So the European Union has finally hit Bashar al-Assad’s Syria regime where it hurts, with an embargo on the oil that country sells. But the Berliner Morgenpost warns us not to get too carried away:
You see, these sanctions take effect only on November 15! Yes, no new contracts for oil delivery can be concluded effective immediately, but the old ones must be adhered to until then.
The villain here is Italy, which demanded this delay citing “a technical requirement.” Meanwhile, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja had it right with his observation: “If we really mean it, we should act immediately.” Sure, in the same announcement the EU added 54 further members of the Al-Assad regime’s inner circle to the “no-travel” and “assets frozen” lists. But the embargo is the truly meaningful blow to Assad, and there are Syrian protesters still being killed daily – at least 17 yesterday, according to opposition reports. How long can they hold out? How long can those many thousands continue to take to the streets, knowing they are likely to encounter gunfire from the authorities, as their national economy collapses around them?