In a high-profile speech today at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, President Obama highlighted new efforts to “prevent and respond to mass atrocities,” including a new Executive Order imposing sanctions against Syrian and Iranian officials for their use of information technologies to track and violently suppress political dissidents. But while the President’s announcement of new human rights sanctions against Syria is a welcome development, it falls far short of the decisive action that is needed to bring an end not only to the Assad regime’s escalating use of indiscriminate violence against Syrian civilians—but to the Assad regime itself.
Since the anti-regime protests in Syria began in March 2011, Syrian security forces have killed well over 10,000 civilians, and wounded and imprisoned many tens of thousands more. News outlets report that the Assad regime killed at least 18 people today in the city of Hama, in addition to the many dozens more slain since a United Nations-backed ceasefire in Syria began on April 12, 2012. Indeed, Nobel Prize-winner Elie Wiesel, a Holocaust survivor, pointedly asked during his introduction of President Obama: “So in this place we may ask: Have we learned anything from [the West's failure to stop the Holocaust]? If so, how is it that Assad is still in power?”
The United States has both a strategic and moral interest in halting the mass atrocities against the Syrian people, and in facilitating the emergence of a post-Assad Syria. U.S. national security interests would be advanced by an end to the Assad regime—a government that is Iran’s closest ally in the Arab world, secretly pursued a nuclear program with weapons-making potential, and provided safe haven and transit to foreign fighters that killed U.S. troops in Iraq.
Whole thing here.