Libya Redux As US Escalates Syrian Showdown: Freezes Assets Of President Bashar al-Assad

Tyler Durden's picture

Just because the US (and Sarkozy-led NATO) has done such a bang up job with Libya, the Nobel prize winner has decided to take his humanitarian intervention to Syria (unwillingly one must admit: after all Syria barely has any oil, and the risk of an escalation that will involve Israel is rather profound) where the US has just announced it is imposing sanctions and freezing the assets of president Bashar al-Assad and 6 aides, demanding that Syria "cease its brutal crackdown on protesters." And as if the sudden assassination of bin Laden was not enough, it now appears that the US administration (for right or wrong reasons) is dead set on antagonizing the entire Muslim crescent once again. Lastly we wonder, just how much of the USD jump over the past several weeks is due to the repatriation of dollars by other 3rd world 'dictators' in preparation (and avoidance) of comparable asset freezes against one and all?

From Reuters:

Targeting Assad personally with sanctions, which the United States and European Union have so far avoided, is a significant slap at Damascus and raises questions about whether Washington and the West may ultimately seek Assad's removal from power.

Syrian activists say at least 700 civilians have been killed in two months of clashes between government forces and protesters seeking an end to his 11-year rule. The protests in Syria began after demonstrations toppled authoritarian leaders in Tunisia and Egypt.

The move, announced by the Treasury Department, freezes any assets of the Syrian officials that are in the United States or otherwise fall within U.S. jurisdiction and it generally bars U.S. individuals and companies from dealing with them.

In addition to Assad, the Treasury said the sanctions would target Vice President Farouq al-Shara, Prime Minister Adel Safar, Interior Minister Mohammad Ibrahim al-Shaar, Defense Minister Ali Habib as well as Abdul Fatah Qudsiya, the head of Syrian military intelligence, and Mohammed Dib Zaitoun, director of the political security directorate.

Of course, somehow we doubt the magnificent 7 had any assets, and most certainly any gold, left under American jurisdiction. We would bes surprised to say the least:

While it was not immediately clear what practical effect the sanctions would have or whether the seven had significant assets that would be captured by the U.S. move, the symbolic gesture was profound.

Well, the gesture may have been profound but it is indeed symbolic. What happens next when the response will be far more literal, is anybody's guess. But it's a good thing the Administration has gotten the hang of the margin hike strategy: even if nuclear war were to break out in the Middle East, a 100% cash collateral in Crude should guarantee that WTI never surpasses $9.95/barrel.

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101 years and counting's picture

Obama: the teleprompter told me to do it.

quintago's picture

Why leaders of these countries continue to keep assets in the West is beyond me.

Id fight Gandhi's picture

No kidding. Can't freeze a private vault full of metals. Dumb leaders if they have all their money in fiat. But I doubt it, they're likely sitting on a pile of metal.

Spirit Of Truth's picture

Are Mideast tinpot dictators really that foolish, or are the Western powers being fooled into a Russian-laid trap of some sort?

Moscow has sacrificed some major pieces on the global Real Politik chessboard over the last two decades, but I don't think they'll give away Syria. 


SilverRhino's picture

It's a distinct non-zero probability that this "freeze" was in response to that exact action.  

Hypothetical scenario:   President Assad attempts to liquidate and remove assets from Western Banking System; USA retaliates by immediately imposing sanctions and "freezing" assets for some bullshit reason.

Saxxon's picture

Why do they store assets here? Because until very, very recently, they were our allies.

These strongmen were the scabs holding down the infected pus in the MENA. so XOM, CVX and BP etc. could continue to do orderly business.

They were our friends until Hillary et al. saw they were going to get burned out of their offices; then they became our enemies.

TheTmfreak's picture

While this interventionist policy needs to end, freezing US assets I think is reasonable.

legal eagle's picture

You forget one thing, the rule of law.

