Unable to destroy Syria militarily or politically, western regimes are aiming to strangle it economically.
Although Syria faces serious economic problems as a result of the foreign-imposed war, restructuring of the global economy due to the emerging political multipolarity will increase Damascus’ chances of withstanding the western economic war.
Ironically, western sanctions on Russia will aid Syria economically.
Moscow understands that its ability to withstand western sanctions will be through opening foreign markets to Russia’s small and medium sized businesses.
As Russian businesses get squeezed out of regions and countries where western political influence extends, it is only natural that some businesses will move to markets which are politically friendly to Russia.
Syria not only falls in this category but it is also a country where Russian businesses will enjoy political and economic privileges.
Post-war countries are often attractive places for infrastructure investment.
This was witnessed in Germany and Japan after the Second World War.
Many western countries, led by the US, are salivating at the prospects of “rebuilding” Ukraine when the war eventually ends.
It is still uncertain whether Ukraine as a state will survive because Russia seems determined to prevent NATO extending its reach to its borders.
In post-war reconstruction, “marginal return on capital” is believed to be higher since there is limited capital available during the war.
Infrastructure (which is a type of physical capital) gets badly damaged during the war.
Syria has already suffered more than $100 billion in infrastructure damage.
Countries come out of the war with a lower amount of capital.
This makes the marginal return on capital higher which attracts foreign investment.
Considering that Syria has a relatively well-educated population, Russia’s knowledge driven firms will seek to capitalize on all potentials the country offers and use it to circumvent western sanctions.
There are already signs of limited economic development in Syria which even western propaganda outlets acknowledge.
What is likely to increase Russian economic participation in Syria is the political factor.
Moscow realizes that its economic confrontation with NATO regimes cannot rely solely on econometrics.
It will take economic steps in tandem with its geopolitical goals.
In the Kremlin’s policy calculus, survival of Syria as a viable state will grant Moscow a geopolitical and military foothold in the region.
Russia can then utilize this foothold to exert pressure on its western adversaries and pay them back in kind.
The Syrian government also has an ideological bond of sorts with Russia, dating back to Soviet times.
This factor, along with multiple military, political and geopolitical factors will result in Russia increasing its presence in Syria.
Besides, it also has a few other options.
Scaling down its presence in Syria is not an option for Moscow because it will be taken as a sign of weakness and undermine Russia’s already dented image.
Syria’s prominence in Russian foreign policy calculations will significantly increase as western sanctions and geopolitical pressure on Russia escalate.
There is, however, little the NATO regimes can do about it.
Both Syria and Russia will benefit from such a development.