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Monday, April 18, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Congress eyes sanctions on Syria, withdrawal
of ambassador

WASHINGTON — The House Foreign Relations Committee has been discussing the prospect of imposing U.S. sanctions on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.


The measures could also include the withdrawal of the U.S. ambassador to Damascus, Robert Ford, as part of a protest of Assad's use of live fire against protesters.

Committee chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has called on the administration of President Barack Obama to increase sanctions on the Assad regime. Over the last two years, the administration eased U.S. restrictions on Syria, including allowing the export of dual-use technology.

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Several members of the Senate leadership have also called on the administration to take measures against Assad. Sen. John Thune has called on the White House to withdraw Ford from Damascus.

In 2010, Obama sent Ford to Damascus without congressional approval. Unless Congress approves the nomination, Ford would have to leave Syria by the end of 2011.

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