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More War by Other Means: Sanctioning the Wife of Syria’s President Makes No Sense to Anyone
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More sanctions, by all means. More grief and suffering and more people around the world wondering what exactly the United States is doing.

I am a recipient of regular, usual weekly, emails from the Department of the Treasury providing an “Update to OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) and Blocked Persons.” OFAC is the Office of Foreign Assets Control, which is tasked with both identifying and managing the financial punishments meted out to those individuals and groups that have been sanctioned by the United States government. A recent update, on November 10th, included “Non-Proliferation Designations; Iran-related Designations.” There were ten items on the list, names of Chinese and Iranian individuals and companies. Those who are “Specially Designated” on the list are subject to having their assets blocked if located in the United States and are also not allowed to engage in any financial transactions that go through U.S. banking channels. As many international banks respect U.S. Treasury “designations” lest they themselves be subjected to secondary sanctions that often means in effect that the individual or group cannot move money in a large part of the global financial marketplace.

The complete SDN list is hundreds of pages long. The Treasury Department defines and justifies OFAC’s mission “As part of its enforcement efforts, OFAC publishes a list of individuals and companies owned or controlled by, or acting for or on behalf of, targeted countries. It also lists individuals, groups, and entities, such as terrorists and narcotics traffickers designated under programs that are not country-specific. Collectively, such individuals and companies are called ‘Specially Designated Nationals’ or ‘SDNs.’ Their assets are blocked and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.”

In reality, of course, OFAC’s sanctions are highly political. They are clearly a form of economic warfare, particularly when entire sectors of a nation’s economy are blocked or a part of a government itself is listed as has been the case with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Force. Wave after wave of “maximum pressure” sanctions on Iran have made it difficult for the country to sell its only major marketable resource, oil, and it has been locked out of most normal financial networks, making it difficult or even impossible to buy food and medicines.

In many cases sanctions have no practical effect but are rather intended to send a message. There have been new sanctions directed against Moscow and Russian government officials have been sanctioned due to their alleged involvement in activities that the United States does not approve of. The sanctions are imposed even though those “specially designated” have no assets in the U.S. and do not engage in any international financial transactions that could be blocked or disrupted. In those cases, the federal government is sending a message to whomever has been sanctioned to warn them that they are being watched and their behavior has become a matter of record. It is basically a form of intimidation.

Whether sanctions actually work is debatable. The example of Cuba, which was sanctioned by the U.S. for nearly sixty years, would suggest not. Some would argue that on the contrary countries with totalitarian regimes would actually improve their behavior if their citizens could travel freely and welcome visitors, providing evidence that foreigners do not pose a threat justifying a police state.

Within the United States government, it is largely accepted that the most powerful advocate of the sanctions regime is Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who has been the driving force behind recent sanctions directed against both China and Iran. If that is so he might well be challenged on one of the most bizarre and basically pointless applications of sanctions in recent years, targeting Asma the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as well as her family that lives in London and are British citizens. Per Pompeo’s statement on the new sanctions “The Department of State today is imposing sanctions on Asma al-Assad, the wife of Bashar al-Assad, for impeding efforts to promote a political resolution of the Syrian conflict pursuant to Section 2(a)(i)(D) of Executive Order 13894… Asma al-Assad has spearheaded efforts on behalf of the regime to consolidate economic and political power, including by using her so-called charities and civil society organizations.”

But the real kicker is Pompeo’s condemnation of Asma, of Syrian origin but English born and raised, is how he involves her family. Her father-in-law Fawaz is a renowned cardiologist at Cromwell Hospital in South Kensington who was educated in England and has lived there for decades. “In addition, we are sanctioning several members of Asma al-Assad’s immediate family, including Fawaz Akhras, Sahar Otri Akhras, Firas al Akhras, and Eyad Akhras as per Section 2(a)(ii) of EO 13894. The Assad and Akhras families have accumulated their ill-gotten riches at the expense of the Syrian people through their control over an extensive, illicit network with links in Europe, the Gulf, and elsewhere.”

Inevitably, no evidence is provided to support any of the allegations about Asma al-Assad and her English family. Asma’s charities are for real in her war-torn country and she is highly respected and admired by those who know her and are not influenced by U.S. and Israeli propaganda.

