Opinion: Seize the sanctions moment in Syria
From the Opinion Desk: This oped was written by George A. Lopez. He holds the Hesburgh Chair in Peace Studies at the, . With he is co-author of five books and over 30 articles on economic sanctions.
Remarks on why sanctions could work:
In this particular case, sanctions have a heightened probability of eroding the repressive capabilities of the government.
- First, economic deterioration, lack of access to foreign banks, and travel restrictions create new conditions whereby internal actors in Syria will begin to weigh more directly the costs against the benefits of remaining tied to the regime.
- Second, the Syrian armed forces are becoming overstretched geographically and can be vulnerable to supply interruptions.
- Finally, because the domestic opposition appears beyond being cowed into submission, protesters will draw added strength from these actions taken by the international community.
His final thoughts…
The concerted brutality of the attacks that have marked the Muslim observance of Ramadan indicates that the Assad government considers its survival tied to the complete repression of the protests, whatever the costs. Calling merely for Assad to step down or to declare his rule illegitimate will not increase those costs.
Short of direct military force, only coordinated, severe, and timely sanctions will degrade the regime’s economic resources and firepower, spark defections of its supporters and, ultimately, undermine the success of its repression. Now is the moment for these sanctions.