By Makram Khoury-Machool
Feb. 7, 2023
In a lengthy manner, Western mainstream media, just a few hours after the devastating earthquake took place, kept broadcasting the news from various NATO capitals that their respective governments were making pledges to immediately help Turkey while ignoring Syria. It’s as if Syria, which was hit almost equally, doesn’t exist. As if the children of the cradle of civilisation are children of a lesser god and that the likes of Ishtar have never existed.
It is disheartening to observe how those who spent decades preaching “morality” to the world in the most pompous manner never fail to disappoint the very basic moral requirements. This made me repeatedly wonder, where do all the teachings of Western moral philosophers fit in the ruling western system, if not also in the process of political decision-making, if not for them to propagate the existence of moral philosophy to the world (whereas their job is to distance themselves from its implementation)?
It seems, however, that there is a chasm between those who work for the UN and relentlessly try to implement its mission and charter (such as Special Rapporteurs), and those members of the UN, especially the Western permanent members of the UN Security Council and their groups (NATO and the EU) who think and act as if they are the policing force of the international community.
Whilst the NATO capitals have been discussing further sanctions on Syria, UN experts have not only advised against this measure, but also suggested lifting the already existing sanctions. In his August 2018 report to the Human Rights Council, UN expert on coercive unilateral measures, Idriss Jazairy wrote, “Despite the efforts to implement ‘smart’ sanctions with humanitarian exemptions, the application of current sanction regimes have contributed to the suffering of the Syrian people.” Ambassador Jazairy added that although sanctions have not caused the humanitarian crisis in Syria, they contribute to a worsening of the humanitarian situation, contrary to their stated intentions.
Furthermore, on 10 November 2022, the successor of the late Amb. Jazairy, UN Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures and human rights, Prof. Alena Douhan urged sanctioning states to lift unilateral sanctions against Syria, warning that they were perpetuating and exacerbating the destruction and trauma suffered by the Syrian people since 2011.
Only two months before the most traumatic and devastating earthquake in Syria and Turkey (the morning of February 6, 2023), UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen said (on December 8, 2022) that the US-led Western sanctions on Syria shouldn’t block humanitarian assistance. The sanctions on Syria are “Western” and politically motivated. As he noted himself, “There are no UN sanctions against Syria. There are American and EU sanctions”. Envoy Pedersen declared that “Syria doesn’t need more war, it needs peace, and it needs a political process,” he said, adding the current situation in Syria is unacceptable as 90 percent of Syrians live in poverty”.
Even without a devastating earthquake, the forthcoming CAPTAGON Act (an American way to impose additional sanctions) in addition to the already existing “Caesar Act” (which has already escalated the tragedy of the Syrian people) aims at starving the Syrian people and turning the Syrian Arab Republic into a “failed state” in order to later dominate it. The US has admitted to stealing Syria’s oil (at an average of 120,000 oil barrels per day) in addition to other natural resources, namely its wheat.
Hypocritical decisions taken by the Western ruling elites have been continuously lethal in Syria. At this highly crucial moment we need to act morally and minimise suffering as a matter of urgency, otherwise, those who initiated the war against Syria, supported terrorism, and imposed sanctions, will be brutally killing the same nation three times in a row.
The UN Secretary-General should be to urging (and leading) all regimes imposing sanctions on Syria to lift these sanctions immediately and ease the process of international aid by allowing direct aid flights from all over the world to land in Syrian airports, in order to help the Syrian people, without any attempt to politicize it through the utilization of local or regional actors.
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