In the midst of the ceasefire in Syria markedly reducing fighting and the P5+1 talks with Iran showing real progress, the Obama Administration decided now was a good time to show that it does not need a good excuse to impose sanctions.
Obama announced his new sanctions on Syria and Iran, aimed at information technology development, while visiting the Holocaust Museum and declaring “never again” in what passes for a justification for sanctions these days.
Officially, the administration is insisting that the sanctions are targeted at surveillance technology used to violate human rights in the nations. In practice, the technologies for which he was condemning Iran and Syria and the “hired guns” that sell such technology to governments are essentially the same technologies that the Obama Administration is acquiring at a fevered pace.
The Obama Administration has been looking at broad information “sharing” authority for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and levels of random surveillance that Syria and Iran can only dream of. Rather the sanctions seem more about proving that he’s being “tough” on Syria and Iran, particularly at a time when the diplomatic situation obviously doesn’t call for it.