Steven Sahiounie: Americans Targeting Syrians
TEHRAN (FNA)- Steven Sahiounie, political commentator, says Washington's sanctions and military deployment policies have deliberately been aimed at the Syrian people.
Speaking in an interview with FNA, Sahiounie explained how beside stealing their oil, the US has made the life of Syrians bitter, and said, “The mercenaries the US partners with are the SDF and YPG […] They use the wheat as their cash income, and sell it to the wheat buyers in Turkey […] the SDF and the US have used wheat as a weapon of war in Syria… The reconstruction of Syria will require imported materials and equipment from international companies […] Even humanitarian items such as medicines and medical equipment are prohibited to be ordered from abroad, because the US-EU sanctions prevent any company from dealing with Syria.”
“If the US troops had wanted to kill the terrorists they could, but they do not even engage in any battles with the Daesh”, he added.
Steven Sahiounie is an award-winning journalist and political commentator. He is the Editor-in-Chief of MidEastDiscourse.
Below is the full text of the interview:
Q: There is evidence that US troops safeguard Daesh Takfiri terrorists in Syria. Is the US fighting against terrorism or for it?
A: According to eye witness accounts by Syrian soldiers on the ground, they have seen the Daesh terrorists pop up from secluded locations at the illegal US military base located at al-Tanf. The terrorists appear suddenly from protected areas, and will fight the Syrian soldiers, and then suddenly retreat back to the safety of the US occupation base. If the US troops had wanted to kill the terrorists they could, but they do not even engage in any battles with the Daesh.
The mercenaries the US partners with are the SDF and YPG. They are in illegal occupation of areas which produce a great deal of wheat. They use the wheat as their cash income, and sell it to the wheat buyers in Turkey just over the border. The SDF and the US have used wheat as a weapon of war in Syria. The SDF have pressured wheat farmers to not sell to Damascus.
Q: The American forces have seized the Syrian oil on the sovereign Syrian land, leaving the Syrians to freeze in the winter. How does one expect the war-torn country to rebuild itself, with its natural resources being stolen?
A: Reconstruction needs cars, trucks and bulldozers to move cargo, people, earth and rubble. There is a severe gasoline shortage in Syria, and people have to wait sometimes days in line to fill their vehicles. Syria had been refining their own oil production into gasoline for domestic use. Since the US military illegally invaded, and occupied the best oil wells, there is no possibility of refining enough local oil into gasoline for people and businesses. Heating oil was also domestically pumped, but now is unavailable. This winter was one of the coldest on record, because of the polar vortex which brought freezing temperature to Texas, as well as Syria at the same time. Aleppo, Suweida and Damascus are very cold places in a normal year, and this year there were snow drifts in Suweida six-feet deep. The people do not have heating oil for their homes and schools.
Syria uses fuel oil to generate electricity in power stations across the country. Because there is not enough fuel oil, there is very little electricity in homes. Some areas get several hours per day, and others none. Electric heaters could be used to heat a room, but in Syria this is equally impossible given the lack of fuel and electricity.
Foreign ships bringing oil to Syria have been threatened and seized. It is against international law for any country to steal resources from another.
Q: How do you see the role of the Western sanctions against Syria in preventing the country from reconstruction?
A: The reconstruction of Syria will require imported materials and equipment from international companies globally. Medical machines lie unused in Syrian public and private hospitals because the foreign replacement parts are unavailable to Syria. Even humanitarian items such as medicines and medical equipment are prohibited to be ordered from abroad, because the US-EU sanctions prevent any company from dealing with Syria.
Medical items are supposedly waived from sanctions on a humanitarian clause; however, in practice western companies are unwilling to go through the lengthy and costly process of first obtaining the waiver for the US Treasury department.
Specialty items such as replacement parts for machines in factories which were looted and destroyed by the terrorists in Syria are also on sanction. Factory equipment is often from European countries such as UK, Italy, France or Germany. None of those companies from US or Europe will dare to fill orders coming from Syria for fear of sanctions for the US Treasury.
Should a company abroad be willing to fill an order from a Syrian business, the next step is to send payment with a bank to bank wire transfer. But the banking sanctions by the US sanctions prevent any company receiving, or sending money from any person in Syria. Even innocent gift checks from relatives living abroad to those living in Syria are forbidden by sanctions.