US sanctions block aid to earthquake-hit Syrians

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Click here for the full interview with Professor Joshua Landis:

“Sanctions are a form of war. They’re economic warfare. And they destroy people’s lives.”

Joshua Landis (, Sandra Mackey Chair in Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, is one of the foremost experts on Syria. This week, as Syria, along with neighbor Turkiye, grapples with the aftermath of the devastating earthquake, Professor Landis joins the Useful Idiots to explain the deadly consequences that sanctions pile on to the damage.

“America likes to talk about all its precision bombing and hitting someone with a drone to avoid collateral damage,” Landis explains. “But sanctions? It’s all about collateral damage. Very little of it is targeted.”

But if you read corporate media outlets like the New York Times or Washington Post, you’d find a much different story. Both papers this week published headlines that were hastily changed when they realized they were being a little too truthful. See if you can tell the difference:

The Times changed their headline from “Syria is not able to receive direct aid from many countries because of sanctions” to “The Syrian government tightly controls what aid it allows into opposition held areas.” When the Times accidentally tells the truth, they can always be trusted to fix their mistake.

The original WaPo headline implored “Don’t lift sanctions of Syria to help earthquake victims.” But when they realized they were saying the quiet part too loud, they made a quick change to “Lifting sanctions on Syria won’t help earthquake victims.” Good catch.

Professor Landis knows that sanctions are exacerbating the death toll in Syria, as indicated by both original headlines. Watch the full episode to hear him explain the history of sanctions, why the poor bear the worst of their destruction, and how to help.

Plus, catch this week’s Thursday Throwdown where Seymour Hersh reveals how Lyin’ Biden blew up the Nord Stream pipeline and Katie explains why Joe Rogan’s antisemitic defense of Ilhan Omar’s non-antisemitic statements was so unhelpful. Oy.

And don’t miss the Absurd Arena’s new home: the Substack app chat. Katie and Aaron will now be live in the discussion board each Tuesday at noon EST.

It’s all this, and more, on this week’s episode of Useful Idiots. Check it out.

0:00 Intro
1:04 The Four Food Groups of News
22:28 Useful Idiots announcement
23:55 Professor Joshua Landis interview

Written by usefulidiots


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  1. It is simple. They are the. countries who did not accept a loan from the IMF and were fighting the petrodollar and their sovereignty the ones who were not puppets to debt slavery Interestingly enough it coincides with the fact that Muslims cannot die in debt by religion it is through debt how they access the natural resources of the pariah country

  2. 11:46
    wait why is katie upset that this propaganda exercise is being disrupted? she looks utterly disgusted.
    but he is a liar. she's mad someone called biden a liar.
    btw the way, the people booing, the tea partiers, the maga people – they are correct.
    joe biden tried to cut SS a dozen times.
    the tea party actually stopped Obama & John Boehner & the republican congress from cutting it in 2014.
    Trump has always said to keep SS & medicare. in fact he said it again UNPROMPTED when the republicans took the house.
    Katie's real got a ton of Sh#*Lib in her.
    look at what Katie's saying here. Mike lee apparently changed his position on his election promise to cut SS, but that's not a win for katie.
    she's not happy about that, she's mad he made indigant face.
    instead of making a cut of potus biden threatening social security 42 times, she's pissed at this guy mike no on has even heard of.

  3. Biden for continued funding of Medicare advantage to convert Medicare Americans to for profit health insurance. And on top of that we the taxpayers are paying for the ads and conversion. And our government is lifting regulations allowing health insurance companies to use the same scam phone rose to call US citizens that we pay for.

  4. Katie, why bag on MTG’s attire? Don’t go into the weeds with either side of the isle on this playground hyperbole or you’ll look just like the typical opinion news hacks who you’re giving the needle to. There’s plenty of subject matter when it comes to the clothing of these carpet bagger’s most of the time anyway. Watch who they represent and how they vote not what they wear. Truth to Power.

  5. People in first class pay more for their airfare. It’s not the same as class warfare. I’ve been on flights where people push ahead and use overhead bins that are nowhere near their seats. Flight attendants shouldn’t have to teach passengers about proper behavior.

  6. That was an excellent interview with Professor Landis. I didn't know that much about Syria before, but from what I heard in this interview, Syria is very much like other authoritarian dictatorships around the world: Common people are always just tools of the government with no real way to act independently or get out of their predicament.

  7. Such absence of morality and decency make life on earth a living hell. The US never actually helps other nations. They just wait for an opportunity to bomb them. It’s completely depraved and Satanic.

  8. Stop making fun of people’s clothes and appearances.
    Just stop.
    If it’s really about “Hunger Games” you would point out the cost of the legislature’s clothing regardless of whether or not they suit your personal taste. You sound like the conservatives and bully libs tantruming over blue haired kids.
    I’m losing my shit over here, nearly everyone on a microphone right now identifying as “the Left” are insular, myopic, petty, elite, pompous. Simping for incredibly discriminatory capital-captured western institutions, as long as they’re the ones you personally benefitted from. Like Academia. Medical. Psychiatry. Journalism.
    Read: within your class. How patronizing, dry.. picking on a ghetto coat and lack of education. Awesome.
    the same Suburban East Coast academia-to-talking head pipeline is now the definitive voice of the common laborer? The poor? The incarcerated? Pain patients who are being policed and ripped off their meds? Anyone terrified of going to the doctor or hospital now or just.. can’t. Including people who are terribly sick. Also Including much of GenZ, who seem only to exist as an occasional phantom kick toy.
    The loss of agency is so rapidly becoming complete here and it’s largely due to a waspy ruling culture, which postures its own wee enemies within itself, and thrives on petty tattling and extreme managing.
    You guys are signal boosting conservatives by acting this way. Just what we fecking need. You of all people should know that’s when the descent to fascism gets greased.
    It’s like the beard stroking streamers and podcasters, academics gone YouTube, and insufferable video essayists, ultimately they always end up congealing into a self important clique, talking down to their audiences, tittering at people’s fashion sense, sinking into irrelevance
    And we’re out here left with no news, no biting intelligent satire, no voice, no acknowledgement, no space to connect and communicate. Where pompous mean spirited snark replaces truly shared laughter.
    I’d rather see the entire Congress show up dressed like a community theater production of Hair than those foamcore Capital dinosaurs posturing Reader’s Digest civility.

  9. Good interview but with a minor (major) correction about a minority government, this was never a minority government, sunnies were amongst the wealthiest and most influencial, the government is made up mainly by sunni muslims. Let us call it as is, the ethnic divisions were played upon to create such falsehood scinarios, similar to russian Ukrainians vs other ukrainians. This is a game being played and it is criminal, when will we have the courage to deal with the monsters we have in the west that ends up funding and orchestrating these kind of dark politics that serve no one but their own agendas of foreign policy and agency?

  10. The US still illegally controls 80% of Syria's oil fields. The US/UK/EU anti-Putin, anti-Russia demonising has been cranked up to max since Russia intervened in Syria, a full year after the U.S. was supposedly bombing ISIS. Instead, the U.S. was protecting ISIS convoys of stolen oil, convoys of ISIS fighters and weaponry, etc. Without Russia, Syria would now be ruled by the duped head-chopping proxies of the U.S., U.K. etc. Then, the U.S. and U.K. would get public support to invade Syria. Keep up your courageous work for honesty, facts and truth..

  11. What we are doing in Syria is absolutely insane. What is the purpose…to kill people? Is there any other purpose, any other motive. We already are stealing their oil, so there's nothing more to gain…under Oligarchy the most evil answer is the right one. Our bought government is a ****ing death cult.

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