According to a statement from a reliable source quoted by the Russian “Novosti” agency on September 24, 2023, direct American pressure has created obstacles in the path of Syrian-Arab reconciliation. Communication between Damascus and the Arab League’s Special Committee, established in May to address the Syrian crisis, has come to a halt due to the sanctions imposed by the United States on Syria.
The source revealed that this development follows earlier reports indicating that the Arab League’s special committee had suspended its contacts with the Syrian government. The source attributed this suspension to direct pressure from the United States, which has put a hold on further actions to assist Syria, a nation grappling with a devastated economy.
Furthermore, the source highlighted Saudi Arabia’s regional efforts to revive negotiations with Syria after a prolonged period of isolation. However, other countries such as Kuwait, Qatar, and Morocco initially showed reluctance in accepting Syria’s return to the League of Arab States.
The source also noted that plans for financial support and post-war reconstruction in Syria have been significantly hampered by American sanctions, particularly the Caesar Act implemented in 2020. The potential addition of a draft anti-normalization law against the Syrian state, submitted to the American Congress, further complicates matters.
The source emphasized that these frustrations stem from technical, diplomatic, and political challenges resulting from the American Caesar Act and other sanctions against Syria.
Since the onset of the crisis in 2011, Syria has been subjected to sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union, and several other nations.
In a recent development, on June 16, the Foreign Relations Committee in the US House of Representatives approved legislation aimed at countering normalization with Syria. Members of Congress made minor amendments to the draft law before submitting it for a vote in the Council. One of these amendments extended the validity of the Caesar Act until the end of 2023, and it defined the transactions that must be disclosed within the anti-normalization campaign’s strategy, encompassing investments, grants, contracts, donations, or loans from non-Syrian individuals residing in Turkey or any Arab countries.
Notably, in December 2022, US President Joe Biden signed the US defence budget for fiscal year 2023, which included the “Anti-Captagon” law specifically targeting areas under the control of the Syrian state. These laws supplement the existing “Caesar” law, significantly expanded during the tenure of former US President Donald Trump in 2020. It now encompasses numerous official and private Syrian institutions and many countries cooperating with Damascus.
In May of the same year, the Arab League announced the lifting of the freeze on Syria’s membership. The resolution included the formation of a ministerial liaison committee consisting of the foreign ministers of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, and Egypt, alongside the Secretary-General. The resolution also stressed the importance of preserving Syria’s unity and sovereignty, as well as adhering to Arab statements issued during meetings in Jeddah on April 14, 2023, and Amman on May 1, 2023. It emphasized the need for practical and effective steps in line with UN Security Council Resolution No. 2254 and direct dialogue with the Syrian government to comprehensively address the Syrian crisis and its consequences. Additionally, the resolution called for the resumption of the participation of delegations from the Syrian Arab Republic in the meetings of the League of Arab States and its affiliated organizations and bodies, effective from May 7th, 2023.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.