Arab League Imposes Sanctions on Syria over Violence

Photo Courtesy of UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferré

In what is being described as an unprecedented move, the Arab League decided to impose a number of sanctions on Syria over the authorities’ vicious crackdown on opponents of the regime. The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that the sanctions suspend governmental trade transactions between Arab central banks and the Central Bank of Syria, as well as other economic sanctions.

SANA reported that the steps also include preventing the travel of Syrian senior officials to Arab nations and the freezing of their assets.

Not surprisingly, the government-run SANA website critiqued the sanctions as harming the Syrian people. The moves come following the continuation of violence by the regime against its own citizens.

Thousands have been killed in the protests opposing the Bashar al-Assad dictatorship, which began earlier this year. The Assad regime has reportedly used its own military to crack down on the protests.

British Foreign Secretary praised the steps by the Arab League. In his twitter account William Hague said the League “has shown real leadership adopting unprecedented sanctions,” which he called a “signal of Arab opinion” the Syrian regime “cannot ignore.”

On the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth website, Hague was quoted as saying, “We welcome the Arab League’s leadership in seeking an end to the horrific violence in Syria. Today’s unprecedented decision to impose sanctions demonstrates that the regime’s repeated failure to deliver on its promises will not be ignored and that those who perpetrate these appalling abuses will be held to account. We will continue to support the Arab League’s efforts to restore peace to Syria.”

Hague also again called on the United Nations to increase their own response against Syria. Efforts to impose a stronger statement on the Syrian situation last month in the UN Security Council failed due to a joint Russia and China veto.

“The UN cannot remain silent on the ongoing brutality taking place in Syria,” said Hague. “To that end we welcome the commitment by the Arab League to engage with the UN Secretary General at the earliest opportunity to gain the UN’s support to address the situation in Syria.”

(By Staff,, November 27, 2011)