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WASHINGTON – One uniting factor that appears to be keeping Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power is the impact that U.S.-led sanctions against the regime are having on the civilian population, thereby creating an anti-U.S. reaction, according to report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
“Today in Syria, from the streets and cafes to the universities, a main subject of discussion and one that is nearly universally judged immoral and illegal are the U.S.-led sanctions that, in effect, are targeting the civilian population,” according to Damascus-based Middle East specialist Franklin Lamb in an email to WND/G2Bulletin.
He pointed out that that partly due to the sanctions, some four million Syrians need some type of humanitarian help, adding that there are some 637,958 registered refugees inside Syria in need of emergency assistance.
In addition to the fighting, which has added to the misery of the Syrian population, Lamb pointed out the ability for food organizations to reach the population has been all but cut off due to the violence along with attacks against the vehicles themselves.
“Both the Syrian Arab Republic Red Crescent Society and other NGOs – foreign and domestic – are stretched beyond their limits and are struggling with approximately 10,000 more people in the areas they are able to assist every month being added to those in desperate need of help,” Lamb said.
“Virtually all the NGOs here attest to the fact that if the U.S.-led sanctions are lifted or even suspended until the spring, it would be a humanitarian gesture consistent with American claimed values,” Lamb said. “To continue to allow the dying and suffering under the weight of these sanctions suggests that we in America have learned nothing from the result of similar sanctions imposed in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
He pointed out that the sanctions are preventing businesses from reopening, investments, financial transactions re-supply and other necessary economic activities which include providing the basic necessities such as fuel to heat homes. It recently has been snowing heavily in Damascus.
As a result of the sanctions, Lamb said, food prices are soaring beyond what the Syrian civilian population can afford. They also are affecting the young, old, infirm and impoverished – many of whom are dying.
There was this viewpoint of one student, Nizar, Lamb spoke to: “If terrorism is the killing of innocent civilians for political goals, then your government, the world’s claimed expert on terrorism, is very guilty of massive terrorism and doesn’t need to lecture anyone on this subject because this is exactly what they are doing with their sanctions in my country.”
Lamb said that it was the assessment of the students whom he interviewed that regime change was not likely to happen “anytime soon in Syria” but that the next four months will be critical.
Lamb pointed out that despite all of the outside assistance reaching the Syrian opposition, especially from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Jordan, the regime will survive and that the radical Salafists and the al-Nusra terrorist group infiltrating that opposition instead will aim at Doha, Riyadh, Amman and the other Gulf Arab countries in the region.
“The political goals of the sanctions imposed on Syrian civilians are one thing,” Lamb said. “The reality, quite another. U.S. sanctions, some still in place against Cuba, after more than 53 years, were a failure, as were U.S. sanctions (toward) China, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Libya and now Syria, to name a few.”
Lamb then quoted a Damascus University student named Rana in an appeal to U.S. President Barack Obama:
“Mr. President, in 1987 on the 750th anniversary of Berlin, your predecessor Ronald Reagan, spoke about the importance of human dignity and challenged Russian leader Gorbachev, to ‘tear down this wall,’ In 2013, we students and our families from Damascus, the city of Jasmine, which was inhabited as early as 8,000 B.C., and whose livelihood, opportunities and hope you are destroying today for no sane reason, urge you to ‘tear down these sanctions,’ come to Syria, visit our campus and engage in dialogue with us.”
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