The Telegraph: The US “Caesar Act” sanctions affect only the Syrian people

The Telegraph report said that the US sanctions imposed on Syria mainly affect the poor and middle-income people in the country, while the “rich and the elites” largely avoid them.

According to the report published by the British newspaper “The Telegraph”, most people in Damascus these days cannot enjoy the “Netflix” service that was banned in part of the US sanctions, at a time when the rich find a way to subscribe to “Pro TV”, a local service It’s supposed to be pirated.

Amidst the increasing queues of fuel and gas canisters, if you know an influential person, you will be able to obtain fuel and gas very easily, just as much as you will be able to own a new iPhone 12 even though hospitals are struggling to purchase spare parts for devices, computed tomography as a result of US sanctions.

The US-led sanctions aim to pressure President Assad to reach a negotiated “peace settlement”, but critics say they only harm ordinary people and do nothing to affect the elite.

An activist in Damascus said that this wealthy class has largely avoided the hardships experienced by ordinary Syrians since the start of the war and the application of sanctions.

“They do what they want because they have the money and the relationships that provide them with everything,” the report added.

The report continued: “They are the people you will never see standing in lines to get car fuel, in which the average person stands for 5 hours sometimes. 

Where do they get the fuel from?

Last June, Washington thought it was targeting this elite when it enacted the “Caesar Act,” a law that gives the United States greater power to punish individuals and entities who deal with Syria.

James Jeffrey, the US envoy to Syria at the time, said the law would “prevent Assad and his comrades from rebuilding the country for their benefit”.

Critics say that the sanctions that have targeted trade and the economy have affected simple companies that have nothing to do with the Syrian government, while those targeted by the sanctions have continued to search for ways to circumvent these sanctions.

It is unlikely, according to the report, that the new US president, Joe Biden, will make significant changes towards Syria, as his advisor told reporters that the Middle East ranks fourth in the order of priorities for the president-elect, after Asia, Europe and the Western Hemisphere.

Meanwhile, the administration of outgoing President Donald Trump continues to impose new sanctions on Syria, the latest of which was last Monday, targeting 19 people and entities it accused of providing support to the Syrian leadership.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: “President Assad has a choice: to take irreversible steps towards a peaceful solution to this decade-long conflict, or to face more crippling sanctions”.

But even those in favor of the sanctions admit that they may not work in the short term, and that they may take a long time to affect the “Syrian elite”.