Three year old girl critically-injured by terrorist mortar and rocket attacks (photo from myFeb 2015 visit to University Hospital in Damascus)
This month, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation interviewed Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, Political and Media Advisor to Syria’s President. The methods used to undermine Shaaban’s message should come as no surprise.
The interview was typical of the infrequent times corporate media has bothered to interview Dr. Shaaban: loaded lexicon, pre-priming the audience with false allegations about the Syrian government, repeatedly cutting-off the high-ranking guest, and a notably rude and condescending demeanor not afforded to guests who tow the NATO narrative on Syria.
As with other top Syrian representatives, Shaaban is made out to be “non-credible” by corporate media pundits when they deign to interview her. They actively work to discredit Syrian officials while at the same time putting forth claims that Wahhabi terrorists are “rebels” and “Syrian representatives” and those warring on Syria are “concerned” about widespread suffering in the country.
Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban (Photo: Eva Bartlett)
Sanctions: It is the Syrian People Who Are Suffering
Dr. Shaaban emphasized the Syrian realities at a meeting in her office in December.
A crucially-important issue that media pundits ignore is that of the crippling sanctions on Syria. In terms of how to provide actual relief to the Syrian people, Dr. Shaaban stated:
The first thing the West should do in this battle against terrorism is to lift the sanctions from the Syrian people. The sanctions are helping terrorists against the Syrian people, who are suffering doubly from the terrorists and from Western measures against the Syrian people.
Stephen Gowans recently wrote about the US government’s long-time plans to topple the Syrian government, sanctions being one part of the plot.
Documents prepared by US Congress researchers as early as 2005 revealed that the US government was actively weighing regime change in Syria. …As an alternative to direct military intervention to topple the Syrian government, the United States chose to pressure Damascus through sanctions and support for the internal Syrian opposition.
The advocacy website, End the Sanctions on Syria, notes:
Similar sanctions on Iraq in the 1990s were shown to have caused the deaths of more than half a million Iraqi children.
The site went on to report that (as of May 2014):
701 of 1,921 Syrian health centres have been ‘completely gutted’ by the terrorist attacks. Yet rehabilitation of these centres is retarded by the US-EU sanctions, which have already left ‘a deep mark on the healthcare system’… including by blocking access to medicines, medical equipment, transport and communications.
A May 27, 2015 article in The Lancet reports:
The cost of basic food items has risen six-fold since 2010, although it varies regionally. With the exception of drugs for cancer and diabetes, Syria was 95 percent self-sufficient in terms of drug production before the war. This has virtually collapsed as have many hospitals and primary health-care centres.
Economic sanctions have not removed the President: …only civilians are in the line of fire, attested to by the dire state of household and macro-economies. Sanctions are among the biggest causes of suffering for the people of Syria.