Obama Administration To Call On Assad To Go
It’s taken the Obama Administration more time than I’d care to have seen to get to this point, but it’s the right call. Assad’s got to go, and the Administration is set to make that pronouncement:
The White House is expected to lay out the tougher line by the end of this week, possibly on Thursday, according to officials who said the move will be a direct response to Assad’s decision to step up the ruthlessness of the crackdown against pro-reform demonstrators by sending tanks into opposition hotbeds. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal administration deliberations.
President Barack Obama and other top U.S. officials previously had said Assad has “lost legitimacy” as a leader and that he either had to spearhead a transition to democracy or get out of the way. They had not specifically demanded that he step down. The new formulation will make it clear that Assad can no longer be a credible reformist and should leave power, the officials said.
At the same time, the Treasury Department is expected to expand sanctions against Assad and his inner circle, adding several new companies to a financial blacklist that will freeze any assets they have in U.S. jurisdictions and ban Americans from doing business with them, the officials said. They would not identify the firms to be targeted.