Trade between the U.S. and Syria is relatively small, with $ million in U.S. exports. The United States established diplomatic relations with Syria in Syria has been subject to U.S. economic sanctions since under. U.S. trade in goods with Syria. NOTE: All figures are in millions of U.S. dollars on a nominal basis, not seasonally adjusted unless otherwise specified.
Subsequent reports revealed that nearly a dozen similar operations had taken place in Syria, Pakistan, and elsewhere since a classified executive order, the Al-Qaida Network Exord, permitted such missions, stipulating that those in sensitive countries such as Syria and Pakistan required presidential approval.
Syria has been on the U. Syria rejects its classification by the U. However, in a interview on CNN, former US Secretary of State Alexander Haigwhen asked which country he regarded as the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism, answered "unquestionably Syria.
Syria has publicly condemned international terrorist attacks, and has not been directly linked to terrorist activity sinceas it denies any involvement in Hariri killing.
Syria actively bars any Syrian-based terrorist attacks and targeting of Westerners. This letter argued against a U. Since the Syrian government has indicated willingness to increase border security cooperation between Iraqi and US forces. Embassy was attacked by four armed assailants with guns, grenades and a car bomb which failed to detonate. Syrian Security Forces successfully countered the attack, killing all four attackers.
Two other Syrians killed during the attack were a government security guard and a passerby. The Syrian Government publicly stated that terrorists had carried out the attack. Government has not received an official Syrian Government assessment of the motives or organization behind the attack, but security was upgraded at U.
Both the Syrian ambassador to the U. Economic sanctions[ edit ] The U. These include legislatively mandated penalties, including export sanctions and ineligibility to receive most forms of U. To-date, this assistance has included: In northeast Syria, the United States is working with our partners in the Global Coalition to Defeat-ISIS to support immediate stabilization and early recovery efforts in areas liberated from ISIS control, including Explosive Remnants of War ERW removal, the restoration of essential services and building local capacity to support longer-term sustainability.
The United States has led stabilization assistance efforts in areas of Syria liberated from ISIS control, but seeks greater contributions from Coalition members and regional partners so that they can assume greater military and financial responsibility for securing the region. Syria has been subject to U.
Sanctions in August prohibited the export of U. In response to regime brutality against peaceful protesters beginning inthe U. Government imposed additional sanctions beginning in Aprildesignating those complicit in human rights abuses or supporting the Assad regime. In April and Maythe U. Damascus is working assiduously to build what some are calling a "northern alliance" that will shift foreign-policy weight from the south — primarily Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel — toward the north — Turkey, Syria and Iran.
Of course, for this alliance to have real effectiveness, Iraq will have to stabilize around a unified leadership that takes its place in the alliance. Third is Lebanon, Asad's first proving ground.
After the untimely death of Bashar's older brother inHafiz al-Asad called Bashar back to Syria to be groomed for power. Hafiz gave his son Lebanon to run, on the assumption that anyone who could survive the challenges of Lebanese politics would be fit to rule Syria. On assuming power in JulyBashar's first foreign-policy challenge came in Lebanon with Israel's unilateral withdrawal one month before his father died on June Israel hoped the tactical retreat would divide Lebanon from Syria.
This gambit failed, in large measure because Asad was careful to keep Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah close and friendly. Many Western and Israeli commentators derided Asad for being too solicitous of Nashrallah, meeting him in person and frequently when his father would have kept his distance.
They argued that Bashar showed political weakness and a lack of foreign-policy acumen in his warm embrace of Nasrallah. This was pure nonsense. Hezbollah has turned out to be Bashar al-Asad's ace of spades. It defeated Israel and paved the way for Syria's return as the dominant foreign power in Lebanon.
To top it off, Nasrallah turns out to be the most respected and popular Middle Eastern leader in opinion polls. Standing by him does Asad nothing but good in the minds of Syrians and Arabs, if not Westerners. In the opinion of Middle Easterners, Nasrallah has sacrificed personally and done more to defend Arab rights than other regional leaders.
