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U.S. to Sanction Syria's Assad

1:23 PM, May 18, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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After hundreds of deaths of protesters at the hands of Bashar al-Assad's forces in Syria, the U.S. "will impose sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad for human rights abuses on Wednesday," Reuters reports. Although the report calls this a "dramatic escalation of US pressure on Damascus to cease its brutal crackdown on protesters," it must be noted that doing anything above what the U.S. was doing -- which was itself nothing -- is a "dramatic escalation of US pressure."

The details are just emerging, but it appears that Assad himself will be targeted, in an apparent attempt to save the Syrian people from the consequences of sanctions: 

Targeting Assad personally with sanctions, which the United States and the European Union have so far avoided, would be a significant new break with Damascus and raise questions about whether the West ultimately seeks his removal from power.

USA Today reports that, in addition to Assad, "six other government officials [will be sanctioned] because of violent crackdowns on pro-democracy protesters in that country."

This comes just a few days after Senators Marco Rubio and Joe Lieberman introduced a Senate resolution condemning the Syrian regime and urging the president to act appropriately.  

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