US Congress Calls it “Civilian Protection”: Washington Wants 17 Million Syrians Starved Into Submission

Implementation of the so-called Caesar Syria Civilian Protection legislation (Caesar Act) is the latest shoe to drop in Washington’s long war of aggression on the country, its legitimate leadership, and 17 million people.

Signed into law by Trump last December, the draconian measure that breaches international law became effective on June 17.

It has nothing to do with protecting Syrian civilians, everything to do with starving and otherwise immiserating them into submission to Washington’s imperial boot.

The measure threatens sanctions on nations, entities and individuals that maintain legitimate economic, financial, military, and intelligence relations with Damascus — their legal right under international law.

Syrian envoy to Russia Riyad Haddad explained that threatened US sanctions under the measure “not only target Syria, they directly or indirectly jeopard(e) all its allies and are also aimed against Persian Gulf countries, so that none of these countries dares to invest in” the Syrian Arab Republic.

“And each party that will say it wants to invest, must get permission from the US.”

Syria’s Foreign Ministry slammed the measure, stressing that it’s “based on false evidence, trumped up by hostile to the Syrian people parties.”

The Caesar Act adds to already imposed “economic blockade and terror” on Syria by the US.

It “imposes new sanctions against any (nation), individual or party that cooperates with the Syrian government or offers financing to it in any sector.”

“Thus, the US undermines three economic sectors, threatening with sanctions, namely foreign trade, local and joint investment supporting the Syrian government, and the financing sector — loans, money transfers.”

The measure “excludes the areas under the control of Kurdish self-administration.”

It’s similar to US state terror and illegal sanctions war on Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and other countries, intending mainly to inflict enormous harm on their people.

A strategy that virtually never works when used by the US, it aims to turn the population of these countries against their governments.

It’s also about wanting their ruling authorities isolated on the world stage, applying maximum pressure to weaken them in flagrant violation of international and US constitutional law under its Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2).

Unilaterally imposed sanctions by nations on others breach the UN Charter.

Security Council members alone may impose them if warranted.

All US sanctions imposed on Syria, Iran, Russia, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, and other nations by Congress or White House executive order have no legal standing.

Governments observing them are complicit by breaching international law.

Both right wings of the US war party use this weapon as part of their war by other means on nations unwilling to subordinate their sovereign rights to US interests — part of what the scourge of imperialism is all about.

Throughout US hot war on Syria in its 9th year with no resolution in prospect — launched by Obama, escalated by Trump — multiple rounds of illegal sanctions were imposed on the country and its people by Washington.

Their aim is wanting Syria transformed into a US vassal state, legitimate President Assad replaced by puppet leadership subservient to US and Israeli interests.

Syria’s UN envoy Bashar al-Jaafari condemned the Caesar Act and other illegal US sanctions on the country, notably its economic blockade and other coercive measures that constitute state terror on the sovereign state and its people.

The US under Obama and now Trump bear “direct responsibility for the suffering of the Syrians,” he stressed.

On Tuesday in Moscow, Russian and Iranian Foreign Ministers Lavrov and Zarif respectively signed a joint declaration of support for upholding international law in the region and worldwide, stating the following:

“1. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation reaffirm their full commitment to the principles of international law codified in the ‘Charter of the United Nations’ and in the ‘Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations’ adopted in 1970.”

“The principles of international law that form the basis of fair and equal international relations contribute to realization of win-win cooperation and create common space for equal and inseparable security and economic cooperation.”

“2. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation share the view that the principle of sovereign equality of states is vital for stability in the international relations.”

“The states enjoy their rights based on independence and equality, and make commitments and take responsibilities on the basis of mutual respect.”

“The states have the right to take part equally in creating and enforcing the international law.”

“They are also committed to observing the international law with goodwill in a consistent and constant manner.”

“3. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation affirm the principle that all states should refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any other state inconsistent with the Charter of the United Nations.”

