US President Barack Obama has renewed US sanctions against Syria for another year, calling Israel's northeastern neighbor a threat to the United States.
In a letter to Congress on Tuesday, President Obama accused Syria of supporting international terror, saying it "pose[s] a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States."
This comes in juxtaposition to last month's announcement by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the White House seeks more amicable relations with the country. Israel's accusation that Syria provides weaponry to Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon – which Syria denies – put a damper on that détente.
However, this is the 30th year in a row Syria has made the sanction list, never having been removed from it in the list's history. President Jimmy Carter was the first to place Syria under sanction.
A scathing report by James H. Anderson in the Washington Post hashed out the wide array of terrorist organizations and acts Syria sponsors, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the tyrannical regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It also distinguished Syria as the only country which has been sanctioned by the United States for state-sponsored terrorism for 30 consecutive years.
In response to the sanctions, Syria's government-owned Al-Thawra newspaper condemned the move, with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faysal Mekdad saying Obama's government has thereby "lost its credibility".
On Tuesday, the pro-Israel advocacy group American Jewish Committee (AJC) issued a press release applauding President Obama's decision, saying Syria may "gravely undermine an already fragile situation in the Middle East."