Irrational Syria Hostility
The flow of foreign militants entering Iraq to fight for al Qaeda has fallen by half, General David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in Iraq, said on Monday.
Much of the fall in numbers was due to countries barring young men from flying to the Syrian cities of Damascus and Aleppo on one-way tickets, said Petraeus.
The U.S. government has long urged Syria to take steps to stop foreign fighters crossing its long land border with Iraq. Damascus says it has stepped up security on the frontier after the U.S. criticism.
"The flow of fighters is down, we think by about 50 percent," Petraeus told Reuters in an interview.
"It’s a result not just of Syrian activity, although there has been some. It’s the result of source countries making it tougher to fly as a military age male," he added.
Via Brian Beutler, Thursday:
I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, find that the Government of Syria continues to engage in certain conduct that formed the basis for the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 of May 11, 2004, including but not limited to undermining efforts with respect to the stabilization of Iraq. I further find that the conduct of certain members of the Government of Syria and other persons contributing to public corruption related to Syria, including by misusing Syrian public assets or by misusing public authority, entrenches and enriches the Government of Syria and its supporters and thereby enables the Government of Syria to continue to engage in certain conduct that formed the basis for the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338. In light of these findings, and to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13338 of May 11, 2004, I hereby order:
Section 1. (a) Except to the extent provided in section 203(b)(1), (3), and (4) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(1), (3) and (4)), the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000 (title IX, Public Law 106 387), or regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective date of this order, all property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in: persons determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, after consultation with the Secretary of State, to be responsible for, to have engaged in, to have facilitated, or to have secured improper advantage as a result of, public corruption by senior officials within the Government of Syria.