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Obama Calls On Syria's Assad To Step Down

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After waffling on the subject of Bashar Nassad's crackdown on dissidents, President Obama this morning called on the Syrian president to step down.

"The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people.  We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way.  He has not led.  For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside," Obama said in his statement.

The commander-in-chief has also ordered financial sanctions against Syria: "I have signed a new Executive Order requiring the immediate freeze of all assets of the Government of Syria subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting U.S. persons from engaging in any transaction involving the Government of Syria."

Obama was sure to note, however, that his executive order and statement should no indicate that the United States government plans on playing a role in Syria's transition: "The United States cannot and will not impose this transition upon Syria. It is up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders, and we have heard their strong desire that there not be foreign intervention in their movement."

European leaders from France, Germany and the United Kingdom are also calling for Assad to resign.

Read Obama's entire statement, AFTER THE JUMP...

The United States has been inspired by the Syrian peoples’ pursuit of a peaceful transition to democracy. They have braved ferocious brutality at the hands of their government. They have spoken with their peaceful marches, their silent shaming of the Syrian regime, and their courageous persistence in the face of brutality – day after day, week after week. The Syrian government has responded with a sustained onslaught. I strongly condemn this brutality, including the disgraceful attacks on Syrian civilians in cities like Hama and Deir al Zour, and the arrests of opposition figures who have been denied justice and subjected to torture at the hands of the regime. These violations of the universal rights of the Syrian people have revealed to Syria, the region, and the world the Assad government’s flagrant disrespect for the dignity of the Syrian people.

 

The United States opposes the use of violence against peaceful protesters in Syria, and we support the universal rights of the Syrian people. We have imposed sanctions on President Assad and his government.  The European Union has imposed sanctions as well.  We helped lead an effort at the UN Security Council to condemn Syria’s actions. We have coordinated closely with allies and partners from the region and around the world. The Assad government has now been condemned by countries in all parts of the globe, and can look only to Iran for support for its brutal and unjust crackdown.

 

The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people.  We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way.  He has not led.  For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.

 

The United States cannot and will not impose this transition upon Syria. It is up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders, and we have heard their strong desire that there not be foreign intervention in their movement. What the United States will support is an effort to bring about a Syria that is democratic, just, and inclusive for all Syrians. We will support this outcome by pressuring President Assad to get out of the way of this transition, and standing up for the universal rights of the Syrian people along with others in the international community.

 

As a part of that effort, my Administration is announcing unprecedented sanctions to deepen the financial isolation of the Assad regime and further disrupt its ability to finance a campaign of violence against the Syrian people.  I have signed a new Executive Order requiring the immediate freeze of all assets of the Government of Syria subject to U.S. jurisdiction and prohibiting U.S. persons from engaging in any transaction involving the Government of Syria.  This E.O. also bans U.S. imports of Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products; prohibits U.S. persons from having any dealings in or related to Syria’s petroleum or petroleum products; and prohibits U.S. persons from operating or investing in Syria. We expect today’s actions to be amplified by others. 

 

We recognize that it will take time for the Syrian people to achieve the justice they deserve. There will be more struggle and sacrifice. It is clear that President Assad believes that he can silence the voices of his people by resorting to the repressive tactics of the past. But he is wrong. As we have learned these last several months, sometimes the way things have been is not the way that they will be. It is time for the Syrian people to determine their own destiny, and we will continue to stand firmly on their side.

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Comments

  1. Assad won't resign; he would fight to the death like Gadhafi if it comes to that.

    By the way, Syria is a great place to get laid--I got lucky several times with really young guys in a visit of just 3 weeks duration in '08.

    Same thing happened to me in Egypt in '91.

    Arab guys are among the horniest in the world and, contrary to what you would believe from Western media reports, sex among men is quite widespread throughout the Arab world.

    Posted by: Rick | Aug 18, 2011 12:23:09 PM


  2. Rick Perry has a PORN problem

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/18/1008220/-Rick-Perry-Has-A-BIG-PORN-Problem!

    turns out he has been making $ from a porn distributing company

    LOL

    Posted by: say what | Aug 18, 2011 12:27:07 PM


  3. Assad is disgusting. I don't know what it will take for an uprising there to be successful, the regime is ruthless. I guess power is more addictive than money otherwise Assad, Gadhafi et all could easily just take a few billion and go into exile.

    Posted by: Derek Pearce | Aug 18, 2011 1:02:30 PM


  4. SAY WHAT, I hope it's true, but we don't need to know this until October 2012.


    RICK,

    I'm sure the Egyptians and the Syrians were super masculine (that's how you like 'em, aint it?) But I'm glad they were gentle with you. Wouldn't want to go a Syrian hospital with a busted booty.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Aug 18, 2011 1:08:34 PM


  5. "Waffling"? Care to present some pro-Assad or pro-violence-against-civilians statements from Obama to explain that term?

    Posted by: BobN | Aug 18, 2011 1:36:24 PM


  6. Officially, Assad was a "partner in the war against terrorism" as a holdover from the Bush era, so this is a big change in policy, but in practice it won't mean much. One reason we can say this now is that Saudi Arabia came out against Assad last week. Apparently we agreed at some point to cooperate with them on this issue.

    Posted by: anon | Aug 18, 2011 1:56:03 PM


  7. I would hardly call prudently monitoring a fluid situation "waffling".

    Posted by: prophet | Aug 18, 2011 3:31:59 PM


  8. Syria is not a nation, just several nations that wanted independence. When the French wanted to create these states (Alawis, Druze, Christians, etc.) the British said "eh, just stick them into the same one." If it stays together without a strong man, it will probably turn into another Sunni theocracy (like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Pakistan).

    Posted by: shadow | Aug 18, 2011 5:54:24 PM


  9. Here's hoping the Islamist theocrats don't take over when Assad goes.

    Posted by: Artie Rimbaud | Aug 18, 2011 9:30:34 PM


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