US Prepares Syria Sanctions

The U.S. is preparing to impose unilateral sanctions on senior officials in the Syrian regime, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Obama administration is drafting an executive order that would freeze the assets of those officials and ban them from doing business with anyone in the U.S., the Journal reported, citing administration officials. The U.S. sanctions would have minimal affect on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, as it has few holdings here, but it would increase pressure on countries in Europe, where the Assads are believed to have more substantial assets, to act as well, according to the Journal report.

The order would be finished in the coming weeks, the officials told the Journal.

The White House declined to comment to the Journal on any future executive order, or on who would be targeted under a sanctions order. “We’re looking at a range of possible responses to this unacceptable behavior” in Syria, an Obama administration official said, without elaborating on what those options were.

The reported moves come as the Assad regime oversees a violent crackdown on protesters, of whom 200 were killed since uprisings began about a month ago. More than 80 were killed over the weekend alone as protests erupted in cities throughout the country.

The increased intensity of the crackdown diminished hope among diplomats in Washington and Europe interviewed by the Journal that had pushed for Assad to embrace reforms that were among the protesters’ original demands. (Assad said it was “time for reform” during a rare interview in January with The Wall Street Journal.) As the crackdown ensued, the list of demands made by the protesters has grown, and for some it includes the end of the Assad regime, whose family has ruled for four decades.

If the U.S. does impose sanctions on Syria, its approach would appear similar to that which it took against Libya amid Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s crackdown. Human-rights groups are pushing for high-level officials to be named in any sanctions order, including Bashar himself, as well as his younger brother, Maher al-Assad, who heads an army special forces unit alleged to be playing a central role in the crackdown. The president’s brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, is deputy chief of the Syrian army.

Any sanctions order would be a major break in U.S. relations with the Assad’s regime, which the Obama administration had sought to court since coming into office in 2009 after a cold period during the Bush administration that included a 2004 trade sanctions regime and financial penalties on Syria officials for their alleged support of militants in Iraq and involvement in corruption. WSJ

  • C S

    Sanctions???? A couple of weeks to implement sanctions? Is Obama and his crew paying attention? What in hell are sanctions going to do, to save these people, are being murdered right now????

    Tha’s it for me, as I am not voting for Obama again…when it comes to foreign policy initiatives, he is way behind, and late on everything. Obviously, he either does not have the required experience, or is not listening to those who are telling him to get a move on things….the world is changing on an hourly basis, and his sleeping at the switch.

    US Senator John McCain is calling for the “taking out” of Qaddafi and Assad. I support him, 1,000%…..we need to aim directly at those two clowns, and put the Libyan and Syrian people, out of their misery, once and for all….no more messing around. If we had had that option in World War Two, we would not have taken out Hitler to stop the genocide? Of course we would have….no doubt about it….

    We have the option to stop all these massacres and as the leader of the Free World, we should do it….

    Who would complain? No one…..not even Qaddafi or Assad’s “supporters”…..if you think about it…they are waiting for someone else to do their dirty work, so let’s do it for them and for the innocent and good people of Libya and Syria……

    Finish them off, once and for all….A few Tomahawk missiles will do the trick, and our government knows exactly where those two idiots are, 24 x 7, so it won’t be hard to locate them to minimize the collateral damage…..Allah yerhamoun…..I say we do it, and the faster, the better, to save more innocent lives….

    • Mosetsfire

      What are you asking is impossible. It would be a more blatant violation of international law than when Bush Jr. went into Iraq.

      Unfortunately, the road to freedom is not an easy one, and the Syrians themselves will have to decide how heavily they are willing to pay for it.

      • C S

        A blatant violation of international law, you say? What do you call the merciless killing of unarmed men, women and children, you clown? I call that an outrageous, blatant, bold, and cowardly violation of not only international law in this world, but ANY world…..you must be joking…..as for the Syrians themselves having to decide on how heavily they are willing to pay for it, can you tell me what kind of chance they have to balance the scales, when they have no arms to defend themselves, or is that just too bad, in your judgement? Get real……

        • antar2011

          you are forgetting that there are some syrians who buy the BS that the regime is feeding them.
          they do believe that these massacre are a crackdown on salafist armed movements in the country.

