U.S. officials are of the opinion that there isn't one "silver bullet" sanction that will push the regime to comply with the Annan plan, the official said. Instead, they see the combination of multiple countries' sanctions as increasing the pressure on the Assad regime, the official said.
A meeting of the Syria Sanctions Committee of the Friends of the Syrian People on June 6 will offer an opportunity to explore which sanctions have been most effective and what other measures can be taken, the official said.
While the government of Qatar is also taking "corresponding actions," today's designation will not target the Qatari investors who hold investments in Syria International Islamic Bank, the Treasury said.
"What Treasury is attempting to do is essentially financially strangle the regime," said Mark Dubowitz, a sanctions specialist who has advised Congress and the Obama administration. After large banks are sanctioned, a government targeted by the U.S. will look for "workarounds," or other "financial channels" through which it can move money.
'Another Pops Up'
"Some people call this a game of whack-a-mole," said Dubowitz, executive director of the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies. "You hit one and another pops up. I think that's the wrong analogy. This is an example of trapping the regime in a spider's web, where the regime struggles to get free the more it entraps itself."
From 2011 to 2012, the Syria International Islamic Bank has "surreptitiously facilitated financing worth almost $150 million on behalf of the Commercial Bank of Syria," the Treasury said.