Syrian Earthquake Makes No Dent in America’s Life-Killing Sanctions

Thousands dead in Syria from earthquake elicited not a shred of empathy in Uncle Sam’s damaged conscience. Ten years of sanctions degrading life, even ending it for innocents in Syria, will continue while Syrians dig out the bodies buried under the rubble.

Much of the civilized world is calling for the end to decade long sanctions designed to remove President Assad. Since we’re lavishing weapons of war on some highly authoritarian countries, it’s not because of his authoritarian rule. It’s linked to his alliance with Russia and Iran, two of our biggest imaginary enemies.

So instead of removing sanctions and offering assistance to Assad’s government in a monumental relief effort, we’re committed to ‘No relief for Syria till Assad is gone, Syrian humanity be damned.’ Or to paraphrase former president George H.W. Bush…”Wouldn’t be prudent.”

Besides refusing any relief of assistance to Syria, the US claims we’re not impeding private NGO humanitarian efforts. But according to the New York Times, US sanctions policy means Syria “is not able to receive direct aid from many countries.” While sanctions have exemptions for humanitarian goods, many banks block transactions with aid groups in Syria out of fear of America’s wrath.

Ignoring humanitarian disasters for countries we hate is nothing new for America. Last June our sanctions on Afghanistan stalled relief efforts when an earthquake struck there, killing over a thousand. Even the UN reported US sanctions complicated aid deliveries. Since the Taliban whupped America, sending us fleeing our 20 year defilement of Afghanistan, those sanctions remain in place, putting 6 million Afghans at risk of famine. Revenge is sweet for America…deadly for Afghanistan.

US sanctions afflicting over 20 countries is a national disgrace. But when they’re used to degrade countries we hate suffering natural catastrophes, it’s particularly grotesque.

Walt Zlotow became involved in antiwar activities upon entering University of Chicago in 1963. He is current president of the West Suburban Peace Coalition based in the Chicago western suburbs. He blogs daily on antiwar and other issues at

19 thoughts on “Syrian Earthquake Makes No Dent in America’s Life-Killing Sanctions”

  1. Walt Zlotow made a great point. Sanctions only hurt the people in the countries. Many people I’ve met say sanctions don’t hurt anyone and it’s the fault of the leaders in those countries that they are poor and every country should take care of its own people. They don’t know or don’t care that the USA meddles in their affairs and bombs the hell out of many of those countries even if it is not officially at war with them.

    1. Apartheid South Africa shows that sanctions can be the right thing to do. You can’t make blanket statements about sanctions. If it’s the evil empire, aka the U.S., imposing sanctions in order to support its empire, then of course that’s evil. But wouldn’t you support sanctions against Israel, or against the U.S. for that matter?

      1. I would support sanctions against the US & Israel since they are the problems and not the solutions to the world’s problems. Since they are not developing nations (also known as 3rd world nations), sanctions would not hurt the average people there as much as they do to developing nations.
        The US imposed sanctions against Cuba when Castro came to power, they did not cause the people to rise up and overthrow him. The Kim family is still in charge of North Korea despite the sanctions. After the Gulf War ended and before the Iraq war began, the US & UK had the UN impose sanctions against Iraq which led to starvation of the people and the US & UK bombed Iraq from the No Fly Zones although the war was officially over. The sanctions neither caused the Iraqi people to rise up nor overthrow Saddam Hussein, he was overthrown & executed due to the Iraq War.
        Both Democratic & Republican POTUS illegitimately recognized Guaido as Venezuela’s president although the majority of Venezuelans recognize Maduro as its president. The sanctions the US imposed on Venezuela will not cause the people to overthrow him. The sanctions have no effect on the government and only hurt the average people in the countries on which they are placed.

    2. This just clears the air that much more for those who are brainwashed to the “America right or wrong” mantra. Would a nation and a select power group do the following after what it has been and is still doing in nations like Syria-

      1) stage a pandemic to “cull” the population via “vaccines”?
      2) steal the 2020 election and 2022 midterms?
      3) stage an “insurrection” (J6) as an “excuse” to persecute political enemies?
      4) steal Syria’s oil and destroy its crops in a badly damaged nation?
      5) lie to the people about everything?
      6) use PROVEN and OBVIOUS lies to attack and molest other nations?

      If the people can’t see the monster by now, they are pretty stupid!

  2. Biden is the new Clinton. Through his sanctions, Clinton was responsible for the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children.

    1. Clinton was responsible for the sanctions and the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children but somehow all the blame is on Madeleine Albright for admitting it! No wonder his nickname is “Slick Willie.” (Sarcasm alert)

      1. Bill Clinton was the nail in the coffin for any chance of the Democratic Party being a force for good. His position that the Democrats had to cozy up to corporate America in order to regain the White House, his ramming NAFTA through Congress when Bush I couldn’t get that done, and his generally moving the Democratic Party to the right make him probably the worst Democratic President of my lifetime. To be clear, the Democratic Party had been rotten at least since it cheated Henry Wallace out of the vice presidency in 1944, but again this was the nail in the coffin.

      1. Yes! People seem to forget that Bush I goaded Iraq into invading Kuwait, having his diplomat dishonestly tell Iraq that the U.S. had no problem with that invasion, then attacking Iraq for the invasion. It was almost all about oil, despite lies to the contrary.

        1. that was a long time ago but it seems like only yesterday
          here is the sumbitch right here for all of posterity =

          i will remind everybody that we actually had a president who was also the chief of the CIA. wait, what did i just say? never mind, this stupid MF (me) is just another conspiracy theorist

  3. Why doesn’t any of these stories mention Israel?

    Israel isn’t giving any humanitarian support to Syria even though it is next door.

    1. Israel hates Syria and has been bombing it. What makes you think that Israel would give Syria any support? Syria is allied with Iran, Israel’s main enemy in the region.

      To be clear, I’m not taking Israel’s side, far from it. I’m just stating the geopolitical realities in the region.

  4. US just made a 180 turn and announced temporary removal of sanctions. US was pressed by many countries that publicly called for removal of sanctions. It became embarrasing.

    US did very little ti help Turkey — also negligible from other NATO countries. US sent one rescue team compared to dozens by Russia and China. Very little in material support —- medicine, tents, heatung units, blankets, food. Russia, China and Iran were very fast and supplies keep on comming hourly by planes and trucks by road Syria had immediate help from Russia as it has supplies at its bases, followed by contrinuous olane flights from Russia, Iran, China, All Arab countries in the region jumped in with belp. Evypt has bern in touch with Assad to determine additional urgent needs.

    Much of what is happening is also to shame US and West. While US and EU behaviour is politically motivated — its petty dislike of Turkey and Syriis, most Moslem world sees it as a proof of Western hatred of Mislems.

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