by Janet Babin
The Syrian Embassy says the trip’s purpose is to tap into its growing IT market. And the high-tech firms on the trip — Dell, Cisco and others — would certainly benefit from doing business with Syria. Right now, they can’t because of U.S. sanctions.
Edward Djerejian, a former U.S. Ambassador to Syria now a director of the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, says the U.S. is betting IT could be a more effective diplomatic tool than sanctions. “There is a very burgeoning information generation in Syria,” he says, “especially in the universities, amongst the youth and young businessmen.”
But the high-tech mission is controversial, says Princeton professor Dan Kurtzer served as U.S. ambassador to Israel and Egypt. “There are some dangers in providing access to advance technology to a country that is producing weapons of mass destruction and still remains in a state of enmity with Israel,” he says.
Some human rights groups and Republican lawmakers oppose the trade mission.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.