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Syria’s shop of horrors (ISRAEL HAYOM OP-ED) Elliott Abrams 03/25/12)Source: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1621 Israel Hayom Israel Hayom Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
There is something pathetic about the new sanctions the EU adopted against Syria on Friday. Here is what was done, as explained by the Telegraph of London last week:

The four women closest to President [Bashar al-]Assad were added to the European Union’s sanctions list at a meeting of Europe’s foreign ministers today [Friday]. The Syrian leader’s wife, mother, sister and sister-in-law will be added to the travel ban and asset freeze blacklist as the EU steps pressure on Assad’s inner circle and family. The inclusion of Asma al-Assad follows the leak of emails detailing her shopping sprees. William Hague, the Foreign Secretary said: “Their behavior continues to be murdering and totally unacceptable in the eyes of the world.”

Hague is right that the regime continues to murder, as artillery and tanks are used indiscriminately against cities. Also on Friday, The Associated Press reported this: “International condemnation of Assad’s regime and high-level diplomacy have failed to ease the year- old Syria conflict, which the U.N. says has killed more than 8,000 people.”

That’s quite right; diplomacy has failed to “ease” the conflict. So will stopping Asma’s shopping in London and Paris. Such actions are symbolic, one might say, but appear to be symbols not of Western and international determination but of the lack of it. For such moves do not deter or prevent more murders today and tomorrow, nor do they help Syria’s people defend themselves.

Sooner or later — and one must hope that it’s sooner — we will move beyond speeches and resolutions, and give genuinely useful aid to Syrians who are fighting the regime. “Syrian Rebels Running Out Of Ammunition,” the Washington Post reported Friday. Stopping the shopping won’t remedy that.


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