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Chandra Muzaffar Seeks To Lift Syria Sanctions, Support Call for Erdogan-Assad Meeting

Feb. 13, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Chandra Muzaffar, the founder and president of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) in Malaysia, and a leading Islamic scholar, wrote an article for JUST “urging the American, British, Australian, Canadian, Swiss, and some European Union and Arab League governments to lift the unjust, immoral sanctions against Syria in order to lessen the immense sufferings of the people caused by the massive earthquake of February 6, 2023.” Muzaffar has been an activist internationally, especially on behalf of the Palestinians in their battle with the Israeli occupation, and in regard to conflicts within Islam, such as countering the terrorist scourge.

Muzaffar made two critical points, one in regard to the Arab states joining in the U.S. sanctions against Syria, another regarding the potential of Presidents Erdogan of Turkiye and Assad of Syria meeting and restoring relations.

On the first, he notes that in November 2011, Syria was expelled from the Arab League, and was hit with a

“whole range of new sanctions from travel bans and asset freezes to prohibitions on exports and restrictions upon the oil sector. The EU also joined the U.S. in embargoing the oil sector. 20% of Syria’s GDP came from oil. It has been estimated that the country has lost $107 billion from its oil and gas earnings since 2011. ... Some Arab League states also froze Syrian government assets as did Turkiye in 2011. But none of these actions had as severe an impact upon the Syrian economy and State as the capture of territories containing oil and producing wheat and cotton by rebel groups linked to governments, ethnic movements or terrorist outfits in the region.”

But, he adds, before the earthquake,

“on the 5th of January 2023, the president of Türkiye, Recep Erdogan indicated that he wants to meet up with the Syrian President, Bashar Assad, to discuss and resolve their differences. Let us hope and pray that both men will work towards such a meeting—a meeting which will result in a mutually acceptable solution to their problems. If the two leaders, who enjoyed a close friendship some time ago, make peace with one another, there is a strong possibility that Türkiye and Syria will be able to come together on a firm footing and most of the other protagonists will also be able to bury the hatchet.

“One hopes that this mammoth catastrophe will persuade some of the principal actors in these conflicts to reflect deeply on what has happened—the unfathomable suffering of millions of human beings on both sides of the Türkiye-Syria border. If their suffering is to have any meaning at all, let it herald the end of conflicts and killings along the border and in other parts of Syria.

“If that happens, the deaths of thousands—especially little children—in one of the greatest tragedies in recent times would not have been in vain.”

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