Russian-Iranian Economic Interests in Syria (Part 2)
This paper discusses Russian and Iranian economic activity and interests in Syria and focuses on two macroblocks. First of all it seems to us important to highlight the level of trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Syria, on the one hand, and Iran and Syria, on the other. If for Iran’s economic relations with Syria, it should be noted that although the country has long been one of the top priority targets for Iranian trade and the trade interactions between the two sides were on the rise before 2011, the Syrian Crisis caused bilateral trade to fall drastically. However, Russian economic interests in Syria do not look so obvious and convincing. If we talk about the Russian economic presence in Syria after the Arab spring, it would be more correct to consider the interests of individual Russian businessmen and representatives of the economic elite in specific projects in Syria. Also, this work will be devoted to the difficulties faced by Moscow and Tehran in the implementation of their economic and investment projects in Syria and prospects of cooperation and competition between Russia and Iran. Given the close partnership between Iran and Russia in supporting Bashar al-Assad government, this paper also takes a look on the prospects of economic cooperation or rivalry between Tehran and Moscow in Syria and shows that no mechanism has yet devised by the two parties to manage their competition and promote cooperation in Syria’s economic sphere. Of note, this paper deals exclusively with Iran and Russia’s non-military economic activities in Syria and does not cover issues like arms exports or military aids of the two countries to the Syrian government.