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BREAKING: Obama Imposes Sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

BREAKING: Obama Imposes Sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad

The US has decided to impose sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Last month, President Barack Obama had imposed sanctions on Assad’s younger brother Maher, his cousin and an intelligence chief, but not on Assad himself. Six other of Assad’s top aides were also targeted in what is, says the New York Times, a “significant slap at Damascus [that] raises questions about whether Washington and the West may ultimately seek Assad’s removal from power.”

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the US will take “additional steps” against Syria. Says the BBC:

It would be the first time Mr Assad has been targeted personally by the international community for his government’s crackdown on protesters….

Mrs Clinton said the Syrian government had “embraced the worst tactics of their Iranian ally, and they have refused to honour the legitimate aspirations of their own people”.

“President Assad talks about reform, but his heavy-handed, brutal crackdown shows his true intentions,” she added.

Protests in Syria began in the middle of March following the arrest of a group of teenagers who had scrawled anti-government graffiti in the southern city of Dara’a. Since then, protests have occurred throughout many cities in Syria, including the cities of Homs, Hama, Latakia, Aleppo, Banias and elsewhere. Demonstrations have even occurred in the capital of Damascus.

The Syrian government has responded with an increasingly brutal crackdown in which Dara’a, Banias and Homs have been laid siege to by tanks and the military, and many Syrians have been shot and detained. Human rights activists have estimated that at least 800 have been killed and at least 2,843 detained, according to INSAN, a Syrian human rights organization.

Besides Assad, the six senior Syrian officials targeted are: Farouk al-Shara, Vice President Adel Safar, Prime Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, Interior Minister Ali Habib Mahmoud, Defense Minister Abdul Fatah Qudsiya and Mohammed Dib Zaitoun, head of Syrian military intelligence. Three Syrian agencies have also been targeted: the Syrian Military Intelligence, the Syrian National Security Bureau, which is an element of the ruling Baath party and Syrian Air Force Intelligence. According to a statement from the Treasury Department:

“As a result of this action, any property in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which the individuals listed in the Annex have an interest is blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them.”

CNN also reports that two top Iranian officials whose unit has served as a “conduit for Iranian material support” to Syrian intelligence were also targeted by the sanctions. 

Tomorrow, President Obama is to give a major speech about the Middle East in which, says the New York Times, he plans to argue that “the political upheaval raises the prospect for progress on all fronts.” Obama will, says White House press secretary, Jay Carney, offer “some specific new ideas about U.S. policy toward the region.” Are the sanctions against Assad a sign of this?

 

Previous Care2 Coverage

Violence on the Syrian-Israeli Border; Mass Grave Found Near Dara’a (VIDEO)

At Least 12 Killed as Palestinians Breach Israel’s Borders on Nakba Day (VIDEO)

Syrian Government Vows to Fight Protesters “To the End”

Women & Children Among Hundreds Arrested in Syria; Is Iran Aiding Assad? (VIDEO)

 

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Photo by Martijn.Munneke

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14 comments

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7:43AM PDT on Jul 26, 2011

With Iran's help Syria will not change.

11:06AM PDT on May 22, 2011

At least he is trying to show the world that the treatment of Syria's people during the protests is not acceptable.

4:21PM PDT on May 21, 2011

I love all you arm chair pundits who think you could do a better job than Obama. Some of the most hateful bashers and critics of Obama on this site have done nothing for anyone or anything; no butterfly points or other points earned or spent.

5:16PM PDT on May 19, 2011

A murderer and a traitor and a cheater has condemned another,... wow,... I'm impressed...

3:44PM PDT on May 19, 2011

I saw the President's speech as a clear statement of what is obvious. The Bush administration destroyed most of our power by bankrupting us, but we can still stand up for peace and decency verbally. It's not much, but at least we are not pretending like we don't see the suffering.

10:52AM PDT on May 19, 2011

Wake up; who cares what President Obama, or America, thinks should be done in the Middle East, especially by those living in the Middle East, after what has been permitted to be carried out there, with the full backing and involvement of the Western powers, over a number of decades during which their Countries were run by dictatorships.

10:14AM PDT on May 19, 2011

Here we go again, sticking our nose in some one else's business.

9:45AM PDT on May 19, 2011

It's time to invade. Assemble a multinational invasion force. the sooner this nation is occupied the sooner there will be a peace treaty in the mideast. And Lebanon will sign under threat of invasion too. These are the only two nations left that haven't declared peace on the field, Egypt and Jordan having already signed treaties with the Jewish state. Notice how we are not hearing a peep in Israel's direction out of Afghanistan and Iraq.

6:22AM PDT on May 19, 2011

So the USA and its allies plans to cause chaos in the Middle East,are marching on!Whatever,you think about all these dictators,it seems it takes a dictator to keep a backward religious dominated population under control,and the tribes living in some sort of harmony,if you can call it that.The messes now in Iraq,Afghanistan,Lebanon,Egypt,Libya,Tunisia are testament to what I have just said!What does the USA hope to achieve?My opinion is to cause chaos in all Islamic countries hoping that this will stem the tide of Islamifacation of the planet and/or control the rich oil supplies in some of those countries?!Why isn't the USA marching into some of the corrupt,cruel regimes in Africa and sorting them out?!All the lies about helping free Muslim women and giving people democracy are nauseating.I don't believe democracy can work in an Islamic state because of the totally undemocratic ideology that is Islam!

2:52AM PDT on May 19, 2011

Consistancy of action by all western powers across the region would be a good start. What's going on in Bahrain is terrible and they are being helped by Saudi troops imposing emergency law.
Funy how neither of these 2 are getting the publicity for their immoral actions. But then most of the 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi and their the ones promoting extreme Islam throughout the region. Could oil have anything to do with it...?

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