The United States is all out of options for the new sanctions against Russia to change its stance on the Syrian conflict, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.
“While the president has full sanction authority, there’s nobody left to sanction in Russia besides the janitor in the Kremlin…. In terms of expanding any kind of commercial or financial sanctions, we’re basically maxed out,” Michael Kofman, a global fellow at the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute in Washington, said as quoted by the news agency.
According to the experts, the sanctions have not so far had the desired effect of changing Moscow’s policy in Syria.
“The Kremlin has not shown any inclination to change its behavior based on sanctions, and it’s hard to make the argument that more sanctions would change its approach toward Syria,” Emma Ashford, a research fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington, is quoted as saying.
The US government reportedly has a few options left, including blocking Russia from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) or the embargo on Russian energy exports, but, according to the unnamed US official quoted in the article, firstly, the European Union would not agree to the latter, as it is largely dependent on Russia for its energy supplies, and, secondly, none of the remaining options would produce an immediate effect.
The recent clash between the Western countries and Russia stems from the opposite positions they take in the Syrian conflict, with Russia supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad and the forces loyal to him, and the United States backing some of the opposition groups in Syria. The West blames Moscow and Damascus for the alleged attacks on civilian population and armed opposition groups in Syria. Russia and the Syrian government dismiss the accusations, insisting that they only strike terrorist positions, while pointing out the United States’ inability to differentiate between the so-called moderate opposition and terrorists.