In reality, the United States has been trying hard to overthrow the Syrian government since 2004 when the Syria Accountability Act was passed. Much of the heat in Congress behind the passage of the act was generated by the Israel Lobby, which wanted to weaken the regime and reduce its ability to represent a viable military force possibly capable of regaining the occupied Golan Heights. Be that as it may, the United States has been hostile to the country’s government and has frequently called for regime change. To bring that about, the U.S. supported al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups operating against Damascus and American soldiers continue to occupy Syrian oil fields in the southeast portion of the country. The Syrians have also been subjected to waves of sanctions that have done grave damage to their economy. American and Israeli concerns have sometimes been linked to the presence of Damascus’ allies Hezbollah and Iran, both of whom have military units based inside Syria, but the simple fact is that neither Iranians nor Lebanese in any way threaten the vastly superior American and Israeli forces present in the region.

One has to ask why, given the realpolitik playing out in the Middle East, Washington and Pompeo feel compelled to go after Asma al-Assad and her family, apparently to include absurdly blaming relatives living for many years outside of Syria for fueling the war. More sanctions, by all means. More grief and suffering and more people around the world wondering what exactly the United States is doing.

Philip Giraldi, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.

(Republished from Strategic Culture Foundation by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Iran, Israel Lobby, Mike Pompeo, Syria 
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  1. lloyd says: • Website

    Cuba has been half starved for the last sixty years. Without US sanctions, the Government might have allowed a “free economy” as there was initially before Cuba angered the American Government by closing down the casinos and the American capitalist monopoly.

    • Replies: @contester
  2. Anon[273] • Disclaimer says:

    No, it makes perfect sense if you know your enemy and know how your enemy thinks.

  3. anon[222] • Disclaimer says:

    The United States government no longer acts on behalf of a unified national interest. Rather, it acts based on what powerful single interest groups want: the oil lobby, the Israel lobby, Silicon Valley, etc. In the case of Syria, they want to block a couple of gas / oil pipelines and overthrow a government disrespectful of Israel. The American regime has been hijacked by interest groups who appropriate apparatus of power for their own benefit. Thus, what outwardly appears mystifying (harming the national interest) is actually quite understandable: some powerful interest group wants something, regardless of the detriment it causes to the interests of others, so the empire gets it for them.

  4. The corrupt and degenerate Trump regime and its minions have always had an unhealthy masturbatory focus on the women of its enemies. Trump is a self-admitted addict of grabbing pussies and his Petpig Pompeo is no better.

    These new sanctions on Assad’s wife and her family are nothing more than an frustrated admission that the corrupt Trump regime has been unable to defeat the Syrian regime and basically lost big despite its best attempts at kissing Netanyahu’s ass.

    Pompeo should go down on his knees and ask forgiveness from the LORD for authorizing the restart of gain-of-function research into Coronaviruses in 2017. The mass year-long escape of Covid-19 early variants from USAMRIID, Fort Detrick in late 2018 n early 2019 is what most probably started the global Covid-19 pandemic after the early variant viruses in the USA later mutated to more infectious versions after spreading to Europe and Asia from America.

    Even worse, this fatpig Pompeo covered it up and tried to blame China for the pandemic, even when it was obvious that his village idiot boss, Trump did not take the virus seriously n just wanted it to “go away” so it would not affect his election.

    Instead 400,000 Americas got to “go away” and that’s on these two fat pigs, Trump and Pompeo.

    • Replies: @WJ
  5. What could Israel possibly be giving Pompeo to act like such a rabid attack dog? Free lifetime pass at Adeldon’s casinos? His own island? Three girls at the same time?

    I can’t remember when sanctions actually worked as intended. More likely they are raw vindictive vengence such as can be found in the Old Testament and probably the Talmud (i haven’t read it, but by ((their)) fruits I can surmise the contents). Christians aren’t supposed to act like that, but the “Christian” Pompeo forgets.

    Happy New Year, Phil.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @Realist
  6. anon[203] • Disclaimer says:

    Will the HARRIS/biden Admin be any better?

  7. anonymous[400] • Disclaimer says:

    Asma is an intelligent, elegant woman. Compare with Michelle Obama or Jill Biden, both dumb twerpy types. This sanction routine is really petty and ends up making the US look bad. Whoever is doing this is really very un-self aware.

