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Leaked UN report says US and EU sanctions against Syria “destabilized every sector of the economy”

US and EU sanctions against Syria punished the population and made aid work in Syria impossible, a leaked UN report revealed.

It is now without doubt that the US had Syria in its regime change crosshairs from as early as 2003 when the Bush Administration began its Iraq invasion to kick off the neocon plan to reshape the Middle East.

As the Al Qaeda/ISIS sponsored invasion of Syria unravels for America, more leaked document are making their way into alternative media’s hands. Main stream media will never report on such evidence as it completely destroys the “Assad must go – moderate rebel” narrative.

The Intercept has now obtained a UN document, published in May, entitled “Humanitarian Impact of Syria-Related Unilateral Restrictive Measures”  that blasts US and EU sanctions, noting that the restrictive measures imposed upon Syria contributed to the destabilization of every sector of the economy in Syria that used to be self-sufficient before the war began in 2011.

Th report highlights how the sanctions imposed on Syria were and are…

“some of the most complicated and far-reaching sanctions regimes ever imposed.”

In other words…the sanctions imposed by the US and its EU vassal states, were the beginning of the war against Syria…which has now led to nearly half a million dead and millions of refugees flooding into the EU.

The Intercept reports on the leaked UN paper…

Detailing a complex system of “unpredictable and time-consuming” financial restrictions and licensing requirements, the report finds that U.S. sanctions are exceptionally harsh “regarding provision of humanitarian aid.”

U.S. sanctions on Syrian banks have made the transfer of funds into the country nearly impossible. Even when a transaction is legal, banks are reluctant to process funds related to Syria for risk of incurring violation fees. This has given rise to an unofficial and unregulated network of money exchanges that lacks transparency, making it easier for extremist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda to divert funds undetected. The difficulty of transferring money is also preventing aid groups from paying local staff and suppliers, which has “delayed or prevented the delivery of development assistance in both government and besieged areas,” according to the report.

Trade restrictions on Syria are even more convoluted. Items that contain 10 percent or more of U.S. content, including medical devices, are banned from export to Syria. Aid groups wishing to bypass this rule have to apply for a special license, but the licensing bureaucracy is a nightmare to navigate, often requiring expensive lawyers that cost far more than the items being exported.

Syria was first subjected to sanctions in 1979, after the U.S. designated the Syrian government as a state sponsor of terrorism. More sanctions were added in subsequent years, though none more extreme than the restrictions imposed in 2011 in response to the Syrian government’s deadly crackdown on protesters.

In 2013 the sanctions were eased but only in opposition areas. Around the same time, the CIA began directly shipping weapons to armed insurgents at a colossal cost of nearly $1 billion a year, effectively adding fuel to the conflict while U.S. sanctions obstructed emergency assistance to civilians caught in the crossfire.

The Intercept also managed to obtain an internal UN email that levels additional blame on the US and EU sanctions for massive food shortages in Syria.

The email completely debunks recent claims emanating from the US State Department and UN Diplomats (like Samantha Power) who express a false concern over Aleppo’s humanitarian crisis, given that it was these very diplomats who pushed for a food and water shortages in 2011, in order to expand chaos and suffering among the Syrian population.

The August email from a key U.N. official warned that sanctions had contributed to a doubling in fuel prices in 18 months and a 40 percent drop in wheat production since 2010, causing the price of wheat flour to soar by 300 percent and rice by 650 percent. The email went on to cite sanctions as a “principal factor” in the erosion of Syria’s health care system. Medicine-producing factories that haven’t been completely destroyed by the fighting have been forced to close because of sanctions-related restrictions on raw materials and foreign currency, the email said.

Such conditions would be devastating for any country. In war-torn Syria, where an estimated 13 million people are dependent on humanitarian assistance, the sanctions are compounding the chaos.

In an emailed statement to The Intercept, the State Department denied that the sanctions are hurting civilians.

“U.S. sanctions against [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad], his backers, and the regime deprive these actors of resources that could be used to further the bloody campaign Assad continues to wage against his own people,” said the statement, which recycled talking points that justified sanctions against Iraq in 1990s. The U.S. continued to rationalize the Iraq sanctions even after a report was released by UNICEF in 1999 that showed a doubling in mortality rates for children under the age of 5 after sanctions were imposed in the wake of the Gulf War, and the death of 500,000 children.

“The true responsibility for the dire humanitarian situation lies squarely with Assad, who has repeatedly denied access and attacked aid workers,” the U.S. statement on Syria continued. “He has the ability to relieve this suffering at any time, should he meet his commitment to provide full, sustained access for delivery of humanitarian assistance in areas that the U.N. has determined need it.”

Meanwhile, in cities controlled by ISIS, the U.S. has employed some of the same tactics it condemns. For example, U.S.-backed ground forces laid siegeto Manbij, a city in northern Syria not far from Aleppo that is home to tens of thousands of civilians. U.S. airstrikes pounded the city over the summer, killing up to 125 civilians in a single attack. The U.S. also used airstrikes to drive ISIS out of KobaneRamadi, and Fallujah, leaving behind flattened neighborhoods. In Fallujah, residents resorted to eating soup made from grass and 140 people reportedly died from lack of food and medicine during the siege.

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said this to The Intercept about the US sanction policy employed in both Iraq and Syria…

“Sanctions have a terrible effect on the people more than the regime and Washington knows this from Iraq. But there’s pressure in Washington to do something and sanctions look like you’re doing something.”

“The opposition likes sanctions.  They were the people who advocated them in the beginning because they want to put any pressure they can on the regime. But it’s very clear that the regime is not going to fall, that the sanctions are not working. They’re only immiserating a population that’s already suffered terrible declines in their per capita GDP.” 

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Alex Christoforou
Writer and director forThe Duran - Living the dream in Moscow.

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