The White House has, at long last, slapped sanctions on Syria.
Damascus continues to occupy and control Lebanon, host terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, brutalize its Kurdish minority and allow Islamist terrorists to cross into Iraq. Its forces actually fired on U.S. Marines in March.
Yet the Bush folks played nice with Syria, as if restraint would somehow inspire the Assad regime to behave.
Not surprisingly, Damascus took this as a sign that Washington lacked will.
Rightly fearing the spread of democracy and minority rights from a liberated and stable Iraq, Syrian leader Bashir al Assad has redoubled his efforts to thwart normalization.
The sanctions ban U.S. goods and flights to Syria and freeze certain Syrian assets.
Assad's reaction was to test U.S. will further: On Thursday he said Syria would not expel top Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders and insisted that he's trying to stop terrorist infiltration in Iraq.
But if sanctions are the beginning of the end of U.S. appeasement of Damascus, then the days of the Syrian regime may be numbered.
None too soon.