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Aug 9, 2021

New: A Comprehensive Review of the Effectiveness of Sanctions on Syria

Few topics on the Syrian conflict are as divisive as sanctions.

In this new publication for the Middle East Institute, Wael Alalwani and I assess the effectiveness of sanctions imposed on the Bashar al-Assad regime by the US and the EU.

We evaluate the strengths and shortcomings of the current setup of sanctions, conduct a comprehensive review of their history, and recommend ways to move forward. We relied on the research tool Ammar al-Nakeeb and I made publicly available recently.

The policy paper advocates lifting certain types of sanctions in exchange for short term concessions and using others more extensively. We also propose other practical steps to enhance the overall effectiveness of sanctions.

I thank JosephDaher and Zaki Mehchy for reviewing the paper and Ammar al-Nakeeb for analyzing the data and assessing the impacts of sanctions on humanitarian aid.

Much of my appreciation, however, goes to my exceptional co-author, Wael Alalwani. Among Wael’s many strengths is his ability to think of this topic in terms of networks, as opposed to binary relations. I learned a lot from him.

On this topic, where arguments cannot be proven empirically, even the most researched and carefully crafted paper can get things wrong. In this spirit, I’d love to hear your feedback, whatever it might be.

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