Obama to Assad: It's Time to Move On
President Obama issued a
statement today that it is time for Syria's Bashar al-Assad to step aside, and allow the Syrian people to move forward without him. Beyond stating his disapproval of the treatment of the Syrian citizens, and his solidarity with their cause, Obama also stated that he has issued an Executive Order forbidding any form of commerce with the Assad regime. This includes halting all petroleum and petroleum product purchases from Syria by the U.S. and its citizens. While acknowledging that it will be a rough road ahead for Syrian protesters, U.S. officials are of the belief that the days of the Assad regime are numbered.
Since Obama has put an end to petroleum trade between the U.S. and Syria, at least one petition has been started asking that the European Union nations do the same. While there is some concern that Obama's actions now are simply a precursor to another war in the region, there is also the possibility that eventually economic sanctions will be enough to stop the Assad regime in its tracks.
But the reality on the ground for Syrians is pure chaos and fear. The video above is of protesters that had been arrested, and placed on a bus for transport to a detention facility. "With blood Soul sacrifice for Bashar," and "Allah, Syria, and Bashar only," are the chants that the soldiers are forcing their prisoners to say. Given the previous reports of severe abuse of prisoners by the Assad regime, the beatings that these people are receiving are only the beginning of what they will endure. Sadly, one could consider these people the lucky ones, since apparently the Assad regime has adopted a "shoot on sight" policy when it comes to protesters. At least the people on the bus have a chance of living, if they survive their incarceration. Seeing the protesters on that bus serves as a stark reminder of the human cost of attempting to remove Assad from leadership - something that gets lost too easily in the debates over what the rest of the world should do.Continued on the next page