  8. Anon[153] • Disclaimer says:
    @Sir Launcelot Canning

    Those are all pertinent questions Sir Launcelot. Basically you’re asking what would motivate a man to commit such evil deeds?

    Let us put aside the theological definitions of evil for a moment please. For instance, let us put aside for a moment the idea of evil as Satan, or the Devil, or some other thing like that.

    Let’s just talk about evil deeds. I have noticed while doing research that some people experience a sense of euphoria when doing evil deeds. What I’m suggesting is that evil is like a drug. There are many instances of this.

    One of the most infamous instances of a person high on evil is when former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright claimed the death of 500,00 Iraq children “was worth it.” Well, this woman was obviously whacked out on evil. There is no other explanation that I can come up with.

    So to keep a long theory short Sir Launcelot, you answered your own questions. Pompeo will commit evil deeds and will be repaid with evil: exuberant gambling, exuberant luxury, exuberant sex. Just saying.

  9. dario says:

    Interview with the wife of Syria’s President

    • Replies: @thotmonger
  10. Realist says:

    More grief and suffering and more people around the world wondering what exactly the United States is doing.

    Oh, much of the rest of the world knows what the US has been doing for the last hundred years. And when they can do something about it…the US will be crushed.

    But the real kicker is Pompeo’s condemnation of Asma, of Syrian origin but English born and raised, is how he involves her family.

    Pompeo is an ass licker for Israel. He is an evangelical shit for brains that believe in the Rapture.

    The MSM that is Rapture central is Fox News…here is a propaganda piece they run from time to time.

    Here is Trump doing his Israeli ass licking.

    • Replies: @Fallingwater
  11. Realist says:
    @anon

    Will the HARRIS/biden Admin be any better?

    All administrations are controlled by the Deep State. We live in a Plutocratic Oligarchy.

  12. Realist says:
    @Sir Launcelot Canning

    What could Israel possibly be giving Pompeo to act like such a rabid attack dog? Free lifetime pass at Adeldon’s casinos? His own island? Three girls at the same time?

    Israel is giving Pompeo a pass to heaven…via the Rapture. LOL

  13. anon[228] • Disclaimer says:

    Next on list is her cat ,neighbors’s maids from Philippines,and a newsstand that amplifies tough questions on Pompeo and Elliot Abram’s gruesome murderous motives.

  14. Rahan says:

    The Eurasian Economic Union is in additional free trade arrangements with Vietnam, Iran, and Serbia.
    Might as well include Syria into this matrix.

  15. Mr. Giraldi: As always, you provide the straight forward truth about the many ways in which the United States government, in complete conspiracy (here’s a real conspiracy for you) with Israel and the American Jewish community, undermines Israel’s presumed enemies by every means, fair or foul.

    About the only “good” thing that can be said about Mr. Pompeio’s recent efforts is that they are less obviously malevolent than the Obama administration’s propagation of the insurgent movement that has completely undone Syria and caused the immigration crisis from the Middle East that is currently unraveling Europe. I don’t mean to minimize the utterly evil activity that the US continues to perpetrate through its endless sanctions on Syria, Iran and other supposed enemies of Israel. It might be noted, on the side, that it was the Assad regime which has held together all of the disparate muslim and christian elements of its population against great odds. Furthermore, the Assad regime was the savior of Lebanon after the Israeli invasion of Beirut in the 80’s, which trashed the place. And it was the Assad regime that offered refuge to a million Iraqi refugees after the US invaded Iraq in 2003. Thank God that the counterforce of Hezbollah remains a vibrant and moral foe of the Israelis, whether thanks to Syrian or Iranian help. Hezbollah is also the only thing standing between the Israelis and the complete destruction of Lebanon. It is comforting that Israel apparently sees itself as unable to combat Hezbollah directly, necessitating to their minds asymetrical attacks such as the “fertilizer explosion” which was probably of Israeli origin. Hezbollah remains the most viable check upon Israeli aspirations to destroy the rest of its enemies in the Middle East, namely Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. It might even be the single most effective check upon Israel’s obvious interest in destroying the Iranian Regime at the present time (as you discussed in your recent article).

