The most significant sanctions are on the oil industry, estimated by the International Monetary Fund to have accounted for almost a fifth of gross domestic product in 2010. Analysts estimate that they helped contribute to a contraction of 2-10 per cent to Syria’s economy last year (2011).
“Syria running out of cash as sanctions take toll, but Assad avoids economic pain.” One did not even need to read beyond the headline to get the point. The article reports as follows:The financial hemorrhaging has forced Syrian officials to stop providing education, health care and other essential services in some parts of the country, and has prompted the government to seek more help from Iran to prop up the country’s sagging currency.… Revenue from Syrian oil, meanwhile, has almost dried up, with even China and India declining to accept the nation’s crude…..At the same time, President Bashar al-Assad appears to have shielded himself and his inner circle from much of the pain of the sanctions and trade embargoes, which are driving up food and fuel prices for many of the country’s 20 million residents…
A murky broader picture (emerges) suggesting that while some sanctions are hurting the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the president, and its alleged associates, they are also hurting ordinary Syrians … David Butter, a Middle East economic expert, said: ‘If it’s a scrap for limited resources, the regime is still in a position to get the first rights, whether fuel or cash or food. It [the sanctions regime] hurts them but to really cripple them is going to take a long time.
“An explosion killed at least three people in Aleppo, and two blasts hit a Damascus highway on Saturday in further signs that rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad are shifting tactics toward homemade explosives. Syria’s state news agency said three people had been killed, one of them a child, and 21 had been wounded by a booby-trapped car in the northern city of Aleppo. The Syrian Observatory for Humans Rights, an opposition group based in Britain that relies on information from Syrian activists, said the blast destroyed a carwash in Tal al-Zarazeer, a poor suburb, and killed five people. A member of the rebel Free Syrian Army claimed responsibility for the bombing, saying that the carwash was used by members of a pro-Assad militia.”
In the eyes of PHR it would appear that official enemies of the U.S. Empire deserve sanctions, whereas allies who violate the most basic human rights get an investigation and a tongue lashing – at most.
- It is interesting to read what is necessary for such sanctions to be lifted once imposed. The bill states the following:
- ceased support for international terrorist groups;
- ended its occupation of Lebanon;
- ceased development and deployment of ballistic missiles and biological, chemical, or nuclear weapons and agreed to verification measures; and
- ceased all support for, and facilitation of, terrorist activities in Iraq.”