Governments don’t do humanitarian, they do power. From Jonathan Cook at antiwar.com:
The US said it wanted to free Syrians from a tyrant. Then it was willing to let them die of cold and hunger. The truth: for the West, Syria is only about power
US President Joe Biden’s administration relented last Thursday and finally lifted sanctions on Syria. The change of policy came after four days of relentless and shocking footage from the disaster zone in southern Turkey and northern Syria caused by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
It seems as if Washington felt it could no longer sustain its embargo when tens of thousands of bodies were being exhumed from the rubble and millions more were struggling with cold, hunger and injuries.
The US could not afford to look like the odd man out faced with a global wave of concern for the devastated populations of Syria and Turkey.
Under the new exemption, the Syrian government will be able to receive earthquake relief for six months before the embargo locks back in.
But no one should be fooled by this apparent change of heart.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the State Department’s first reaction was to double down on its policy. Spokesman Ned Price dismissed the possibility of lifting sanctions, arguing it would be “counterproductive … to reach out to a government that has brutalized its people over the course of a dozen years now.”
The truth is that the sanctions regime imposed by the US and its allies in Europe, Canada and Australia was a criminal policy long before the earthquake struck. The brief and belated exemption – under international pressure – does not fundamentally alter that picture.
Western claims of humanitarian intervention in the oil-rich Middle East were always a lie. It just took an earthquake to make that crystal clear.