Getting Tough

U.S. Announces Syria Sanctions

The White House announced sanctions against three senior Syrian officials on Friday. The Treasury Department will freeze all assets under American jurisdiction of the three officials. One of the officials is President Bashar al-Assad’s brother, Maher al-Assad, who commands the Syrian Army division that has been leading the crackdown in Daraa. It is not clear how much impact the U.S. sanctions will have since Syrian officials tend to use European and Middle Eastern banks, but administration officials say that Arab banks might want to avoid angering the U.S. by continuing to do business with the Syrian regime. The U.S. also issued sanctions against the Quds Force of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which the U.S. said has been helping to supply the materials Syrian forces have used against protesters. The European Union is considering similar measures, but efforts to create a broad coalition to pressure Syria have faced difficulties. Just this week, Russia and China stopped efforts to have the United Nations Security Council condemn the violence.