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Washington set up a trap for Russia in Syria and Putin fell into it

This post was published in News.ru. The point of view expressed in this article is authorial and do not necessarily reflect BM`s editorial stance.

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WASHINGTON, (BM) – Officially on June 17, a new US sanctions package on Syria comes into force, called the “Caesar’s Law” – on behalf of the Syrian informant, who provided the West with evidence of the government’s war crimes in Damascus.

The initiative was defined as dangerous in terms of effects long before its appearance: it imposes restrictive measures not only on state, but also on commercial foreign structures interacting with the Baathist regime.

Only now the allies of Bashar al-Assad are in no hurry to maintain the distance.

The main strategic partner of official Damascus – Tehran – defiantly sent an oil-filled tanker to the Syrian coast shortly before the formal introduction of the legislative initiative. So, on June 16, the ship passed through the Suez Canal. As observers drew attention, the Iranian leadership actually publicly called into question the US-European sanctions regime against the Syrian Arab Republic (ATS).

Tehran, which for a long time laid the foundation for its economic and political presence in Syria, is already under strong sanctions pressure, which was the result of an extraterritorial policy of “maximum pressure” of the United States. Despite the fact that Middle Eastern analysts often call the “Caesar Act,” staffed by other defense-related initiatives, Assad’s “beginning of the end,” there is reason to doubt that the Ba’athist government’s partners are retreating so quickly.

Moscow seems no less decisive in its assistance to Damascus. Arab observers believe that the Russian command in Syria began to prepare for the entry into force of the “Caesar’s law” last year, trying to revive economic activity in the territory of the SAR by ensuring the control of the most important transport arteries, including the M4 highway.

The aim of these actions is believed to be to simplify the transit from Iraqi borders to the Ba’athist government-controlled areas as much as possible in order to bracket the schemes of superfluous actors. The idea is that safe smuggling routes will help mitigate the effects of sanctions that de jure can hit even the pro-American autonomous Kurdish administration in northeastern Syria. It was she who, according to independent estimates, for a long time sold not only hydrocarbons, but also agricultural goods to businessmen affiliated with the ATS government. Caesar’s Law questions these connections.

Representatives of the legal team preparing the sanctions initiative, said in a conversation with Arabi 21 that they are mainly aimed at the business elite, which is the backbone of the Syrian presidential palace. It is possible that the “act of Caesar” the United States wants to test the strength of the loyalty of the largest entrepreneurs. The situation around the Kurdish administration, which controls the oil-bearing regions of the SAR, will be steadily adjusted, follows from the statements of lawyers.

The sanctions initiative will not contain exceptions, but with a high probability it will strike traders who act as a link in transactions between the Ba’ath leadership and non-governmental forces of Zaevfrati. It is quite obvious that lists of those who should be subject to restrictive measures will appear later. Lawyers familiar with the Caesar Act say the stop list will be updated regularly.

In a conversation with NEWS.ru, the former US State Department Special Envoy for the Syrian Political Transition in Syria, Fred Hof, said that the overall impact of the Caesar’s act on Syria would depend on the strength of the coercive mechanism.

“Sanctions complement the already powerful sanctions regime [European and American], making it difficult for anyone who wants to do business with the United States to interact with Syria in sectors such as construction, engineering, oil production and military aviation. Those countries that are seriously thinking about restoring commercial relations with Damascus or participating in the reconstruction of Syria, will have to review all issues very carefully,” Fred Hof former State Department Special Representative for the Political Transition in Syria

However, the former American diplomat doubts that the Syrian government will change its attitude towards the problem of finding a political compromise or protecting the rights of civilians.

“For the regime and the ruling family, the transformation of Damascus into the Levantine Pyongyang is preferable to sharing political power with anyone,” says Hof.

According to the analyst, the Kurds, like all Syrians, will be subjected to severe trials if the sanctions are strictly enforced. However, UN humanitarian assistance will continue, despite the fact that the Syrian government and its allies, according to Hof, will seek to prevent this.

One way or another, the prospects for Syria’s economic recovery will go farther and farther, the ex-diplomat said. In his opinion, the status of Syria as a failed state will most likely be maintained if fundamental political changes do not occur and if Iran and Russia [possibly China] do not make large monetary contributions to the Syrian economy. However, it will be very difficult to avoid corruption even in this case, concludes Hof.

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