Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity


Views from the Center


This is a joint post with Kimberly Elliott

The April 12 deadline for a complete ceasefire in Syria seems to have slightly damped the violence in Syria for now, but alone it will do nothing to ensure a peaceful transition to a democratic government. President Bashar Assad’s government is still not complying with other parts of the UN brokered peace plan aimed at ending more than a year of deadly violence, and world leaders are insisting that a credible political transition must take place quickly for this fragile progress to hold any weight.

With the window for a diplomatic solution still precariously propped open, we think it’s more important than ever to consider all available options to pressure Assad’s illegitimate regime – including CGDs proposal for preemptive contract sanctions . Under this approach, new contracts with the Assad regime, for example, for oil or arms, would be declared illegitimate, so that a legitimate successor government could choose not to honor them. Such a declaration could discourage new contracts with the Syrian government and help prevent the ceasefire from simply becoming an opportunity for the Assad regime to rearm itself.

Learn more about how preemptive contract sanctions could work in Syria; watch Kim Elliott’s white board talk in which she explains the basics in just four minutes (now available in closed captioning with Arabic subtitles)


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.