How does the government legally determine someone else is a criminal, without a trial, and seize their assets, without a judgment?

The same way the gov't deems Gaddafi and others suitable for assassination.  

We are so used to the abuses of government we forget why the constitution was created to begin with - to limit the power of government.

Dr. Richard Head's picture

Doesn't CONgress have to vote on sanctions?  I mean, with Achhhhhhhadeeeeenajjjjjjjjlalalalalalalalaladad the CONgress had to vote on that right? 

Welcome to the US Dictatorship baby. It's out in the open now, but my McNuggets are cold and those fucks in the drivethrough gave me diet. I FUCKING ASKED FOR A COKE!!!!!!

TheTmfreak's picture

Now THIS is a reasonable argument.

Dr. Richard Head's picture

Well the way around this is that these are not "sanctions" per se.  These are known as Contingency Unilateral Neutering Transactions.  You know CUNT.

TheTmfreak's picture

Nothing spells freedom than acronyms that hide power grabs.

TheTmfreak's picture

Freezing assets doesn't necessarily mean calling someone criminal (depending on how your view of the role of government is). If we believe they're committing "crimes" allowing them to use their assets in the United States assists with that. This is standard practice and common sense since the creation of judicial systems. Its like somebody owning a gun. Possibly shooting somebody. The police suspect a person, bring them into the judicial system, whilst taking the gun as evidence, and preventing them from using it on another crime, until charges are cleared.

Edit: Yes, so long as we have a government, and a government to protect private properties, I think our government should not allow property in the US to assist government dictators overseas. Now mind you, that should be conducted through the judicial system, and if found "innocent" all property should be returned to its rightful owner.

Now, if you want to go full blown anarchist view (which I'll support) and say nobody should be able to remove the ownership of assets of another for any reason, let alone for a judicial situation, then so be it.

smlbizman's picture

you forget one very important point, we are the good guys and when you're the good guys " you don't need no stinking constitution...." right hamy?

legal eagle's picture

Yep, that is exactly what they told the Soviet Union population.  When in Russia, I asked folks what kept them from revolting under the Soviet Union and they said the gov't convinced them that everyone in the world hated Russians, and that father Stalin wanted them to stay safely at home.  Because, of course, they were the good guys.  I have seen some of the propoganda movies, look just like our Republican flag waving attack ads - have to paint the other guy as the bad guy, then even torture looks reasonable.

TheTmfreak's picture

Thats the part that kills me.

Republicans condoning the ends justify the means. What are they fucking democrats looking to steal wealth and give it to others for "social justice"?

As long as it suits their cause they're willing to justify it with its "end results." We got OBL so therefore everything we did in order to get him, MUST be justified. Really? We didn't make any mistakes getting to that end point?

ElvisDog's picture

My wife's family are monolithically liberal and they were monolithically jubiliant about the U.S. gunning down OBL without a whiff of due process. So, Republicans do not hold a monopoly on "the ends justify the means". I would argue that the Democrats are at least as much a War Party these days as the GOP.

TheTmfreak's picture

You should have pulled away from my post that Democrats overwhelmingly believe in the ends justify the means. Republicans like to claim they take the high ground on that issue, when they end up doing it too. Its very clear that democrats are on the same statist bandwagon as the major GOP individuals. Those tools are all the same.

Edit:That's why i don't see what every democrats problem was with George Bush. He increased federal powers and size in nearly every department and was a "compassionate conservative." (democrat) Once the Iraq was discovered to not have the items that the war was created on, they said that removing saddam made it right. (ends justify the means). They should immediately eat that up.

StychoKiller's picture

When the authorities can "seize" thousands of FRNs you happen to have on your person under suspicsion of being a Drug Dealer, the 4th Amendment is pretty much toast.

jus_lite_reading's picture



Oh regional Indian's picture

That little earthquake in Spain (unexpected, by most, but not all of us) was a bit of a tell.

Spain will make the EU hurt. it is after all 90% Pain.


