With the White House ratcheting up its rhetoric against Bashar Assad for his government's violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, the State Department Monday suggested again that sanctions are the administration's choice to force the Syrian regime aside. Reports surfaced last week that President Obama would call directly on Assad to step down but thus far, the president has not.
A State Department official said Monday that its position on Syria remains the same and that putting pressure on the Assad regime, and encouraging other nations to do the same, is the preferred U.S. action. But the official admits other nations continue to trade with Syria and that "such measures take time to work..."
As to comparisons between Syria and Libya, where the U.S. helped lead a military operation against Muammar Qadaffi's regime for a similar crackdown, the State Department says the situations are different and don't compare.