DIIS Reports, Danish Institute for International Studies 2012:13
In Sanctioning Assad's Syria Rune Friberg Lyme explores the direct and indirect repercussions of the international sanctions on Syria's institutional infrastructure, socioeconomic situation and political power structures, underpinning the regimes authoritarian rule. A comprehensive battery of international sanctions has been imposed on the Syrian regime with reference to its brutal oppression of the popular protests, erupting in early 2011. As the violence has spiralled into civil war, the sanctions have restrained the physical and financial mobility of regime insiders and severely hampered the fiscal, monetary agility and ability of the dissolving Syrian state, effectively curbing its ability to obtain revenues and hindering international transactions. As a result, the Syrian government faces a substantial, unsustainable budget deficit. However, repercussions of the sanctions are felt well beyond Syria's presidential palaces, security headquarters and regime affiliated business tycoon offices. Having added to Syria's hiking inflation, increasing unemployment rates, decreasing salaries levels, and impeded import of goods, including food and medicine, the sanctions have inflated the socioeconomic costs of the conflict and exacerbated pre-existing socioeconomic difficulties facing significant parts of the population. With the security sector finding financial sources external to the state purse, pro-regime security agencies and their funders may be benefitting from the economic conditions the sanctions are stimulating. Consequently, the security sector is likely to remain resilient to the sanctions while the civilian state structures are crumbling and refugee numbers rising.