Obama calls on Assad to step down, freezes Syria’s assets

President Obama today called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down, as his brutal crackdown on the country’s uprising continues to escalate.

“The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way,” Obama said in a statement. “His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing and slaughtering his own people …”

For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.”

Other countries are also expected to make similar statements in a coordinated show of international opposition to the regime.

The White House also announced a new executive order requiring the “immediate freeze of all assets of the government of Syria subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting U.S. persons from engaging in any transaction involving the government of Syria.”

At a meeting of the United Nations Security Council later this afternoon, the U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is expected to suggest that the Security Council refer Assad to the International Criminal Court for his role in the violence.

Obama’s declaration has been in the works for weeks and the timing has been fluid. It was expected last week but was delayed. Some countries such as Turkey, Syria’s influential neighbor, urged the United States to hold off on the declaration to allow its diplomacy to work, but has made clear this week that its patience is running thin as Assad continues to flout its calls to end the violence.

The Obama administration has been reluctant to call on Assad to step down because the next question would be what it plans to do about it. The recent experience in Libya, where similar calls from the United States and others have been ignored, has also led some to urge caution.

As violence has increased in recent weeks, beginning with the military’s siege on the restive city of Hama and then spreading to other cities, the White House decided it was time to take the next step.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had cautioned against a rush to declare that Assad must go, saying such a move is more effective when others do so as well. To that end, the administration has been in talks with other countries to take coordinated action today as well.

The Obama administration has stepped carefully when discussing Syria. In his May 19 speech on this year’s uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, the president declared Assad must reform or get out of the way. The administration eventually said Assad has lost that opportunity to reform and Clinton reluctantly said last month he had lost his legitimacy.

Recently, the administration has gone to the brink of calling on Assad to step down, with White House spokesman Jay Carney and Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice both saying that Syria would be better off without Assad in power.

The State Department began to prepare last week for the eventual change in policy when spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the administration’s policy of engagement with Assad was over.

The U.S. has announced in recent weeks new sanctions on regime insiders and their business interests, hoping to cut off funding and support for Assad. It sent a senior adviser, Fred Hof, to Europe last week to rally support for coordinated action.

The administration is developing tough oil and gas sanctions, aiming for a key source of funding for the regime, and has urged other countries to halt energy deals with Syria. Clinton last week took to naming and shaming countries who still import energy from Syria and urging them to “get on the right side of history.”

Clinton specifically named India and China and said Europe must do more to squeeze the regime. She also called out Russia for continuing arms sale to Syria.

ABC

  • A little late but welcome. Now nail his ass in the ICC.

    • dabshaleem

      Aiera to Saudi Aware

  • A little late but welcome. Now nail his ass in the ICC.

    • Anonymous

      Aiera to Saudi Aware

    • Anonymous

      Aiera to Saudi Aware

    • Anonymous

      Aiera to Saudi Aware

    • Anonymous

      Aiera to Saudi Aware

  • plomca

    About freakin time!

    • Patience2

      Well, I was going to say the same thing but you beat me to it!  Congratulations.

    • dabshaleem

      For what!!

  • Anonymous

    About freakin time!

    • Anonymous

      Well, I was going to say the same thing but you beat me to it!  Congratulations.

    • Anonymous

      Well, I was going to say the same thing but you beat me to it!  Congratulations.

    • Anonymous

      For what!!

  • 5thDrawer

    They hate the ‘west’ so much … but certainly know where to ‘hide’ their money. To their chagrin, they find that there are some rules in the ‘world outside’ about being open and honest … which seems a problem when they begin to screw everyone.
      Of course, they could sit in their little offices with the gold stacked around them … and wait for the next despot to burst through the door. Daffy Qadaffi seems to have done that to a large extent … but now finds no-one is selling to him anyway.
      Watch the ‘investors’ squirm and scream about the ‘west’ now ….

  • Anonymous

    They hate the ‘west’ so much … but certainly know where to ‘hide’ their money. To their chagrin, they find that there are some rules in the ‘world outside’ about being open and honest … which seems a problem when they begin to screw everyone.
      Of course, they could sit in their little offices with the gold stacked around them … and wait for the next despot to burst through the door. Daffy Qadaffi seems to have done that to a large extent … but now finds no-one is selling to him anyway.
      Watch the ‘investors’ squirm and scream about the ‘west’ now ….

  • Fauzia45

    The future is diversity ,freedom and liberty!All of the authoritarian regimes and dictators must go and let their people breathe! They need fresh air!

  • Fauzia45

    The future is diversity ,freedom and liberty!All of the authoritarian regimes and dictators must go and let their people breathe! They need fresh air!

  • Anonymous

    The future is diversity ,freedom and liberty!All of the authoritarian regimes and dictators must go and let their people breathe! They need fresh air!

  • josephphdman

    dear president obama :
    the king abdullah of saudi arabia is really angry about the regemein syria killing sunnis people because he is from a sunni,s faith
    and he is willing to pay the price  its your chance to solve the us debt problems , while the king is worth about 200 trillion dollars just ask him for 12 trillions to pay the us debth so the us could help him free his sunnis brothers in syria ; you can,t make the us work for free all the time ,ask saudi king for the money do,nt be shy

  • Anonymous

    dear president obama :
    the king abdullah of saudi arabia is really angry about the regemein syria killing sunnis people because he is from a sunni,s faith
    and he is willing to pay the price  its your chance to solve the us debt problems , while the king is worth about 200 trillion dollars just ask him for 12 trillions to pay the us debth so the us could help him free his sunnis brothers in syria ; you can,t make the us work for free all the time ,ask saudi king for the money do,nt be shy

  • antar2011

    3alli el ter 3alli el ter 3alli 3alli 3alli el ter

    bye bye ya Bashaar tesba7 3ala kherrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

    time for party…..after iftar..everyone is invited…even our friend Leo…

    • 5thDrawer

      As long as you keep his mouth filled with wine … 😉

      • dabshaleem

        bone Fauzia45 ette

      • master09

        We can’t understand him now and you want to give him wine. 🙂

        • 5thDrawer

          We’ll have a tattoo artist standing by for when he passes out. I think the girls have some ideas ….
          I could smuggle in some fermented and triple-distilled licorice-juice 😉

        • antar2011

          errr…this is a halal party, no wine i am afraid, just a good old jugs of licorice juice for drinks.

