House Neoconservatives & Neoliberals Call on Biden Regime to Stop Syria Normalization

The leading Republican and Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee published a statement on May 8, 2023 criticizing Syria’s readmission into the Arab League and has urged  President Biden to use sanctions to prevent increased normalization.

“Readmitting Assad to the Arab League is a grave strategic mistake that will embolden Assad, Russia, and Iran to continue butchering civilians and destabilizing the Middle East,” Texas Congressman Michael McCaul and New York Congressman Gregory Meeks said.

“The United States must fully enforce the Caesar Act and other sanctions to freeze normalization efforts with this war criminal,” the elected officials continued.

The Caesar Act imposed stiff economic sanctions on Syria in 2020. Dave DeCamp of noted that these sanctions “are specifically designed to prevent the country’s reconstruction.” These measures have done immense damage to Syria’s civilians. The House recently voted to maintain the enforcement of sanctions after a massive earthquake killed thousands of Syrians.

The Caesar Act sanctions grant the US government the power to sanction any individual or entity for conducting business with the Syrian government. In other words, US allies such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan, who have worked to normalize diplomatic ties with Syria, could potentially be sanctioned. On May 9, Syria and Saudi Arabia announced their joint decision to restore diplomatic relations for the first time in over a decade.

The State Department criticized Syria’s readmission to the Arab League. “We do not believe that Syria merits readmission to the Arab League at this time,” State Department spokesman Vedant Patel stated on May 9. “We continue to believe that we will not normalize our relations with the Assad regime, and we don’t support our allies and partners doing so either.”

The US still maintains a military presence of  roughly 900 troops in eastern Syria and supports the SDF — a multi-ethnic coalition of anti-Assad forces — that allows the US to control roughly one-third of the country. This part of Syria is where most of its oil resources are concentrated. 

The US political class is still largely animated by a universalist foreign policy ethos. So sanctioning Syria, a country that has largely deviated from the US’s foreign policy strictures, is to be expected. 

Syria poses no threat to the US. So sanctioning it is beyond pointless and only contributes to further instability in the region.

The America First course of action here is to lift sanctions on Syria and withdraw all troops from the country.

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