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Posted: 1/18/2006 2:10:56 PM EDT

news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20060118/pl_afp/usattackssyrialebanon_060118192711


Wed Jan 18, 2:43 PM ET



WASHINGTON (AFP) - The White House on Wednesday for the first time named a Syrian official as having "directly contributed" to support for the insurgency in Iraq, as the United States moved to freeze his assets.



The charge came after the US Treasury Department slapped the financial sanctions on the official, Syrian military spy chief Asset Shawkat, the brother-in-law of President Bashar al-Assad.

"Mr. Shawkat, as Syria's chief of military intelligence, has directly contributed to Syria's support for terrorism, including the insurgency in Iraq, Palestinian terrorist groups given shelter in Damascus, and Hezbollah and other terrorist groups in Lebanon," said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

Shawkat "has also been deeply involved in Syria's ongoing interference" in Lebanon, he added. "Today's action is a significant signal that those, like Mr. Shawkat, who support Syrian terrorism will be held to account."

Two US officials said that, while Washington has repeatedly accused Damascus of siding with insurgents targeting Iraqi and US troops in Iraq, it was the first time it had tied a Syrian official directly and by name to the violence.

Earlier, the Treasury Department placed Shawkat on a list of "specially designated nationals" under a presidential anti-terrorism order, freezing any US assets he holds and barring US citizens from transactions with him.

Stuart Levey, the Treasury's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the director of the powerful Syrian Military Intelligence (SMI) agency had been "a key architect of Syria's domination of Lebanon."

Shawkat was also "a fundamental contributor to Syria's long-standing policy to foment terrorism against Israel," Levey said in a statement.

In addition, Levey said, Shawkat "has access to the highest levels of the Syrian power structure" by virtue of his marriage to Bushra al-Assad, the president's sister.

Shawkat is a close confidant of Assad and an important member of his inner circle of advisors, the Treasury said.

The action comes after the Treasury in June blacklisted Syria's Interior Minister Ghazi Kanaan and Rustum Ghazali, its former spymaster for Lebanon, under the same anti-terrorism order.



Link Posted: 1/18/2006 2:13:00 PM EDT

I am shocked!

Shocked that Syria would have anything to do with terrorists.


Link Posted: 1/18/2006 2:14:55 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 2:14:58 PM EDT

Originally Posted By The_Macallan:
I am shocked!

Shocked that Syria would have anything to do with terrorists.





Well, I'm right behind you. I'm double dog shocked!
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 2:16:16 PM EDT
Its what everyone knew, but no official slap down until now. Finally official
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 2:34:19 PM EDT
Gee, I'm so frikkin' surprised. Syria is long overdue for its RDX enema.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 2:39:53 PM EDT
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 2:40:38 PM EDT
I'm pretty sure that's what most everyone here already knew.
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 4:28:24 PM EDT
The Syrians are our enemies? Naaawwwww..... Say it ain't so!
Link Posted: 1/18/2006 4:32:58 PM EDT
OK, so we know they are being a PITA so what are we going to do about it? NOTHING!
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