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Sanctions Crippling the Syria that Was Once Proudly and Steadily Growing

Aug. 9, 2022 (EIRNS)—The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released a study, “Syrian Arab Republic: Access to Electricity and Humanitarian Needs,” in March 2022, documenting meticulously, respecting Syria, what Helga Zepp-LaRouche contends in her July 12, 2022 statement, “Lift Sanctions Against Russia Immediately!”: that sanctions are a “brutal form of warfare” that kill, and must be lifted everywhere they are currently enforced.

In 2011, the European Union enforced sanctions against Syria with the intent to overthrow the country’s President, Bashar al-Assad, following the Bernard Lewis Plan overthrow and eventual killing of the leaders of Iraq and Libya. Britain, the U.S., and other nations joined the sanctions regime, and the range of sectors of the Syrian economy against which they were applied was expanded. The U.S. and other nations carried out military intervention in Syria in 2011, first using proxy terrorist groups, then directly.

Syria’s electricity sector was brutally targeted. The OCHA study reports, “Two of the country’s 13 major power plants were fully destroyed: the Zeyzoun Power Plant in Idlib governate (487 MW installed capacity) and the Aleppo Thermal Power Station (1,065 MW installed capacity).” The World Bank reported that six other power plants were partially destroyed.

“As a result of this damage, the country’s electricity generation capacity fell from 5,800 MW in 2010… to 4,000 MW in 2018.”  The further tightening of sanctions caused Syria’s installed electricity generation capacity to fall to 2,000 MW in 2021, a collapse of 63%! Obtaining replacement parts and maintaining the surviving plants, due to sanctions, has become even more acute. Whereas, in 2010, “93% of the country had access to electricity,” that is sharply down today. Compared to 2010 standards, today’s Syrian population consumes 85% less electricity per capita, twelve years later. Thirty percent of Syria’s population has access to electricity for only 2 hours per day. That slashes electricity to industry, and households, and all the equipment that goes with that.

But electricity is the source for powering all other features of society. Around 2010, “access to safe drinking water in Syria was estimated at 92% in rural communities and 98% in urban centers. Seven major water systems serve the country’s eight largest cities…. However,” the study emphasizes, “by 2019 annual public water production in Syria had fallen by 40% relative to pre-crisis levels (from 1,700 Mn cubic meters in 2010 to 1,020 Mn cubic meters in 2019.” But to use water from groundwater and springs, or most rivers, requires continuous electricity to pump water and distribute it, a commodity Syria now lacks as the study highlights.

The lack of electricity (and water) also means there is sometimes insufficient power to run medical facilities and health clinics. Because of damage to infrastructure, Syria runs its schools on two shifts. In the second shift, in particular, often there is no clean water in the bathrooms, and not enough electricity to heat the schools. Some students study at home by candlelight.

The OCHA’s ReliefWeb website reported March 12, 2022, “this year, 90 percent of Syrians live below the poverty line, and more than 80 percent are food insecure. Families say they are eating less, cutting meals, and going into debt to meet their basic needs.” {Emphasis added.}

As Zepp-LaRouche says in her July 12 statement, sanctions “are a brutal form of warfare against the respective populations of the sanctioned states with the aim of making their living conditions so intolerable that they rise up against their respective leaderships, and overthrow them. But the victims are always the people.” It is past time to lift them in Russia, Syria, and everywhere.


Russia’s Lavrov at the UN: Not “Might Is Right” but “Right Is Might”

Russia’s Lavrov at the UN: Not “Might Is Right” but “Right Is Might”

Sept. 28, 2021 (EIRNS)—Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov used his address at the United Nations on September 25, to make clear the important difference between international law and the reality behind the sophistry of a “rules-based order.” International law is a principle based upon “right is might”—not “might is right.” The latter is behind the “selfish interests” of the “so-called ‘rules-based order’ concept that the West is persistently introducing into political discourse as opposed to international law.” The U.S.’s “Summit for Democracy” makes democracy into a wedge to get into countries’ internal affairs, but there can be no challenging the undemocratic reality outside of countries, such as NATO. Talk of democracy—such as the U.S.’s “Summit for Democracy”—is a cover for interfering into sovereign countries and has no reality for relations between countries, where the undemocratic military weapons of NATO are not to be brought up. “The use of unilateral restrictive measures” against Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, “violate the Charter-based principle of non-interference in internal affairs of sovereign states… undermines the prerogatives of the Security Council,” and even ignores the UN call “to suspend them at least for the period of the pandemic.”

Lavrov said that it was now time to stop the “policy aimed at undermining the UN-centric architecture” and choose the path of “rejecting any confrontation and stereotypes,  and joining efforts to address key tasks of humanity’s development and survival. We have enough instruments for this.” He enumerated them. President Vladimir Putin has proposed a P5 summit for a “frank discussion on global stability issues.” As there were “great expectations” for the “prospect of the Russian-American dialogue” on arms control, per the U.S.-Russian summit at Geneva, this could work. He referenced Biden’s extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty as encouraging. Russian proposals on addressing the cyberwarfare problem was a basis for common agreement, where concerns can be examined “in a transparent manner, relying on facts.”

“In Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and in other hotbeds, all external actors must show an understanding of the cultural and civilisational specifics of society, reject politicization of humanitarian aid, and assist in the creation of broadly representative bodies of authority that would involve all major ethnic, religious and political forces of the relevant countries. Guided by such an approach, Russia has been constructively engaged in the promotion of the Afghan settlement via the extended Troika and the Moscow format.” He added, “It was with great interest that we perceived the Global Development Initiative proposed by President of China Xi Jinping, which resonates with our own approaches.” Lavrov finished with a twinkle: “In conclusion, I would like to propose a hashtag #UNCharterIsOurRules.”


Syria Times Reports Dr. Shaaban Attacking British at Schiller Event

May 10 (EIRNS) – Schiller Institute Southwest Asia representative Hussein Askary reported to EIR that Syrian media is publishing a news item today in which it is made obvious that Syrian government spokesperson Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban used the Schiller Institute conference as a platform to single out the British as instrumental in the propaganda and psychological war against Syria. Dr. Shaaban usually directs her criticism for the military and economy devastation visited upon Syria, at the United States and Saudi Arabia; seldom at Britain. This link is for the English version of the circulating story in Syria Times. The Arabic version was published in several Arabic newspapers and websites, Askary reports.