News / USA

White House Steps Up Pressure on Syrian Government

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (file photo)

The United States is stepping up pressure on the Syrian government to end its violent response to protesters.  The White House for the first time said Monday that targeted sanctions are among a range of options the president is considering.

During the past month, the White House has issued five statements about violence in Syria, either directly from President Barack Obama or through his press secretary or the National Security Council, or NSC.

The latest came on Monday in an email from NSC Spokesman Tommy Vietor. He called the violence by the Syrian government against its people "completely deplorable" and said the United States is pursuing a range of possible policy options.

Vietor said steps might include targeted sanctions to "make clear that this behavior is unacceptable."  He added that "the Syrian people’s call for freedom of expression, association, peaceful assembly, and the ability to freely choose their leaders must be heard."

At a White House news briefing, Press Secretary Jay Carney referred to President Obama's statement last Friday in which he demanded that "outrageous" violence by Syria's government against protesters come to an end.

In last week's statement, Mr. Obama called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to "heed the calls of his own people," but he did not say the Syrian leader should step down.  He accused Mr. Assad of "blaming outsiders while seeking Iranian assistance" in repressing Syria's citizens.

On possible new sanctions, Press Secretary Carney declined to give specifics, noting that the United States has had what, he called, a "fairly aggressive" regime of sanctions in place against Syria.  U.S. sanctions are being applied under the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act of 2004.  Syria is also on the U.S. list of "state sponsors of terrorism."

Initial U.S. and international steps on Libya included financial sanctions targeting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and officials around him.   Carney had this response when asked whether additional sanctions against Syria might mirror those imposed on Libya:

"We are certainly looking at different ways to make clear to the Syrian government how appalling we find this behavior to be, and to encourage them - both as we have in speaking out against it, but in other means - to stop the violence and to move towards serious reform," he said.

Despite the strong condemnation of Syrian government actions last week, President Obama has not suggested that President Assad has lost the confidence of his people, as Mr. Obama did in the case of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Mr. Obama's spokesman told reporters on Monday it is up to the Syrian people to decide who their leader should be.  Jay Carney also repeated the response the Obama administration has given in each situation of Mideast and North African unrest, that "each country is different."

Carney avoided a direct answer to a question about consultations the United States is having with European countries regarding Syrian sanctions.  What the United States can do now, he said, is express its views very clearly, and review possible unilateral actions it can take to respond to the situation.

Related video report by Chris Simkins:

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid