The seat of West Asia


The one redeeming feature of the US-European siege of West Asia, one of the worst crimes of the 21st century, is that it forces a restructuring of international economic relations away from a Washington-centric unipolar world.

  • For some time, international agencies have reported on the catastrophic impact of this siege, for example in Syria and Yemen.

With multiple failed or failed wars, Washington and its NATO partners and allies have imposed a genocidal economic siege on a contiguous bloc of seven countries in West Asia, between the Mediterranean and the Himalayas.

To the physical blockades on Palestine and Yemen are added coercive measures on Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. Among other things, this brutal regional siege has led 90% of the Syrian population to live in poverty and the stranded people of Yemen have suffered the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.

The goal in all cases has been to “starve and despair” entire populations – as has been said of Washington’s blockades on Cuba and Iran. The explicit objective is to impose “deliberate harm”, in the hope of imposing political change. A key associated objective is to help the Zionist colony continue to steal Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese lands, and thereby destabilize and cripple the development of the entire region.

While much of this siege is imposed in the name of “democracy”, “human rights” and “counter-terrorism”, none of the NATO allied states in the region – like the Saudis , the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, which finance and arm mass sectarian terrorism – face “sanctions”.

The pretexts for this siege are buried in pseudo-legal inventions. The US Treasury’s OFAC database contains dozens of “sanctioned” entities and individuals in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Yemen. There are not many “sanctions” against Afghanistan, after 20 years of US and NATO military occupation. However, it is notorious that Washington has seized several billion dollars belonging to the Central Bank of Afghanistan, simply because the United States is unhappy with the current Afghan government. It is certainly a major factor in the mass starvation threatening millions of people in this unfortunate West Asian country.

So what are sanctions and when can they be justified? In international law, two principles are meant to limit retaliation by one state against another: that the response must be “proportionate” to an alleged action by the other; and that retaliation only comes after attempts at negotiation.

But retaliation is illegal when (1) the purpose is to harm the economy of another nation, or there is (2) an attempt at political coercion, or (3) the measures imposed also infringe the rights of third parties. All of these illegal elements are at work in the current regional headquarters in Washington. These unilateral “sanctions” are now called “Unilateral Coercive Measures” (UCM) and are subject to special scrutiny at the United Nations.

For some time, international agencies have reported on the catastrophic impact of this siege, for example in Syria and Yemen. Despite the notional “humanitarian” exemptions in US and European coercive measures, the US stranglehold on finance means there is a severe impact on essentials such as food, medicine and energy.

The WHO has reported that unilateral “sanctions” between the US and EU are undermining childhood cancer treatment in Syria. Medical studies have condemned Europe’s coercive ‘sanctions’ for their damage to the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 in Syria, while UN rapporteur on the impact of unilateral coercive measures, Ms Alena Douhan , called for an end to Washington’s MCUs that are hampering the reconstruction of Syrian civilian infrastructure, destroyed by the conflict. “The sanctions violate the human rights of the Syrian people, whose country has been destroyed by nearly 10 years of ongoing conflict,” Douhan said.

Washington’s anti-Syrian “Caesar Law” has also been condemned as it attempts to block third-party support for the Syrian population. “I fear that the sanctions imposed under the Caesar Act will worsen the already dire humanitarian situation in Syria, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and put the Syrian people at even greater risk of human rights violations,” she said.

The siege measures against North African countries have come under similar criticism. In 2015, the UN special rapporteur on the impact of “sanctions” on human rights, Idriss Jazairy, urged states that have imposed MCUs in Sudan to review their policies. “Sudan has suffered unilateral coercive measures for two decades without any adaptation. The signal given by the mandatory measures is in contradiction with their proclaimed objectives,” he said, referring to the financial restrictions imposed on all business transactions. with Sudan.

In Yemen, the rational is a little different. The US-EU “sanctions” that fuel the humanitarian crisis are being applied with the direct approval of the UN Security Council, under the misconception that a 2014 interim president (Mansour Hadi, in exile in Saudi Arabia for seven years) is still the legitimate president of the country. The current revolutionary government (the only successful revolution in the so-called Arab Spring) led by Ansarallah (contemptuously referred to as “Houthi rebels”) is under UNSC sanctions. Thus, the siege of Yemen is authorized by international law, unlike the MCUs against Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

Nevertheless, a UN body has said that Western powers and their Persian Gulf allies (especially the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates) waging war in Yemen should be held accountable for war crimes. This 2019 report detailed a series of war crimes over the previous five years, including airstrikes, indiscriminate bombings, snipers, landmines, as well as arbitrary executions and detentions, torture, sexual and gender-based violence and obstacles to access to humanitarian aid.

This writer has previously argued that the UN Security Council betrayed the people of Yemen, exacerbating “the world’s ‘worst humanitarian crisis’ by demonizing and sanctioning the revolutionary government while backing a puppet of the Gulf Cooperation Council (CCG).

The UCM schemes, now so popular with the United States and the European Union, have been condemned by independent UN experts for violating international law and for obstructing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. While MCUs are “imposed primarily in the name of human rights, democracy and the rule of law”, rapporteur Douhan concludes that they “undermine these same principles, values ​​and norms” while causing humanitarian damage.

The one redeeming feature of the US-European siege of West Asia, one of the worst crimes of the 21st century, is that it forces a restructuring of international economic relations away from a Washington-centric unipolar world. In the future, the BRICS bloc, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and allied groups will play a much bigger role.

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