Category Archives: News/ Noticias

“US Economic Sanctions on Syria Have Failed,” by Joshua Landis

US Economic Sanctions on Syria Have Failed,” by Joshua Landis : see link

Contrary to what Andrew Tabler of WINEP, a right-wing think tank argues, US sanctions on Syria have failed. Tabler, in a Newsweek article copied below, recommends keeping sanctions on Syria.  He claims they are working. He is joined in his desire to keep sanctions on Syria by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She worries that Obama is going soft on Syria because it has returned its ambassador and is engaging. She said, “The administration is aiding an unrepentant regime and is sending a signal that the U.S. will make concessions and seek dialogue regardless of what the facts dictate.” She said this in a Feb. 12 statement after the U.S. let Chicago-based Boeing Co. sell aircraft parts for the repair of two 747 jets owned by Syrian Arab Airlines.

Tabler argues that US sanctions have worked and are forcing Syria into a corner where it must finally make important foreign policy concessions. I don’t know what cool-aid Tabler has been drinking, but it may well be from the same dispenser as Ros-Lehtinen’s. US sanction efforts have failed badly. Don’t take my word for it.  Here is what Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman said about Washington’s backfiring sanctions effort just the other day:

So you ended up at a point when we isolate – we were the ones isolated. It was no longer Syria being isolated. It was the United States that was being isolated. So I think this administration decided that engagement is not – engagement is something we need to try.

This contorted jumble of passive constructions by Feltman can be summed up to mean only one thing: sanctions failed. Over a year ago, France broke the isolation regime that Washington had established. Quickly other European countries followed suit. They invited Syria to join the Mediterranean Process, a free trade agreement linking Europe with Mediterranean countries. Western bankers and businessmen are streaming into Syria to sniff out the possibilities for investment. Abdullah Dardari, Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy, has been besieged with delegations of businessmen from American banks as well as European countries over the last few months. Big Western concerns may make only small investments in Syria for the time being because Syria’s financial infrastructure is primitive and new legal protections for foreign capital are untested. All the same, it is in Syria’s power to attract foreign money if it makes the desired reforms. US sanctions are no longer a major factor inhibiting investors.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillion is arriving in Damascus this Saturday flanked by over 30 French businessmen eager to have his support to clinch deals in Syria. If Americans don’t get into the act soon, they will find themselves at a serious disadvantage in an emerging market that has promise and where most assets are undervalued.  As Feltman explained, the US is only sanctioning its own businessmen in Syria. For someone who is in better touch with Syria read Chris Phillips of the BBC: Syria’s Assad: pariah to power-broker.


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Crucial Missing Piece of Ethiopian Plane’s 2nd Black Box Found , in Naharnet

A key piece — the memory recorder — missing from the crashed Ethiopian plane’s second black box was recovered Monday, Transportation Minister Ghazi Aridi announced.
He said the recovered part was handed over to the investigation committee formed to probe the plane crash.Lebanese army divers had retrieved the second black box from the Ethiopian jet that crashed into the Mediterranean Sea last month.

The Boeing 737 crashed just minutes after takeoff from Beirut airport during a fierce thunderstorm, killing all 90 people on board.

Passenger planes carry two black boxes _ a data flight recorder and a cockpit voice recorder.

A Lebanese army statement at the time said only the base for the second black box was found and not its memory recorder.

A statement issued by the Lebanese army said navy commandos recovered the memory recorder of the cockpit voice recorder off the coast of Naameh, the site of the plane crash.

Meanwhile, search teams were able to pull more victims on Tuesday.

The remains of 11 more plane crash victims were identified on Monday, raising the number of Lebanese bodies identified to 41 from 54.

Pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat said the body of an Ethiopian male believed to be one of the crew members was pulled on Monday.

Odyssey Explorer, a vessel operated by a private U.S. firm that specializes in underwater recovery, began work Tuesday after the civilian vessel Ocean Alert left Lebanese territorial waters.

Beirut, 16 Feb 10, 12:36

In Naharnet:

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