White House slaps sanctions on Syria’s intelligence agency and two relatives of Assad in first concrete steps against Syria violence, in which at least 500 have been killed.
Ed note–again, the hypocrisy on the part of the US is staggering. Where is this “outrage” on the part of the US whenever Israel is engaged in one of her ritual bloodlettings of innocent civilians in Gaza or elsewhere? The US (or any other western country for that matter) lecturing anyone on oppression is like porn king Larry Flynt teaching a seminary class on the value of chastity.
The White House called Friday for Syrian President Bashar Assad to “change course now,” saying his government’s violent crackdown on its people warrants a strong international response.
“In addition to actions that we are taking, the United States believes that Syria’s deplorable actions toward its people warrant a strong international response,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
|A Syrian protester beats a poster of Syrian President Bashar Assad with a shoe, as he attends protest against the ongoing violence in Syria, April 27, 2011.|
|Photo by: AP|
Carney welcomed the decision by the United Nations Human Rights Council to condemn Syria for its crackdown.
Separately, ambassadors from European Union nations discussed a package of possible economic sanctions which could be imposed on Syria to protest its violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.
The U.S on Friday slapped sanctions on Syria’s intelligence agency and two relatives of Assad in Washington’s first concrete steps in response to a bloody crackdown on protests.
Assad, Syria’s long-serving ruler, was not among those targeted under an order signed by President Barack Obama but could be named soon if violence by government forces against democracy protesters continued, a senior U.S. official said.
“The sanctions that were announced today are intended to show the Syrian government that its behavior and actions are going to be held to account,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters after a meeting with Japan’s visiting
Sanctions for alleged human rights abuses were imposed against Maher al-Assad, Bashar’s brother, and Atif Najib, one of his cousins, together with Syria’s General Intelligence Directorate and its chief.
Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard was also targeted, accused of helping Syria’s crackdown.
The action, details of which were first reported by Reuters, marks a more assertive approach by Washington, which has been criticized by human rights groups for not doing more to curb Assad’s efforts to crush an uprising against his autocratic 11-year rule.
But another U.S. official said the White House is “not ready” to call on Assad to step down — as it has done with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi — because Obama and his aides “do not want to get out in front of the Syrian people.”
The White House said in a statement: “We call on President Assad to change course now, and heed the calls of his own people.”
The sanctions, which include asset freezes and bans on U.S. business dealings for those on the list, build on broader U.S. measures against Syria in place since 2004.
In his executive order, Obama said the Syrian government had committed “human rights abuses, including those related to the repression of the people in Syria, manifested most recently by the use of violence and torture.
A U.S. official said the new sanctions were meant to show that no member of the Syrian leadership was “immune” from being held accountable. “Bashar is very much on our radar and if this continues could be soon to follow,” the official said.
“It puts Syria’s leaders on notice that decisions to kill unarmed civilians have consequences,” said Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry.
A Syrian rights group said at least 500 civilians had been killed since the unrest broke out in Deraa on March 18. Authorities dispute the death toll, saying 78 security forces and 70 civilians died in violence they blame on armed groups.