The Obama administration has announced new sanctions on those who provide Syria and Iran with technologies of repression:
“On Monday, he (President Obama) announced an executive order that allows U.S. officials for the first time to impose sanctions on foreign nationals found to have used new technologies, including cellphone tracking and Internet monitoring, to help carry out grave human rights abuses.
“The order specifically targets companies and individuals aiding the Iranian and Syrian governments, but administration officials say it could be expanded to include other countries using technology to crack down on dissent.
“Under the order, the administration announced new sanctions, including a U.S. visa ban and financial restrictions, against Syrian and Iranian agencies and individuals. Those include the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate, the Syriatel phone company and Ali Mamluk, the director of Syria’s general intelligence services.
“In Iran, the sanctions target the elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, the law enforcement forces and Datak Telecom.”
The logical next Middle Eastern country to be targeted by such sanctions is Bahrain, and in fact its absence from this initial wave is already conspicuous. However, I’m not holding my breath, and will be pleasantly surprised if it happens.
(Crossposted to my blog)