  16. @dario

    Thanks, Wow. “Here our word is our honor.” What a beautiful principle. It brings back some forgotten lost ancestral memory, a gem worth recovering. Today it sounds like a foreign language in a place far away that must have a Kol Nidre Free Zone.

  17. Sanctioning the wife a the Syria’s President makes no sense to anyone.

    Better check with the Israelis on that one, Phil.

  18. Ed Case says:

    Her father-in-law Fawaz is a renowned cardiologist at Cromwell Hospital in South Kensington who was educated in England and has lived there for decades.

    Wouldn’t her father in law be Hafez al-Assad [1930-2000]?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hafez_al-Assad

    • Replies: @Antiwar7
  19. contester says:
    @lloyd

    lloyd, this is not true. Cuba has a climate that can produce food to flood several US states or even countries. But is doesn’t. The US has nothing to do with this.
    You see, when Cristóbal Colón (Columbus’ Spanish name) came to Cuba at the end of the 1400s, he could not anchor right away because the glorious Cuban Indian Merchant Fleet was so busy carrying food to Cuba from Florida and other parts of North America, that there was a traffic jam and he had to wait a few weeks. Otherwise Cuba would have starved to death.
    lloyd, don’t be so gullible.
    In the soviet times Cuba had potatoes and tomatoes imported from the USSR, because the national production was halted by decree of the US government. Each time a farmer would try to plant a seed, some US congressman representative would remotely or even on site stop their hands. Every time a Cuban national would try to angle some fish a policeman was ready, waiting to catch those daring to disobey the mandate of the US government. This explains why the island surrounded by ocean waters had no fish for its population. But I must recognize that the US government was very kind to tourists, since US and Canadians tourists could eat whatever their little tommies desired. Not Cubans though, by order of the US government, Cubans caught catching lobsters near the shores were automatically assigned 10 years or prison time.
    lloyd, don’t be so communistically stupid.

  20. “The Department of State today is imposing sanctions on Asma al-Assad, the wife of Bashar al-Assad, for impeding efforts to promote a political resolution of the Syrian conflict”

    The Neocon political solution is to destroy Syria so that Turkey can reclaim the north and Israel can reclaim the south with a natgas pipeline run to Europe from the Gulf States.

    • Agree: Fallingwater
  21. Asma is an incredibly beautiful and a very feminine woman, who beat the cancer recently. She is also a woman of courage and simply a class act–all traits which political bimbos in D.C. lack. Could this be a case of envy? I wouldn’t discount it. D.C. Karens are rather a sanctimonious bunch.

  22. Athena says:

    To bring that about, the U.S. supported al-Qaeda linked terrorist groups operating against Damascus and American soldiers continue to occupy Syrian oil fields in the southeast portion of the country. … the simple fact is that neither Iranians nor Lebanese in any way threaten the vastly superior American and Israeli forces present in the region.

    Friday, 1 January 2021
    LOCKERBIE – CIA

    TRAIL OF THE OCTOPUS — FROM BEIRUT TO LOCKERBIE — INSIDE THE DIA

    http://aanirfan.blogspot.com/2020/12/lockerbie-cia.html

    [MORE]

    excerpts:

    Oliver North approved of Israel’s secret arms sales to Iran.

    The Secret Jewish History Of Oliver North – The Forward

    Oliver North is linked to the Lockerbie Bombing.

    Oliver North ‘was a business associate of Syrian arms and drug runner Monzer al-Kassar.’ [1003]

    Reportedly, the CIA and Oliver North, with the help of Monzer al Kassar, were smuggling heroin from Lebanon into the USA, on PanAm flights.

    Kassar is said to have been a CIA asset, involved with Colonel Oliver North and General Richard Secord.

    (‘Confession of an Iranian Terror Czar’)

    Reportedly, profits from the Lebanese heroin were used by the CIA to help finance 9 11.

    Reportedly, Mohamed Atta flew heroin for the CIA into Florida.

    “Al Kassar would have known about Mohamed Atta ‘flying Lebanese heroin into Florida for Porter Goss’s 911 operation’.”

    • Thanks: Fallingwater
  23. Today’s younger generation is being robbed by usurers and globalists more than ever before, yet they will probably be more than willing to Stand With Kamala (and of course Israel) as she sends young men to die, either in Syria or somewhere close by.

