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Sanction Syria?

2:28 PM, Aug 4, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The Foundation for Defense of Democracies has compiled a report on "Syria's Energy Sector." As FDD's Mark Dubowitz writes in the Hill: "This week, members of Congress are waking up from a debt-ceiling hangover to consider a bipartisan energy sanctions bill that would exert peaceful pressure on Bashar Assad’s regime in an effort to stop the bloodshed. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), as well as Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) have introduced bills targeting investment in Syria’s energy sector, as well as petroleum exports and imports, and the transfer of technology.... Syrian energy sanctions could thus be useful by both tightening the screws on Assad and costing Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei resources he needs to withstand western pressure on his battered regime. It’s time to persuade Assad’s energy partners that their support for the regime is bad for business -- not to mention their reputations."


FDD sends along highlights from the report:

  1. Syria’s energy sector accounts for at least a quarter of its government revenues – money Bashar Assad’s regime uses to buy tanks and other military equipment to brutalize the population.
  2. As Syria’s oil production declines and its consumption increases by as much as 6.3% each year, its reliance on foreign investment and imported oil increases.
  3. Royal Dutch Shell is Syria’s second-largest oil and gas producer, having done business there for 25 years. Yet its Syrian business represents only about 2 percent of its total global oil production. According to the humanitarian group Pax Christi International, as much as 80 percent of the revenue from Shell’s extraction products goes to Syrian state coffers.
  4. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as of January 2010, Shell contributed over 55,000 barrels per day of sweet light crude oil to Syrian refineries, which have a capacity of around 240,000 barrels per day. These refineries supply fuel for Syria’s military, police, and other security forces that are killing protesters.

Whole report here.

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