      • master09

        We can’t understand him now and you want to give him wine. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    3alli el ter 3alli el ter 3alli 3alli 3alli el ter

    bye bye ya Bashaar tesba7 3ala kherrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

    time for party…..after iftar..everyone is invited…even our friend Leo…

    • Anonymous

      As long as you keep his mouth filled with wine … 😉

      • Anonymous

        bone Fauzia45 ette

      • Anonymous

        We can’t understand him now and you want to give him wine. 🙂

        • Anonymous

          We’ll have a tattoo artist standing by for when he passes out. I think the girls have some ideas ….
          😉

        • Anonymous

          errr…this is a halal party, no wine i am afraid, just a good old jugs of licorice juice for drinks.

  • dabshaleem

    Sudefette too

  • Anonymous

    Sudefette too

  • alik78

    thats right obama the syrian people determine thier future and the majority are with their president so mind your own business and dont interfere in our affairs.  We will be and forever will be with the resistance of palestine and lebanon and you meddling in our affairs wont change a thing. i congratulate assad and lift my head up high for not bowing to you and all your goons. Anyone that follows middle-eastern politics would know that if assad abandoned the resistance all the so called trouble in syria would go away. We syrians see through your lies and deceit and manipulation of twisting the truth. And ya libnan is just another media outlet working with you and your goons in hiding the truth. Allah is great and we will be the last ones standing inshallah.

    • 5thDrawer

      Wow .. another brainwashed idiot. Did anyone mention Allah in this news report?
        So you think it’s ok for all the maiming and killing and slavery to continue?  I’m sure we are happy to see what your held-high pea-brain thinks Allah wishes. Allah may be too, as you’ll meet him one day I’m sure.
      Now take your garbage thoughts elsewhere.

    • master09

      Palestine, palestine do you know the story of Palestine and the so called Palestinians.
      Read the true history and the facts of history.

       In 1948 the Arab refugees NOT Palestinians were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Sixty-eight percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier.

      The Arabs don,t give a shit about the so called Arabs you call Palestinians that came from Isreal, Jordan and Syria not just GAZA.
      Arafat was not even from Isreal he was from Egypt.
      The Palestinian flag never was until 1967, they just removed the star from the Jordan flag and walla.
      All this Palestinian cause is just an xcuse to try to destroy Isreal, nothing more nothing less.

      The Arabs lie to thier people more then the entire nations of the world put together. They keep them hungry and jobless with no freedom of speech.

      • tunnel vision and no ability to look in the mirror or  hear themselves , i sympathize with the palastinian people  and the horrible qulity of life they endure but i  put most of the blame and failures on their own leadership and especially  arafat, all things are negotiable and possible  but the moto with many  players was “we dont want peace” and you are correct many arabs used them without sincere will  to help them resolve  the problem

  • Anonymous

    thats right obama the syrian people determine thier future and the majority are with their president so mind your own business and dont interfere in our affairs.  We will be and forever will be with the resistance of palestine and lebanon and you meddling in our affairs wont change a thing. i congratulate assad and lift my head up high for not bowing to you and all your goons. Anyone that follows middle-eastern politics would know that if assad abandoned the resistance all the so called trouble in syria would go away. We syrians see through your lies and deceit and manipulation of twisting the truth. And ya libnan is just another media outlet working with you and your goons in hiding the truth. Allah is great and we will be the last ones standing inshallah.

    • Anonymous

      Wow .. another brainwashed idiot. Did anyone mention Allah in this news report?
        So you think it’s ok for all the maiming and killing and slavery to continue?  I’m sure we are happy to see what your held-high pea-brain thinks Allah wishes. Allah may be too, as you’ll meet him one day I’m sure.
      Now take your garbage thoughts elsewhere.

    • Anonymous

      Wow .. another brainwashed idiot. Did anyone mention Allah in this news report?
        So you think it’s ok for all the maiming and killing and slavery to continue?  I’m sure we are happy to see what your held-high pea-brain thinks Allah wishes. Allah may be too, as you’ll meet him one day I’m sure.
      Now take your garbage thoughts elsewhere.

    • Anonymous

      Palestine, palestine do you know the story of Palestine and the so called Palestinians.
      Read the true history and the facts of history.

       In 1948 the Arab refugees NOT Palestinians were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Sixty-eight percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier.

      The Arabs don,t give a shit about the so called Arabs you call Palestinians that came from Isreal, Jordan and Syria not just GAZA.
      Arafat was not even from Isreal he was from Egypt.
      The Palestinian flag never was until 1967, they just removed the star from the Jordan flag and walla.
      All this Palestinian cause is just an xcuse to try to destroy Isreal, nothing more nothing less.

      • tunnel vision and no ability to look in the mirror or  hear themselves , i sympathize with the palastinian people  and the horrible qulity of life they endure but i  put most of the blame and failures on their own leadership and especially  arafat, all things are negotiable and possible  but the moto with many  players was “we dont want peace” and you are correct many arabs used them without sincere will  to help them resolve  the problem