Home inContext Obama Renews Syrian Sanctions

Obama Renews Syrian Sanctions

Michael Sharnoff

The White House last week extended economic sanctions against Syria via Executive Order 13338 for another year. Issued by President George W. Bush in May 2004 to punish Damascus for its support of terrorist groups, interference in Lebanon, weapons of mass destruction program, and support for the Iraqi insurgency, 13338 bars U.S. exports to Syria except food and medicine and freezes the assets of certain Syrians and government entities.
Although Obama has broken strides with Bush policy by sending several official delegations to Damascus, the President has rejected Syrian demands to negotiate with their terrorist proxies Hamas and Hezbollah and fingers Damascus for supporting terrorism, seeking weapons of mass destruction, and destabilizing Iraq.
Washington first designated Syria as a state sponsor of terror in 1979. Through Executive Order 13338, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has sanctioned 20 individuals in Syria, including Assef Shawkat, Director of Syrian Military Intelligence and Ghazi Kanaan, Syria’s former Minister of Interior. To see the full list, click here.