May 16, 2004

Syrian Sanctions

The underreported story of the week has to be Bush's Executive Order declaring sanctions on Syria. The Assad regime has not responded appropriately to the carrot, and so the President will now try the stick. Not only has Syria refused to help prevent fighters from crossing the Iraq border to join the fight against American troops, they have also continued to fund and support Palestinian terror groups. Here's an excerpt from an article at Front Page Magazine

Despite a promise by Assad to U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, to close the offices of terrorist organizations in Damascus, CIA director George Tenet told the Senate Intelligence Committee that “There are matters about the continuing harboring of Palestinian rejectionist groups, whose public relations outfits may have been shut down, but the operations haven’t been shut down[5].” The CIA has determined that Syria has maintained the operational arms of Islamic terrorist groups in Damascus. Officials claim that much of the funding for attacks by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah either stemmed from or were transferred through Syria.

And here's part of Wretchard's take on the new policy toward Syria:

The imposition of US sanctions on Syria is both an acknowledgement of its role in attacking US forces in Iraq and an admission that the US is not willing to confront Damascus militarily -- yet. The Executive Order, whose full text has not been prominently carried by many newspapers, is extraordinarily accusatory. The effects of the sanctions, as observers have pointed out, are mostly symbolic and are of a piece with other holding actions on the Sunni front.

Posted by dan at May 16, 2004 11:45 PM