Syria, the new US sanctions affect Assad and his wife Asma – La Stampa


BEIRUT. The Caesar Act, the new round of American sanctions against the Syrian government, entered into force today. For the first time, President Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma are directly affected. Another 37 personalities and companies of the regime will be included in the provision decided by the Trump Administration in December last year. The aim is to prevent anyone from entering into business with the ruling elite in Syria, considered to be the main culprit in the civil war that has caused 380 thousand victims since March 2011. The law refers to “Caesar”, a former official of the security that secretly photographed prisons and documented systematic torture of prisoners, including politicians.

“Architects of atrocities”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has specified that 39 personalities and corporations are sanctioned for now, and that the Caesar Act is the beginning of a “political and economic campaign to deny the Assad regime income and aid it uses to conduct the war and committing mass atrocities against the Syrian people: the architects of this suffering are Bashar al-Assad and his wife Asma “. Washington will announce new sanctions in the coming months against other individuals and companies “who support Assad”. Damascus fears above all an even stricter squeeze on oil and fuel imports.

Twenty years in power
The sanctions also target oil supplies, raw materials and aim to bring the regime to its knees once and for all. Assad feels again under siege, as when, in the summer of 2015, the bullets of the rebels’ mortars fell in the garden of the presidential palace in Damascus. The dismissal of the prime minister and protests in the Druze region are other signs of an acute crisis, which comes twenty years after the rise to power, after the death of his father Hafez in June 2020. Hafez al-Assad had reigned for thirty years exactly and the scepter passed to the “wrong” son, the second son who had chosen a dentist career in swinging London and had not been prepared for the ruthless work of raiss.

The civil war

But the death of his older brother Bassil in 1994 had led him to power. The sectarian character of the regime, monopolized by the Shiites, eventually overwhelmed him, the Sunni uprising took four fifths of the country, until the intervention of Hezbollah, Iran and Russia in 2015 managed to keep him in the saddle. The raiss now rules over 80 per cent of the territory again, but it is a country of rubble, with the population in poverty, the lira that is worth a fiftieth compared to 2011, and a rapacious elite that has taken all the resources and he moved into tax havens.

The uncle of the raiss sentenced in France
The consequences of the regime are also illustrated by the condemnation in France, still today, of the raiss’ uncle, Rifaat al-Assad. A Parisian court sentenced him to four years in prison for buying property with funds stolen from the coffers of the Syrian state. The French authorities also confiscated his assets, including a castle, and a villa in London valued at 29 million pounds, over 30 million euros. Rifaat al-Assad is also considered the main architect of the 1982 Hama massacre, when a popular uprising organized by the Muslim Brotherhood was repressed in the blood, with over 20 thousand dead.

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