“Accordingly, they condemn the unilateral acts of military intervention.”

“4. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation fully support the principle of non-intervention in the domestic or foreign affairs of the other states, and condemn any intervention by the states in the domestic or foreign affairs of the other states with the purpose of a fake change of legitimate governments that would violate that principle.”

“5. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation consider any measure or effort to undermine or destabilize the states or their institutions in any shape or under any pretext as a violation of the aforementioned principle.”

“6. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation condemn the extraterritorial imposition of national laws of states in contravention of the international law as another example of violation of the principle of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of states.”

“7. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation assert the sovereign and inviolable right of states, as part of principle of non-intervention in the domestic or foreign affairs of the other states, to define their own political, economic, cultural and social systems to promote international relations and exercise permanent sovereignty over their natural resources, in accordance with the will of their people and without foreign interference, intervention, subversion, coercion or threat in any shape.”

“8. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation underline the principle of peaceful settlement of the conflicts and firmly believe that the states must resolve their differences with the means and mechanisms on which they have agreed.”

“Such process contributes to the peaceful settlement of differences according to the imposable international law and, accordingly, could result in the reduction of tensions and enhancement of peaceful cooperation.”

“Obviously, in order to maintain the international legal order, it is essential that all means and mechanism for the settlement of disputes are based upon consent and are employed with goodwill and the spirit of cooperation. The aforementioned purposes must not be undermined with abuse in practice.”

“9. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation share the view that implementation of the general principles and rules recognized by the international law with goodwill will prevent the process of adoption of double standards or the imposition of will of some states on some others.”

“They consider the imposition of unilateral forceful measures – also known as the ‘unilateral sanctions’ — as an example of such approach.”

“The unilateral forceful measures, particularly in the form of economic coercive measures, target the groups in the most vulnerable economic and social conditions.”

“Therefore, all countries must refrain from declaring and imposing any unilateral forceful measure; because such measures prevent the full realization of economic and social development and have negative impacts on the enjoyment of all human rights, including the right to development, trade and investment.”

“10. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation condemn terrorism in any shape and form as a global threat to international peace and security and consider that it undermines the international order based upon international law.”

“They emphasize that terrorism must not be attributed to a specific faith, nationality, and ethnic or civilizational group.”

“The terrorist acts are criminal and unjustifiable measures, irrespective of the motive, the time and the place and no matter who commits them.”

“They also emphasize the need for joint efforts and comprehensive approaches to prevent and fight against terrorism, in accordance with the international law, including the Charter of the United Nations. Moreover, they emphasize that unfounded accusations against the official institutions of other states, which could challenge the international efforts at the fight against terrorism, are unacceptable.”

“Furthermore, they support the uniform and balanced implementation of the United Nations’ strategy for fighting against terrorism.”

“11. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation declare that the international commitments regarding the impunity of states, their assets and their officials must be always respected by the countries.”

“The violation of those commitments run counter to the principle of sovereign equality of states and could escalate tensions.”

“12. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation are determined to counter the unilateral illegal approaches to the settlement of global crises and actively promote the collective and multilateral just approaches based upon the general principles and rules recognized by the international law to resolve the urgent and essential regional and global problems.”

“The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation reject the concepts that seek to undermine the international order based upon international law.”

“13. The Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation decide to expand their cooperation, in line with the relations based on strategic partnership between the two sides, in order to observe and promote the international law and establish a just international order on the basis of international law.”

Russia and Iran support world peace, stability, the rule of law, and mutual cooperation among nations.

They oppose what the scourge of US imperialism is all about, its rage for unchallenged dominance by brute force, and enormous harm on ordinary people everywhere.

The US is an outlaw state, operating extrajudicially by its own rules exclusively.

Its endless wars on humanity at home and abroad pose the greatest threat to everyone everywhere.


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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

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Articles by: Stephen Lendman

About the author:

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." Visit his blog site at Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

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