EU economic sanctions have no impact on Syrian conflict – journalist

A third block of sanctions by the European Union against Syria has come into force. The measures target Syrian companies as well as members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, banning them from entering Europe and freezing their accounts in the EU.

­Another seven high-ranking officials were put on the "black list," which already includes 30 people, with the Syrian president and his brother topping that list. The new round of sanctions includes President Bashar al-Assad’s cousins, who are believed to be involved in suppressing the demonstrations and financial support of the government.

However, British journalist Nabila Ramdani believes the economic sanctions will not have any impact on the current situation in Syria.  

Syria is already subject to American sanctions, including aid restrictions and export bans,” said Ramdani. “The EU has recently put economic sanctions on the country as well, and has gradually extended the sanctions to members of the al-Assad family, including the president himself. And that hasn’t proved to be enough to deter the al-Assad regime from cracking down on peaceful demonstrators.”

Ramdani pointed out that despite the civilian casualties among the opposition, the international community has been quite soft on Syria so far, as compared to the approach to Libya. According to Ramdani, this exposes a clear double standard.

The international community has been rather cautious in its reaction toward Syria because of its crucial position in the Middle East,” he said.

Ramdani said that the US faces a dilemma in how to deal with Assad, as its interests in the region are under threat.

The US “would welcome President al-Assad going if somebody else could come in that would sustain and indeed maintain America’s interests in the region,” explained Ramdani.

The sanctions also target members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which according to the EU has been supplying special equipment used in suppressing the uprisings in Syria. This might have some serious implications down the road, as Iran seems to be very involved in fighting the Syrian opposition.  

The international community is very cautious in its reaction to what’s happening in Syria, because it doesn’t want Iran to be involved on a much bigger scale in the region,” noted Ramdani.