Journal of Social and Political


ISSN 2615-3718 (Online)

ISSN 2621-5675 (Print)

Published: 17 August 2020

Sanctioning Arabia through the Caesar Act: Economic Violence & Imperial Anxieties in the “Middle East”

Charles A. Sills, Khaled Al-Kassimi

American University of Beirut

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Pages: 789-799

Keywords: Sanctions, Syria, Regional Economy, Hegemony, Liberal-Interventionism, Realpolitik


This paper appraises the regional impact of economic sanctions initiated by the United States against the Syrian Arab Republic by analyzing the ‘spillover effect’ of such measures elsewhere in the Levant. Specifically, this paper measures the impact of the ongoing American sanctions regime in Jordan and Lebanon. Excising the Syrian market from the regional economy has had -and will continue to have- ruinous consequences for Lebanese and Jordanian balance sheets. This eventuality redounds to the benefit of the United States, which seeks to extend its hegemony over a weak and divided Middle East. America’s ‘off-shore balancing’ act in the Syrian context should thus be analyzed through the lens of the realist school of IR theory. Using a hybridized research methodology incorporating qualitative and quantitative analysis, this article examines the myriad effects of the embargo while deconstructing the epistemological and theoretical frameworks underpinning the theory and practice of contemporary ‘liberal- interventionist’ discourse.


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