Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The Historic Victory Plate being marketed by the American Historic Society contains, among other things, a picture of President Obama with the words "Change Has Come" written over the bottom part. If a report coming out of Damascus is true, change has indeed come in U.S. relations with Syria. Under former president George W. Bush, the U.S. imposed a variety of sanctions on Syria to punish a government the U.S. accused of allowing foreign fighters to cross into Iraq and of supporting militant groups in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. One measure banned U.S. exports to Syria except for food and medicine.
However, Sunday's Washington Post reported Syria's ambassador to Washington, Imad Mustafa, as saying that the U.S. Treasury Department "has authorized the transfer of $500,000 to a Syrian charity." The Post reports Ambassador Mustafa as saying that the money -- being donated to the Children with Cancer Support Association -- was raised by Syrians living in the United States.
This could be a sign that the U.S. is easing some of its sanctions against Syria -- or at the very least, Syrian charitable organizations would be exempt from some of the U.S. sanctions.