[Marxism] Syria imposing sanctions on US in assertion of dignity

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Jun 20 21:12:21 MDT 2004


Syria preparing sanctions against United States
Saturday, June 19, 2004 Posted: 6:51 PM EDT (2251 GMT)



DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- Syria is preparing a law that would prohibit
trade dealings with the United States in response to U.S. sanctions
imposed on the Arab country last month, Syrian legislators said
Saturday.

More than 130 members of the 250-seat legislature have prepared a draft
of the "America Accountability Act" that would impose "strict sanctions"
on American interests in Syria.

In a statement faxed to The Associated Press in Damascus, parliament
officials said the draft law is a response to "Washington's policy in
the region and its unlimited support and bias for Israeli policies and
practices and to the Syria Accountability Act."

The Syria Accountability Act is a U.S. law passed last year that calls
for sanctions against Syria for its alleged support of terrorism. Syria
denies the U.S. claims and says the sanctions are political.

Muhammad Habash, a lawmaker with moderate Islamic affiliations who is
one of the campaigners for the draft law, said the law was meant to
maintain the dignity of Syrians.

"We are not simple-minded to the degree that we imagine we can affect
the great American economy," he said. "But we are able to maintain our
dignity and slap the Americans so they know that if they continue with
their arrogant policies, people everywhere around the globe will spit at
them."
In May, President Bush banned all U.S. exports to Syria except for food
and medicine, and banned Syrian flights to and from the United States
after long-standing complaints that Syria was supporting terrorism and
undermining U.S. efforts in Iraq.

The sanctions were based on the Syria Accountability Act.

The parliament statement said lawmakers would submit the draft law for a
vote June 27 during a Parliament session in which Foreign Minister
Farouk al-Shara will explain the Syrian government's rationale for
imposing the sanctions. The statement said the law was expected to pass
overwhelmingly.

It would have to be ratified by President Bashar Assad before becoming
law.

The statement did not give details on the nature of the sanctions Syria
will impose.

Lawmaker Suleiman Haddad said the sanctions may be in the form of
boycotting American goods but would not be a complete boycott of the
United States, though he said some members of parliament supported that
option.

"We in Syria believe that there is still a thread between us and
America," Haddad said in a telephone interview Saturday. He said the
sanctions would not impose restrictions on U.S. companies working in his
country.

Trade between the United States and Syria amounts to $300 million a
year. Several U.S. companies operate in Syria, which in the last year
has signed oil-exploration deals with American companies worth a total
of $34 million.

The U.S. sanctions imposed under the Syria Accountability Act also
authorize the Treasury Department to freeze the assets of Syrian
nationals and entities involved in terrorism. They also restrict
relations between U.S. banks and the Syrian national banks.




Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. 





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