Choking Syria’s economy could be the United States’ best approach towards impeding Assad’s power, says FDD's Director of Research David Adesnik in his latest piece for The Hill. He also shares that Iran continues to finance Assad’s ongoing atrocities, and with Iran’s rapidly devaluating rial and the intensity of recent Iranian anti-regime protests, supporting Assad may no longer be affordable for the Iranian government. Amid the economic downturn and instability within Iran, Adesnik proposes the United States economically sanction three targets: Assad’s new oligarchs, Iranian oil tankers, and global financial institutions.
An excerpt from the op-ed follows:
“The Syrian Kurds have played an indispensable role in the war on ISIS, yet some Kurdish targets should be on Treasury’s radar because they appear to be selling substantial amounts of oil to Assad. Given how important the Kurds remain to our efforts in Syria, the White House and Pentagon should raise the issue directly with Syrian Kurdish leaders, whom the U.S. should encourage to sell their oil to other customers, such as the Kurds in Iraq.
Iranian oil tankers should also come into the crosshairs. They provide Assad with substantial amounts of oil that he can either resell at a profit to desperate Syrians or use to fuel military operations. Last week, the website Tanker Trackers published data showing that a tanker, the “Sea Shark,” made five round trips from Iran to Syria over the past year, transporting a total of 4.7 million barrels of Iranian crude. The ship’s movements are visible because international law requires the use of transponders that broadcast a vessel’s location — although the “Sea Shark,” Tanker Trackers reports, illegally turned off its transponders while approaching the Syrian coastline.”
Read the full piece from The Hill here.