Russia-GCC Relations and the Future of Syria: Political Process and Prospects for the Economic Reconstruction
The “normative business plan” of Syrian reconstruction (implying the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2254, political dialogue, adoption of a new constitution, and free elections leading to a regime change followed by the provision to the new regime of the funds that are necessary for a full-scale Syrian reconstruction on the part of the West and the Gulf) is not viable anymore, because the regime believes that it has won the civil war militarily and is not ready to make any substantial concessions that would satisfy the West. Russia is not ready to apply any serious energy to persuade the regime to make such concessions. Russia makes rather limited investments in the Syrian reconstruction. However, it is clear that Russian-sponsored reconstruction projects are not sufficient at all to secure a real reconstruction of Syria, and it is clear that the Russian investments in the Syrian reconstruction will remain rather limited. Theoretically speaking, some Gulf countries might provide substantial investments to support the Syrian reconstruction. These are Saudi Arabia and, especially, the UAE. These countries seem to be inclined to provide such investments to counteract the influence in Syria of the Turkish-Qatari alliance, on the one hand, and the Iranian influence, on the other. However, a possible Russia-Gulf cooperation in the Syrian reconstruction appears to be effectively blocked by the Caesar Act, as both Emiratis and Saudis do not appear to be ready to risk the US sanctions.