onsdag 21. juli 2021

Syrian economy lies in ruins and China sniffs opportunity

Standing on a podium on Saturday to take an oath of office, Bashar al-Assad declared himself the only man who could rebuild Syria. His first foreign guest, China’s foreign minister, Wang Yi, seemed to enhance his claim, endorsing the president’s win in a May poll described by Britain and Europe as “neither free nor fair” and laying a marker to help get the job started.

China’s high-visibility stake in postwar Syria was straight from its playbook elsewhere in the Middle East, as well as in Asia and Africa: windfall investments in return for local access and global cover. Analysts and diplomats, however, say that even in relative calm, Syria will offer poor returns for years to come.