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SYRIA: Assad regime denounces sanctions, says they serve Israel

May 19, 2011 |  5:37 am

Assad460 A day after the Obama administration tried to tighten the screws on Syria by announcing new sanctions directly targeting President Bashar Assad and his top aides amid a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, regime mouthpieces came out swinging,  insisting the penalties are part of some imperialist American plot to dominate the Middle East and serve Israel's interests.

"The U.S. measures are part of a series of sanctions imposed by successive U.S. administrations against the Syrian people as part of a regional scheme, aimed primarily at serving Israel's interests," the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported on Thursday (link in Arabic), quoting an unnamed official source. 

"Any aggression against Syria is akin to US support for Israeli aggressions against Syria and the Arabs," added the report. 

Syria's government-controlled Watan newspaper depicted the sanctions as part of a vast conspiracy targeting Syria for its relations with Iran and Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah,among other groups.

A piece published in the newspaper on Thursday said the sanctions were aimed at trying to pressure Syria into cutting ties with the Islamic Republic, Hezbollah, and Palestinian Hamas.

"The United States and its allies are wasting no time in putting pressure on Syria to force it to change its regional policies," it read, according to a report compiled by Now Lebanon. "What is happening in Syria is part of a U.S. plan aimed at weakening Syria and cutting off its alliance with the resistance," a reference to the bloc consisting of Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.

Obama is scheduled to deliver a major speech Thursday addressing the political changes across the Arab world.
--Alexandra Sandels in Beirut
Photo: Syrian president Bashar Assad. Credit: Associated Press 
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