Council of the European Union recently added seven Syrian government ministers to the list of persons and entities under sanctions. This brings to 277 the number of persons targeted by a travel ban and an asset freeze, and an additional 72 entities are targeted by an asset freeze.
The current EU sanctions against Syria include: embargo on oil, trade and investment restrictions, assets freeze on the Syrian central bank within the EU, restrictions on the export of military hardware, and internet and telecommunications equipment and technology.
The US-NATO-EU attack on Syria began in March 2011, and the first EU sanctions were declared on December 1, 2011. The EU policy on Syria was a mirror image of the American policy, which sought ‘regime change’, through the use of terrorists posing as rebels.
The roots of the plan to destroy Syria and institute a US approved puppet government goes back decades. One of the many reasons the plan was put into action in 2011 was due to President Assad’s refusal to sign an agreement in 2009 with Qatar, which would bring a pipeline through Syria in order to supply the European markets with natural gas, excluding Russia, which is the biggest supplier to Europe. Driving Russia out of the energy business, and thus crippling the economy of Russia was the US-NATO-EU plan.
The EU demands on Syria are tied to the UN Security Council resolution 2254 and in the 2012 Geneva Communiqué. Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the EU, believes that there can be no military solution to the conflict, the end to the war can only be through a political transition, and that there can be no lasting peace in Syria under the current “regime”, which is the western term used for the government of Syria.
Regardless of the fact that the opposition is not supported by the majority of Syrian citizens inside Syria, the EU is committed to propping up the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) as the only opposition delegation. Former Syrian National Coalition (SNC) Secretary-General Nasr al-Hariri is the head of the HNC, and is known to be closely associated with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, which is regarded as an outlawed terrorist organization in Egypt, Russia and Syria. From the outset of the conflict the SNC was set up in Istanbul and was made up of predominately Muslim Brotherhood followers.
The effect of the EU sanctions on the daily lives of ordinary Syrians is devastating. They have survived 8 years of war only to continue to suffer at the hands of Europeans.
The oil embargo has resulted in: severe lack of electricity; severe lack of cooking gas; shortage of gasoline; reduction in previously free medical care at state hospitals; reduction in free education at the University level. Syria had been for decades providing free health care to all, and free education from the first grade to the PhD.
The trade and investments sanctions have resulted in: lost jobs; lack of income; shops and companies closures; Syrian migration to Germany for economic reasons.
The embargo on Syrian banks has resulted in: inability to purchase necessary and life saving medical equipments, including parts to repair existing machinery; inability to repair or replace sophisticated equipment such as power generators for electricity production.
“The impact of economic sanctions imposed on Syria heavily affected the procurement of some specific medicine including anti-cancer medicines,” said (Elizabeth) Hoff (Representative of the World Health Organization in Syria). The sanctions were preventing many international pharmaceutical companies from dealing with the Syrian authorities as well as hindering foreign banks in handling payments for imported drugs, she added.
If the EU sanctions were not brutal enough, their partner USA has even more sanctions in place. American sanctions are against a very long list of countries with Iran, Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, and Syria among them.
Syria is in the last period of conflict, with almost all the territory back in the hands of the central government. Peace and stability will return and so will many refugees. The next phase will certainly be reconstruction; however, the EU and US policy is to prevent all reconstruction in Syria. With the EU and US sanctions in place, no materials could be imported, no foreign construction teams or suppliers could participate, and no transfers of funds for reconstruction or new residential projects could take place. What the US-NATO-EU attack on Syria for the purpose of regime change failed to get on the battlefields, they seek to achieve in the end, as a footnote to their military defeat.