Once again, the U.S. imperialism is showing its true face through its selective response to the disastrous earthquake that has taken the lives of tens of thousands of people and destroyed whole cities in Syria and Turkey.
While countries like China, Russia, India, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Lebanon, and UAE (great majority of them under U.S. sanctions themselves), have rushed to the help of Syrian people, the U.S. still refuses to lift its sanctions against Syria despite the urgent humanitarian crisis.
The problem, however, is not limited to a ban on the shipment of U.S. medical supplies, equipment and humanitarian funds to Syria. As Syria’s United Nations Ambassador, Bassam al-Sabbagh, explained, “even those countries who want to send humanitarian assistance, they cannot use the airplane cargo because of the sanctions.”
Even before this catastrophic earthquake, U.S. sanctions, and its imposed war on Syria, had already shrunk the Syrian economy by 90 percent and had pushed 90 percent of the population of Syria into poverty. In late November 2022, the UN Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan had said that U.S. sanctions against Syria “may amount to crimes against humanity.”
On February 6, during the State Department Press Briefing, in response to a reporter who asked: “why not reach out to the Syrian Government? ... They’re the ones that run these rescue operations or aid operations ...,” Ned Price said:
“I will make the point that it would be quite ironic, if not even counterproductive, for us to reach out to ... [the Syrian] government.... Instead, we have humanitarian partners on the ground who can provide the type of assistance in the aftermath of these tragic earthquakes ... these humanitarian partners ... have been active on the ground since the earliest days of the civil war.”
What Ned Price consciously hid in his response was the fact that those U.S. “humanitarian partners” are only distributing aid to the Syrian areas that are under the U.S.-supported rebels’ control and not to all areas affected by the earthquake.
According to Syrian state media, Sana, “the Americans claim that they did not impose sanctions on humanitarian aid, but in reality, their sanctions do not allow anything from reaching Syria, including preventing the purchase of medicines.... Washington and its western allies give orders to some countries and threaten them to impose sanctions on them if they negotiate with Syria or if any bank deals with Syria.”
It is time to put an end to the cruel, anti-human economic sanctions, not only against Syria, but against all countries that are victimized by the imperialist policy of weaponizing unilateral economic measures for the political goal of maintaining hegemonic domination over the rest of the world.
U.S. Peace Council
February 11, 2023