  • C S

    Sanctions???? A couple of weeks to implement sanctions? Is Obama and his crew paying attention? What in hell are sanctions going to do, to save these people, are being murdered right now????

    Tha’s it for me, as I am not voting for Obama again…when it comes to foreign policy initiatives, he is way behind, and late on everything. Obviously, he either does not have the required experience, or is not listening to those who are telling him to get a move on things….the world is changing on an hourly basis, and his sleeping at the switch.

    US Senator John McCain is calling for the “taking out” of Qaddafi and Assad. I support him, 1,000%…..we need to aim directly at those two clowns, and put the Libyan and Syrian people, out of their misery, once and for all….no more messing around. If we had had that option in World War Two, we would not have taken out Hitler to stop the genocide? Of course we would have….no doubt about it….

    We have the option to stop all these massacres and as the leader of the Free World, we should do it….

    Who would complain? No one…..not even Qaddafi or Assad’s “supporters”…..if you think about it…they are waiting for someone else to do their dirty work, so let’s do it for them and for the innocent and good people of Libya and Syria……

    Finish them off, once and for all….A few Tomahawk missiles will do the trick, and our government knows exactly where those two idiots are, 24 x 7, so it won’t be hard to locate them to minimize the collateral damage…..Allah yerhamoun…..I say we do it, and the faster, the better, to save more innocent lives….

    • What are you asking is impossible. It would be a more blatant violation of international law than when Bush Jr. went into Iraq.

      Unfortunately, the road to freedom is not an easy one, and the Syrians themselves will have to decide how heavily they are willing to pay for it.

      • C S

        A blatant violation of international law, you say? What do you call the merciless killing of unarmed men, women and children, you clown? I call that an outrageous, blatant, bold, and cowardly violation of not only international law in this world, but ANY world…..you must be joking…..as for the Syrians themselves having to decide on how heavily they are willing to pay for it, can you tell me what kind of chance they have to balance the scales, when they have no arms to defend themselves, or is that just too bad, in your judgement? Get real……

        • Anonymous

          you are forgetting that there are some syrians who buy the BS that the regime is feeding them.
          they do believe that these massacre are a crackdown on salafist armed movements in the country.

  • Lebman12

    Did you say sanctions ? ooh that’s so scary, good job Obama, Syria and Libya will stop massacre right away, as you put dozens of sanctions against Iran and I wonder which one worked ? what the hell a sanction can do, it is your chicken and same hypocratic policy

    • Rafic

      Pres. Obama is putting the squeeze on Syrian regime one step at a time ,he can not look so agressive so Iran will say he is interfering again also our HA bretheren will have to same something derogatory to show to the regime they are doing something,that is my guess.

  • Lebman12

    Did you say sanctions ? ooh that’s so scary, good job Obama, Syria and Libya will stop massacre right away, as you put dozens of sanctions against Iran and I wonder which one worked ? what the hell a sanction can do, it is your chicken and same hypocratic policy

    • Rafic

      Pres. Obama is putting the squeeze on Syrian regime one step at a time ,he can not look so agressive so Iran will say he is interfering again also our HA bretheren will have to same something derogatory to show to the regime they are doing something,that is my guess.

  • Anonymous

    Did you say sanctions ? ooh that’s so scary, good job Obama, Syria and Libya will stop massacre right away, as you put dozens of sanctions against Iran and I wonder which one worked ? what the hell a sanction can do, it is your chicken and same hypocratic policy

    • Anonymous

      Pres. Obama is putting the squeeze on Syrian regime one step at a time ,he can not look so agressive so Iran will say he is interfering again also our HA bretheren will have to same something derogatory to show to the regime they are doing something,that is my guess.