How UK should foil Hizbol­lah and Syria

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News -

watch­ing”. While Pil­lay is just watch­ing, her boss, UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki-Moon, ar­tic­u­lated a “grow­ing concern” over the “de­te­ri­o­rat­ing” con­di­tions in Syria. Aware­ness through ac­tion has hardly been a UN pri­or­ity.

But there are forms of ac­tion avail­able. Syria’s main eco­nomic vul­ner­a­bil­ity is its en­ergy re­sources. A broad-based, con­certed EU ef­fort to slash the con­sump­tion of Syrian oil, along with painful sanc­tions dra­mat­i­cally cur­tail­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties of Euro­pean en­ergy com­pa­nies in Syria, would de­liver a one-two punch to the regime’s eco­nomic nerve cen­tre.

Take the ex­am­ple of the Bri­tishDutch com­pany Royal Dutch Shell. Ac­cord­ing to the Bri­tish en­vi­ron­men­tal group PLAT­FORM, which mon­i­tors en­ergy com­pa­nies, around 17 per cent of Syrian tanks run on fuel de­rived from Shell’s stocks. The UK gov­ern­ment should pres­sure Shell to pull out of Syria al­to­gether.

A Shell spokesman said: “We con­tinue to mon­i­tor the sit­u­a­tion in Syria closely. We con­demn any vi­o­lence and the hu­man rights abuses it rep­re­sents and we have deep concern over the loss of life. We com­ply with all ap­pli­ca­ble laws, in­clud­ing in­ter­na­tional sanc­tions.”

Italy and Saudi Ara­bia have with­drawn their am­bas­sadors. If the UK were to do so a dual mes­sage would be sent: As­sad has lost his le­git­i­macy and the EU stands be­hind the Syrian peo­ple. Ben­jamin Weinthal is a Fel­low at the Foun­da­tion for De­fence of Democ­ra­cies

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