Inwhen the United States, the United Nations, and the newly formed March 14 coalition in Lebanon forced Syria's precipitous and humiliating withdrawal from Lebanon, Nasrallah rallied a million Lebanese to demonstrate in Syria's favor. He personally thanked Asad for the sacrifices Syria had made to bring the bloody Lebanese civil war to an end and in assisting Hezbollah in its arduous campaign to liberate the country from its American and Israeli occupiers. Rafiq al-Hariri, Lebanon's respected prime minister, had been blown up by a car bomb in Februarycausing much of the world to blame Asad and heap scorn on Syria.
The people of Syria were grateful for Hezbollah's show of loyalty in their darkest hour. Syria and Hezbollah's ability to stick together in the face of repeated attempts to turn them against each other has helped both weather severe international pressure and outright war.
The real payoff for Syria's relationship with Hezbollah came inwhen the Shiite militia withstood Israel's month-long onslaught. Its mere survival dealt Israel a bloody nose and boosted Syria's strategic position significantly.
Realizing that it could not defeat Hezbollah on the battlefield, Israel sought to do so diplomatically through negotiations. Indirect Israeli-Syrian talks were carried out in Turkey. These negotiations signaled the end of President Bush's international boycott of Syria.
Seeing that Israel no longer shunned Damascus, world leaders began to beat a path to Asad's door. Israel's failure to destroy Hezbollah not only scuttled Washington's policy of isolating Syria; it also ended Washington's policy of stripping Lebanon from Syria's sphere of influence. Today, Syria is again the undisputed foreign arbiter of Lebanese politics, as it has been for a quarter century.
Despite President Bush's and Prime Minister Olmert's best effort, their attempt to wrest Lebanon from Syria was no more successful than Ronald Reagan's and Menachem Begin's attempt to take it from Bashar's father in the s.
Retaining Syria's strategic depth and influence in Lebanon must be counted as a major achievement. Bashar played Syria's foreign-policy cards about as well as anyone could have, given the difficult hand he was dealt. By outfoxing Israel and the United States in Lebanon, just as his father did, he has won the respect of regional leaders for his cool under fire and ability to play the long game.
During Asad's second decade in power, few will underestimate his knowledge of the region or his strategic acumen. Isn't Syria off the hook on the Hariri murder? Hasn't the Special Tribunal for Lebanon indicated that it will indict members of Hezbollah for involvement in the Hariri assassination but no Syrians?
Doesn't this shift the blame for Hariri's murder onto Hezbollah? As this article goes to press at the beginning of August, we only know that Nasrallah has announced that Saad Hariri informed him that several members of Hezbollah would be indicted. It does not seem that any Syrians are on the list. Does this mean that Syria is off the hook? It is too early to say. Some commentators continue to insist that Syria had to have a role because it is an ally of Hezbollah, because the bomb that killed Hariri was so big and the plot so refined, a non-state actor would have been incapable of pulling it off, and, because Syria had 16, soldiers on Lebanese soil init must have been responsible for the attack.
But these arguments are not persuasive. The United States has occupied both Iraq and Afghanistan with far more troops than Syria had in Lebanon for many years without being able to control either country, let alone determine which non-state actor was carrying out very sophisticated bombings. The one lesson that the STL does seem to afford is that much of the world rushed to judgment with precious little information.
What is more, the first report delivered by the first investigator of the special tribunal, Detlev Mehlis, named Syria as the prime suspect based on evidence that later prosecutors had to throw out. All the witnesses that Mehlis relied on for his Syria section later recanted, claiming that they had been bribed and pressured into giving false testimony.
By the time the second investigator could jettison this misleading information and focus on the evidence that led to Hezbollah operatives, the damage was done. Syria has been subjected to a withering campaign of demonization over the last five years.
What has been President Asad's biggest failing? Few would contest that his biggest failing has been on human rights and due process of the law. Syria restricts political freedoms more than any other Arab state. Freedom of speech and assembly are severely constrained.
