ECONOMIC SCENE: Sanctions on Iran and Israel could defuse Middle East
Christian Science Monitor / David R. Francis
05-Aug-2009 (3 comments)

To stop the construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the Obama administration could threaten to suspend the $3 billion a year it sends to Israel. That’s a move urged by former US Rep. Paul Findley, founder of a nonprofit group calling for even-handed US policy in the Middle East.

To keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, key nations could stop buying its oil and selling it much-needed gasoline. Those are two elements of a 12-point Iran policy proposed by Jennifer Mizrahi, head of the Israel Project, a pro-Israel nonprofit.

For centuries, nations have resorted to economic sanctions when diplomacy has failed. “It’s an intermediate tool … much preferable to declaring war,” says John Williamson, an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington.

But does it work?

Sometimes. A survey of 204 episodes of economic sanctions since World War I found that about 1 in 3 succeeded in changing the behavior of the targeted regime or changing the regime itself, says Kimberly Elliott, whose study turned into a Peterson Institute book. In the 1970s and 1980s, though, US unilateral sanctions worked in only about 1 in 5 cases.

The US finds it easier to employ economic pressure with Iran than Israel. Israel is a close ally whom America wants to cajole. Iran is accused of funding terrorists and aiming to develop nuclear weapons. Yet, the US already has severely cut back trade... >>>

Ali Lakani

Economic sanctions against Israel?!

by Ali Lakani on

Economic sanctions against Iran, or talk thereof, are an every day occurrence in DC.  But economic sanctions against Israel?!! Are you crazy? AIPAC would never let this happen.



Sanctions hurt people

by Patriot on

Sanctions hurt people and not the criminal thugs at the helm in Iran.  They just use the gesture of animosity to further stifle Iranians inside.  However, I would much rather see economic sanctions than military attacks.


Sanction be sanction

by Ostaad on

Comparing economic sanctions against Iran with the American tax payers' money handed to the Zionist to continue their Apartheid regime is wrong, and Mr. Francis should know better than making such a big mistake.

Sanctions against Iran only hurt the Iranian middle class by pushing them into poverty and thus making them more reliant on the government for jobs and their livelihood.

The Iranian regime relies on oil and gas income, and they have proved very adept at sanction busting techniques. Removing the sanctions and increased foreign investment in Iran will inevitably lead to the expansion of the middle class - precisely the kind of people who are standing up to the regime demanding change and restoration of their human/civil rights.

Sanctions must be lifted ASAP.