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Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Topic - David S. Cohen
Democrats appeared eager Wednesday to poke holes in the seriousness of President Obama's vow to deter Iran from developing a nuclear warhead, raising tough questions about whether the White House is squeezing hard enough on sanctions against the Islamic Republic's economy.
A Greek shipping industry magnate used a host of front companies and a fleet of crude-oil tankers flying Panamanian and Liberian flags to help Iran evade international oil sanctions, U.S. officials said Thursday.
Syrian rebels including Islamic extremists took full control of a sprawling military base Tuesday after a bloody two-day battle that killed 35 soldiers, activists said. It was the latest gain by opposition forces bolstered by an al Qaeda-linked group that has provided skilled fighters but raised concerns in the West.
The violent street gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, was designated Thursday by the Treasury Department as a transnational criminal organization, meaning the government can freeze its U.S. assets, seize its property or interests in this country, and make it illegal for anyone in the U.S. to do business with the gang.
The Obama administration set new, largely symbolic, sanctions Friday on Syria's state-run oil company and the Hezbollah militant group, moves designed to underscore Iran's key role in propping up the Syrian regime over the span of its civil war.
The Obama administration is going where no White House has gone before: directly accusing Iran of supporting al Qaeda. This long overdue move to get tough on Tehran deserves to be applauded.
The Obama administration accused Iran on Thursday of entering into a "secret deal" with an al Qaeda offshoot that provides money and recruits for attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Treasury Department designated six members of the unit as terrorists subject to U.S. sanctions.
Cracks are emerging in Col. Moammar Gadhafi's inner circle, raising the possibility that the Libyan dictator's grip on power may be weakening after 42 years.
"So long as Hezbollah spreads instability, conducts terrorist attacks and engages in criminal and illicit activities around the world, we will continue to sanction Hezbollah's operatives, leaders and businesses, wherever they may be found," he added.
"Whether ferrying foreign fighters to the front lines of the Syrian civil war or inserting clandestine operatives in Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere, Hezbollah remains a significant global terrorist threat," said David S. Cohen, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.