Syrians are frightened of their government. I have argued elsewhere that Syria probably holds fewer political prisoners per capita than many other Middle Eastern governments that afford their subjects greater freedom — Egypt, Iraq, Algeria, Israel, Turkey and Tunisia, to name a few — but this is no consolation for Syria's political restrictiveness, which casts a pall over daily life.
NGO activity and civil society in Syria are practically non-existent.
The U.S.-Syria Relationship: A Few Questions
Human Rights Watch recently issued an assessment of Asad's first 10 years that declared they had been "wasted. Some analysts argue that Syria's economic-reform process is too little, too late, and that the regime is too brittle to face the changes that must take place.
Where is the reform process headed? Syria faces a major challenge in attempting to secure its economic future. This is President Asad's and the entire country's big challenge in the coming decade. Over the last 20 years the Syrian economy has grown too slowly and the population too quickly. Eighty percent of Syrians are under the age of 30, because they have one of world's highest population growth rates at 2.
There are some 21 million Syrians today; the prime minister has warned that there will likely be 40 million by Every year, Syria grows by half a million people.
The percentage of Syrians living in "extreme poverty" rose from Syria's water supply is overdrawn, and a three-year drought has strained the agricultural sector in the east. Maplecroft, a corporate-risk intelligence firm, recently rated Syria as having the tenth-least-secure supplies of water out of countries it rated.
Major industries in the north, such as textiles, have been hit hard by the global downturn and competition from Turkey and China, now that tariffs are being lifted. Syria was ranked ninety-fourth out of in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report, tying with Mauritania for last place among Arab states.
Problems hampering growth were a slow decline in oil production, a delayed reform of state enterprises and high levels of corruption. Asad is not rigid or ideological on economic matters. His wife is a former investment banker and is helping to push in the right direction.
Syria–United States relations
Abdullah Dardari, the deputy prime minister for economic affairs, leads a team of able politicians and economists who are spearheading the reform agenda. Some are frustrated with its pace, but they all believe Syria is headed in the right direction and has the prerequisites to make a success of its economic opening.
Barton Biggs, the prominent hedge-fund manager, argued in a Newsweek article that Syria may be the next "frontier" market, where great fortunes can be made. Iraq has opened up as an important market for Syrian goods, taking some 30 percent of total exports in In AprilSyria opened a stock market and is preparing the way for other capital markets, such as a government bond market. Inthe first private bank opened its doors in Syria.
Although Syria's six public banks, with the Commercial Bank of Syria at the forefront, still hold almost four times more assets than private banks, the new sector is coming on very quickly. The Syrian government has been working hard over the past decade to attract foreign investment. Over 1, new laws have been passed since revamping Syria's legal framework to provide assurances for capital.
Statistics indicating that economic activity is picking up rapidly this year are numerous. According to the July issue of Syria Report, revenues generated by Syria's customs increased 30 percent during the first half of over the first half of Tourism is up by a whopping 63 percent compared to the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
Almost every day, one reads about new investment projects being launched in Syria: The argument that Syria may be on the verge of a takeoff is not without merit. The real challenge will be managing the switch from a socialist to a free-market economy without allowing the income gap and poverty to get out of control, as it has in some developing countries.
Many of Syria's fundamentals are sound. Average annual inflation will only be 6. Syria's natural-gas production increased by 6. Oil production has been mixed. Recently, new exploration has brought on a number of small fields that have counterbalanced the decline at more mature and larger fields. Economic growth rates are on their way up because of the reforms.
Syria–United States relations - Wikipedia
Despite world depression, Syria's real GDP growth was 5. The Economist Intelligence Unit argues that 5 percent is closer to the truth, but we will have to see.
Syria is poised at a crucial turning point. Some days, one feels nothing but doom and gloom because of the many challenges; on other days, the future seems bright. A walk through the old cities of Damascus and Aleppo is inspiring.
- U.S. Department of State
They have been transformed into beautiful environments that attract Syrian and foreign tourists alike. Syria has many bright spots, in addition to political stability and a government that is moving in the right direction.