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Saturday, December 03, 2011

Royal Dutch Shell pulls out of Syria

Shavua tov v'Chodesh tov, a good week and a good month to everyone.

Responding to the imposition of sanctions by the European Union, oil giant Royal Dutch Shell announced on Friday that it is suspending all operations in Syria.
Royal Dutch Shell said it would shutting down in Syria to heed a batch of EU sanctions slapped on Syria's economically vital oil and financial sectors the day before.

A Shell spokesman said: "Our main priority is the safety of our employees ... We hope the situation improves quickly for all Syrians."

The EU on Friday extended sanctions to three Syrian oil concerns, including the state-owned General Petroleum Corporation (GPC) and Syria Trading Oil (Sytrol), to crank up the financial pressure on the Assad government.

The three oil concerns were among 11 entities and 12 Syrian leadership figures added to an EU blacklist now aimed in part at bringing the Syrian ventures of oil giants to a halt. Royal Dutch Shell was the first to bow out.
And where's the US on Syria? This isn't just leading from behind - it's outright embarrassing.
US Vice-President Joe Biden, on a visit to Ankara, praised Turkey for being "a real leader" on the Syrian crisis.

"We also welcome the government's giving space in Turkey to the political opposition," he told Hurriyet newspaper. "The United States' position on Syria is clear. The Syrian regime must end its brutality against its own people and President Assad must step down so a peaceful transition that respects the will of the people can take place," Biden said.

SANA said Syria had suspended a free trade zone pact with Turkey in retaliation for Ankara's actions. Turkey, formerly a staunch ally of Assad, has also suspended financial credit dealings with Syria and frozen Syrian government assets, joining the Arab and Western campaign to isolate Assad.
Like in Egypt, no one is planning for the day after Assad. They're just trying to get Assad out. If Assad leaves now, guess who takes over.

What could go wrong?

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