Reconstructing Authoritarianism: The Politics and Political Economy of Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Syria

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POMEPS Studies 30,“The Politics of Post-Conflict Resolution.”


This memo was drafted for POMEPS Studies 30,The Politics of Post-Conflict Resolution.”

Policy and academic debates about Syria and other war torn countries in the Middle East routinely invoke the concept of reconstruction. In the literature on conflict resolution and development, post-conflict reconstruction is regularly defined in terms of transformation.[1] The aim of post-conflict reconstruction is not to return war-torn societies and states to their pre-war conditions, but to make use of the space that violent conflict is presumed to create to put in place institutions, norms, and practices that address the causes of violence and provide a basis for effective governance and sustainable peace. This includes transforming frameworks of economic governance so that conditions of economic “normalcy” can be established—conditions that differ from those that operate during conflict. In this literature, reconstruction succeeds by “transforming post-conflict countries into functioning states that can offer their citizens basic public services.”[2] We know reconstruction is working when “the main features of an economy no longer stem from the war but from the normal conditions of the economy.”[3]