May 11, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A bipartisan coalition of Senators introduced a resolution today strongly condemning the escalating crackdown in Syria, warning that President Bashar Al Assad has lost legitimacy and urging President Obama to ratchet up the pressure on his regime. The resolution, introduced by Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), is cosponsored by Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), John Barrasso (R-WY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Coons (D-DE), Mark Kirk (R-IL), John Hoeven (R-ND), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH).
The bipartisan resolution calls for the expansion of targeted U.S. sanctions against Syrian officials responsible for human rights abuses, including against President Assad personally, and for the Obama Administration to work at the United Nations Security Council to hold Syrian human rights abusers accountable. The resolution also expresses unambiguous support for the aspirations of the Syrian people, as they continue peaceful protests in the streets of cities and towns across their country despite a dramatically heightened campaign of barbaric violence against them by the Syrian regime, and urges President Obama to speak out directly and personally about the situation in Syria.
“At precisely the moment when the Assad regime is sharply escalating its brutal crackdown in an attempt to crush peaceful protesters, this resolution sends a strong bipartisan message that the United States – together with our international partners – needs to ratchet up our support for the Syrian people along with pressure against the Syrian government,” said Senator Joe Lieberman. “Bashar Al Assad’s legitimacy has run out, and it is time for us to align ourselves unambiguously with the aspirations of the Syrian people for a peaceful, democratic future.”
“This is a significant moment in the Middle East, and I believe America should be on the right side of the historic change that is sweeping across the region. In our words and actions, it should be clear that America is on the side of the Syrian people and that we support their right to peacefully pursue a better future for their country. We must also send an important message to the Syrian regime that we condemn its crimes and that Bashar al Assad should no longer be treated as the legitimate ruler of Syria,” said Senator Marco Rubio.
"Through its gross human rights violations and indiscriminate use of violence against peaceful Syrian demonstrators, the Assad regime has lost any legitimacy it once had to rule," said Senator John McCain. "There should be no illusions that this brutal government, which also has the blood of many U.S. soldiers and countless Iraqi civilians on its hands, will undertake the meaningful reforms that the Syrian people are demanding. The United States should welcome a peaceful change of regime in Syria and support the Syrian people in bringing it about. With this resolution, the Senate stands in solidarity with the Syrian people, and we urge the Administration to do more to aid their cause."
"It is my hope that the Senate will swiftly approve this resolution and the Obama administration will immediately implement its recommendations. The President must not doubt the moral imperative of supporting the Syrian people against their brutal regime. The President could also show his seriousness by recalling Ambassador Ford and shutting down Syria's Embassy to the United States," said Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl.
“This resolution states clearly that the United States will not stand by as the Syrian government expands its crackdown on opposition groups and protesters. It calls for expanded sanctions against those responsible for human rights abuses and global condemnation of the violent and brutal attacks on Syrian civilians. But most importantly it also says to the people of Syria that America stands with them and support their quest for freedom,” Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin said.
“This is an appropriate first step for the Congress to take in this matter,” said Senator Lindsey Graham. “The Syrian leadership is violating the basic human rights of its citizens and using brutal force to put down peaceful protests. There’s no doubt the Syrian leadership is on the wrong side of history. Our resolution acknowledges the sacrifices the Syrian people are making in trying to change their oppressive government. Now is the time for the Administration and Congress to stand with the Syrian people in their struggle.”
“By using violence against peaceful protestors, the Assad regime continues to show its true colors and its disdain for its own people,” said Senator John Cornyn. “Now is the time for the United States and other nations to stand up for the Syrian people and support their hunger for freedom and democratic aspirations.”
“I join my colleagues in calling for an increase in targeted sanctions against Libya’s leaders who are responsible for the continuing violent attacks on their own people. It is critically important that we send a strong message to President Assad and others around the world that their actions will not be tolerated,” said Senator Johnny Isakson. “It is my hope that President Obama will heed our call to hold Syria accountable.”
“The atrocities committed by Syria are deeply troubling and the time has come to broaden U.S. sanctions and hold President Assad accountable for his actions,” said Senator Robert Menendez, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “I hope we can pass this resolution to help our friends in the region usher in a future where their voices are heard, their rights are respected, and their aspirations are met.”
“Syria’s human-rights violations have been well documented for decades, but the recent actions taken by the government against its own citizens peacefully demonstrating are particularly egregious. We stand by the people of Syria and support their rights to be heard by their government,” said Senator Ben Cardin, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and co-chair of the U.S. Helsinki Commission.
"The Syrian government has unleashed devastating violence on its own people" said Senator Bob Casey. "We should stand in solidarity with the Syrian people during this dark period in the country's history and support their efforts to bring about democratic change."
“Americans believe in and support the fundamental principles of democracy and the ability of individuals to peacefully speak out against their government. We cannot continue to sit on the sidelines while millions of Syrians are being oppressed. The White House must take action to oppose the Syrian regime’s brutal violence against its own citizens and serious human rights violations,” said Senator John Barrasso.
“I am pleased to join my colleagues in condemning the unconscionable actions perpetrated against the Syrian people by the Assad regime. As President Assad continues a brutal crackdown against demonstrators in the streets, the United States and international community stand with the Syrian people and supports their calls for democracy. The violence must come to an end, and President Assad and other Syrian government officials must be held accountable for the deplorable abuse of human rights,” said Senator Chris Coons.
"The United States and our allies must condemn the Assad regime in the strongest possible terms for the continued murder of Syrian citizens struggling for their basic freedoms and human rights, Senator Mark Kirk said. “The Administration should immediately widen its sanctions to freeze the assets of and deny visas for Bashir al Assad, his family and senior officials and businessmen inside Syria's leadership circle.”
“Brave people in nations across the Middle East, and now Syria, are rising up to challenge the oppressive regimes that have hindered their progress and deprived them of the most fundamental human rights for decades,” said Senator John Hoeven. “With this bipartisan resolution, the U.S. Senate speaks with one voice to condemn the violence of the Assad government and to support the democratic aspirations of the people of Syria as they call peacefully for a brighter future for their country.”
"The Syrian people deserve a government that represents their interests and respects their human rights. I condemn in the strongest terms the Assad regime’s violence against the Syrian people," said Senator Kelly Ayotte.