  24. @Realist

    The IFCJ ads have always bothered me. First of all, veracity of their “survival” stories aside, why don’t extraordinarily wealthy Zionist Jews like Sheldon Adelson take care of their own? Food is cheap. And you’re telling me that after $10B in aid every year they can’t feed a few Holocaust survivors? They’ve been using the Holocaust to squeeze freebies out of Germany for generations, from trains to nuclear submarines, yet they can’t even feed their own cash cows?

    And also, what Christian charity calls itself “Fellowship of Christians and [something else]”? If you believe in the words of Jesus, then he is the only Truth. If Jesus is Truth, then the Talmud is false. Real Christians would be evangelizing in Israel, not encouraging them to stay in their wickedness. But instead they are in “fellowship”, which means neglecting the Great Commission so as to financially and politically serve the Pharisees, on their terms. Just look at Mike Huckabee. All he shills for on his stupid talmudvision program is Israel and Capitalism, and he says it verbatim himself. He might as well get a rhinoplasty and change his name to Shekelstein.

    • Agree: Protogonus
    • Replies: @Realist
  25. Inevitably, no evidence is provided to support any of the allegations about Asma al-Assad and her English family. Asma’s charities are for real in her war-torn country and she is highly respected and admired by those who know her and are not influenced by U.S. and Israeli propaganda.

    My ONLY interest in the Middle East at this point is protecting archeologically significant sites, and Christian populations that have undergone a complete extermination event over the course of Bush I, Bush II, Obama and Trump.

    The ONLY forces that attempted to protect the Christians have been Assad’s forces and the Shia militias inside of Syria. The Sunni Muslims and the Jewish state will take care of their own, and have ALL cost us Trillions by now.

    If we spend a single penny now, it must go ONLY to protecting, rebuilding and preserving the Christian populations of the region, who are the only peoples legitimately minding their own business and not attacking or screwing around with anyone else. ENOUGH.

  26. WJ says:
    @GreatSocialist

    The whole fucking world blames China. I guess you know better. Go take your bullshit conspiracy theories back to your opium den.

  27. @anon

    Harris/Biden are only figureheads. Installing two people so eminently unqualified to represent the US with such brazen openess was the way for TPTB to signal to the entire world that they pull the strings and that representative government is now a sham.

    What better way to say, “We’re in charge now,” than putting in an obvious simp and a woman who blew her way to the top?

  28. Realist says:
    @Fallingwater

    The IFCJ ads have always bothered me.

    Obviously, me too.

    First of all, veracity of their “survival” stories aside, why don’t extraordinarily wealthy Zionist Jews like Sheldon Adelson take care of their own? Food is cheap. And you’re telling me that after $10B in aid every year they can’t feed a few Holocaust survivors?

    Exactly.

    They’ve been using the Holocaust to squeeze freebies out of Germany for generations, from trains to nuclear submarines, yet they can’t even feed their own cash cows?

    Not just Germany…the US as well.

  29. In addition, we are sanctioning several members of Asma al-Assad’s immediate family, including Fawaz Akhras, Sahar Otri Akhras, Firas al Akhras, and Eyad Akhras as per Section 2(a)(ii) of EO 1389.

    Any word out of BoJo’s government why they are letting British subjects be treated so shabbily by their ally?

  30. ANON[191] • Disclaimer says:

    Do these people really care what they do? Trump got over 70 million votes and they are going to impeach him with 10 days on the meter. I live in a dark blue city and they are miserable.

  31. Antiwar7 says:
    @Ed Case

    Mr. Giraldi, is that a typo? Shouldn’t that be Asma’s father, not father-in-law?

  32. Ram says:

    The Mafia gangs had an unwritten law that the families were not to be touched whatever happened among the gangs. There is no such honour among the Western leaders.

  33. Asma Assad did nothing to the USA so the sanctions are totally pointless. Trump and his family should be sanctioned by the American People so should the Obama, Bush and Clinton Families.

  34. @anon

    The HARRIS/BIDEN ADMINISTRATION will not be any better and could even be worse.It will continue where Trump left off and very likely cause more sanctions, war and other destruction.

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