Use of Weapons's picture

There's some (fairly) credible reports coming out of Greece that Greek police have resorted to that timeless tactic, paramilitary forces [in Greece's case, apparently supporting Neo-Nazi rioters against the anti-government protestors, however things are a bit dicey over there atm].

As soon as the black bag squads get the nod, or you're resorting to plain clothed rent-a-mobs, you've crossed from "protest" to "potential revolution".


+1 to a post somewhere around that commented that the Greeks might end up with neo-Sparta; this is def. Golden Dawn's aim.


Oh, and here's a great link:

Shows you where all the mass protests are in Spain, and where the next ones are due.

Id fight Gandhi's picture

Neo nazis? Really?

Name calling? When was the last time a neo nazi actually did any sort of crime aside from the "thought crimes?"

Use of Weapons's picture

Guess you didn't read the Golden Dawn article, or read the news.

A Bangladeshi immigrant was stabbed to death on the 11th/12th I think, by Golden Dawn members.


But yes; replace "neo-Nazi" with "Ultra right wing nationalist party who have history of violence and strong links to police".

Id fight Gandhi's picture

I've never met a neo nazi. So I'll wait to pass judgement.

smlbizman's picture

especially when those frozen funds can go to keeping us operating under the debt ceiling....

whats that timmy timmy? you found more change in the sofa



Robslob's picture

100% cash collateral in Crude should guarantee that gasoline will never surpasses $9.95/gal.


Trillax's picture

"How many tears
or How many broken hearts
Just how many sorrows
How much you'll take
In your life.."

I want that sunovabitch Chinaman to take back his "May you live in interesting times.." bullshit proverb.  I guess the other one from the same (supposed) source, "May you come to the attention of those in authority.." is also apropos.

EDIT: word order snafu

Confuchius's picture


You seem upset that your moral and intellectual superiors are in the process of burying you alive. Better get used to it.

gbresnahan's picture

I guess when you're broke you gotta steal money from wherever you can find it.

SDRII's picture

cough cough Russia

ryanseventyfive's picture

This Shi'ites Syriasly half-Assad

bonddude's picture

What do all of the Bathists here think of that ?


Oh regional Indian's picture

I hope everyone here is a Bathist at least once a day.


silberblick's picture

US also deep freezes "assets" of Dominque-Strauss Kahn, or was he framed?:


Id fight Gandhi's picture

Doesn't he have euros sewn into his clothes (when ihe wears them) to flee.

baseball13's picture

So is this the set up for war to get the people's minds off the soon-collapse of the fiat monetary system?

Bubbles...bubbles everywhere's picture

Unfuckingbelievable...I guess if I was Chavez, Morales, and half the African presidents I would be taking note and getting my assets out of the US...pronto!

SilverRhino's picture

It's a distinct non-zero probability that this "freeze" was in response to that exact action.  

Hypothetical scenario:   President Assad attempts to liquidate and remove assets from Western Banking System; USA retaliates by immediately imposing sanctions and "freezing" assets for some bullshit reason. 

Arkadaba's picture

Yeah but I thought Assad was a "friend"?

entendance's picture

Meanwhile, slowly slowly, we're getting rid of x-ray scanners...

israhole's picture

Israel snaps it's fingers, and America gets involved.

legal eagle's picture

Poor Isreal, surrounded by Shiate mad men, who want world domination with Shiate mad men at the helm.  Of course, the jews are the only sane ones in the middle east. 

Confuchius's picture

Legal Eagle;

And who, we might ask, decided to put them all in the middle of the hornet's nest. This is not going to turn out well for israelites.

Stoploss's picture

I have two cases of popcorn ready.

legal eagle's picture

That is less than one case per needless war.

jus_lite_reading's picture

Dont forget the butter... or I should say bud ahhhh. This is going to be a long show. Egypt. Syria. Whats next? Iran? In 3D!!