sought to conduct an assessment of how the recent developments in Syria have affected economic relations between the war-torn country and its Lebanese neighbor. The aim was to assess the economic dependency of both countries on each other and to analyze the economic activities of the two states in the respective neighboring countries from a political perspective.
The participants agreed that the Syrian conflict has greatly affected this economic relationship. It has caused major disruptions, for instance by cutting off Lebanese producers from their export markets in the wider region, or due to the large numbers of Syrian refugees Lebanon is currently hosting. Likewise, it has led to consequential ripple effects such as capital flight from Syria to Lebanon. Now that violent conflict in Syria is slowly but steadily subsiding, it is time to both evaluate the impact of the Syrian war on the economic relations between Syria and Lebanon and assess how the new political and economic realities in Syria will affect these relations in the future. For instance, the reconstruction process will be complicated if Assad remains in power. On another note, the war economy has altered the Syrian economic landscape leading to the rise of a class of businessmen. Various challenges on different levels will need to be overcome to establish a win-win cooperation between Syria and Lebanon.