In response to continuing and escalating violence by the Syrian government on its own people, on Thursday US President Barack Obama issued an executive order creating additional stricter sanctions on the Syria and called for Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to immediately leave office.
As stated in a fact sheet released by the White House, the executive order adds to existing economic sanctions. It, “Blocks the property of the Syrian government, bans U.S. persons from new investments in or exporting services to Syria, and bans U.S. imports of, and other transactions or dealings in, Syrian-origin petroleum or petroleum products.”
Syria’s crackdown on its citizens who have been protesting for governmental reforms has resulted in the deaths of at least 1,800 Syrians and the imprisonment of countless others.
As a historic state sponsor of terrorism, Syria has been sanctioned numerous times in the past, including in 2004, 2006, 2008, and twice previously in the spring of 2011.
The President’s executive order took effect on August 18, 2011 at 12:01 am.
Announcing the sanctions Thursday morning in a press conference, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “The regime has answered [the Syrian people’s] demands with empty promises and horrific violence,” adding that it was time for Assad to “Get out of the way.”
Secretary Clinton also stated that the UN Security Council would soon meet this issue and that charges of crimes against humanity may be levied against Assad and his government.
Details of the executive order according to the White House release are as follows:
- All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of the Government of Syria are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in.
- All property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:
- to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or
- to be owned or controlled by, or to have acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
The following are prohibited:
- new investment in Syria by a United States person, wherever located;
- the exportation, reexportation, sale, or supply, directly or indirectly, from the United States, or by a United States person, wherever located, of any services to Syria;
- the importation into the United States of petroleum or petroleum products of Syrian origin;
- any transaction or dealing by a United States person, wherever located, including purchasing, selling, transporting, swapping, brokering, approving, financing, facilitating, or guaranteeing, in or related to petroleum or petroleum products of Syrian origin; and
- any approval, financing, facilitation, or guarantee by a United States person, wherever located, of a transaction by a foreign person where the transaction by that foreign person would be prohibited by this section if performed by a United States person or within the United States.
I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to section 1 of this order would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 and expanded in scope in Executive Order 13572, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this order.
The prohibitions in section 1 of this order include but are not limited to:
- the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; and
- the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
The prohibitions in sections 1 and 2 of this order apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective date of this order.
- Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
- Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
Nothing in sections 1 or 2 of this order shall prohibit transactions for the conduct of the official business of the Federal Government by employees, grantees, or contractors thereof.
For the purposes of this order:
- the term “person” means an individual or entity;
- the term “entity” means a partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization;
- the term “United States person” means any United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity organized under the laws of the United States or any jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign branches), or any person in the United States; and
- the term “Government of Syria” means the Government of the Syrian Arab Republic, its agencies, instrumentalities, and controlled entities.
For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 and expanded in scope in Executive Order 13572, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.
The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State, is hereby authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any of these functions to other officers and agencies of the United States Government consistent with applicable law. All agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry out the provisions of this order.
This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
This order is effective at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time on August 18, 2011.