Syria: the US Caesar Act and its consequences

On June, 17th, the State Department has put sanctions on the Syrian Regime. The full text of the so-called “Caesar Act” can be found on the site of the US State Department. For information, I give it here:

  • The President signed into law the “Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019” (the Caesar Act) on December 20, 2019.
  • Named after the Syrian photographer who bravely shared with the world thousands of photographs documenting torture in Assad’s prisons, the Caesar Act provides the U.S. government a powerful way to promote accountability for the regime’s atrocities.
  • Our sanctions under the Caesar Act and Executive Order 13894 are not intended to harm the Syrian people, but rather to promote accountability for the Assad regime’s violence and destruction that has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians; subjected thousands of Syrians to arbitrary detention, the majority of whom remain missing, and many of whom are exposed to torture and sexual violence; and devastated the country’s civilian infrastructure, including homes, hospitals, and marketplaces, resulting in the displacement of over half the population.  This Act is meant to send a clear signal that no foreign business should enter into business with or otherwise enrich such a regime.
  • Executive Order 13894 includes menu-based sanctions including travel restrictions to the United States and isolation from the United States’ financial system for foreign persons who engage in or finance the obstruction, prevention, or disruption of a ceasefire or political solution to the conflict in Syria and members of their family, among other actions.
  • Mandatory sanctions under the Caesar Act target foreign persons who facilitate the Assad regime’s acquisition of goods, services, or technologies that support the regime’s military activities as well as its aviation and oil and gas production industries.
  • The Caesar Act also mandates sanctions on those profiting off the Syrian conflict by engaging in reconstruction activities.
  • The United States will actively impose and enforce the full range of U.S. sanctions under EO 13894 and our other sanction authorities, including the Caesar Act, against the Assad regime and its enablers in order to exert maximum pressure on the Syrian regime towards full implementation of the political process.
  • The sanctions imposed on June 17 are the start of the Administration’s efforts to implement the Caesar Act.  We will continue to target those who enable the Assad regime to carry out atrocities and to needlessly prolong the Syrian conflict.
  • The Administration is committed to answering the calls of the Syrian people for a lasting political solution to the Syrian conflict in line with UNSCR 2254.
  • The Assad regime has a choice: take irreversible steps towards a peaceful resolution of the nearly decade-long conflict or face further crippling sanctions.
  • The United States Syria sanctions do not generally sanction bona fide humanitarian assistance or activity.  The implementation of the Caesar Act continues that practice, including by codifying the  general license under the Syrian Sanctions Regulations for NGO humanitarian activity.  Rather, the United States’ Syria and Syria-related sanctions prohibitions are designed to deter Bashar al-Assad and his regime from abusing the international financial system and global supply chain to continue brutalizing the Syrian people.  We also intend to prevent the Assad regime and its associates from profiteering from the war that the regime itself has thrust upon the Syrian people.
  • Since the beginning of our sanctions against the Assad regime, we have provided exemptions for humanitarian aid in all areas of Syria.   In fact, there are U.S. government programs working with NGOs to deliver medicines and foodstuff to nearly all parts of Syria, including regime-held areas.
  • We remain committed to ensuring that civilians living in Syria are able to receive humanitarian support from the international community.

I want  this text be more than a hashtag on social networks.

This bill is named, of course, after the famous “Caesar Report” of 2015. When Human Rights Watch published it, at that time, it was a scandal. Syria If the dead could speak HRW, 2015, Caesar’s photos I am ashamed to write that now, five years later, nobody cares of the situation in Syria. So, I write this post to raise awareness on it.

In effect, in 2015, Human Rights Watch revealed the photos of civilians tortured by Assad. Caesar Report photo, Middle East Eye, June, 23nd, 2020 It was the first Western proof of crimes against humanity: I have written “Western”, because the SNHR (Syrian Network for Human Rights) had published many reports before. It continues now, the last one being of some days ago: Syrian_regime_forces_forcibly_hide_10_SPLM_activists_in_Sweida_and_use_repression_to_confront_its_just_demands_SNHR

One one hand, the Caesar Law is an important accountability of the crimes of the Syrian Regime. Recently, Germany has condemned a member of Assad’s mafia.

As far as I am concerned, everything that can contribute to the fall of the Assad’s Regime makes me happy, because since the beginning of this blog, I support the Syrian Revolution; I do the same on Twitter.

On the other hand, these sanctions are harmful to Syrian civilians, not only to Assad and the Baath.  They didn’t save any detainees, as says the Syrian National Coalition.Syrian National Coalition urges US to pass Caesar Bill to save detainees, Syrian National Coalition, December, 22, 2018, _XL

The Syrian currency has lost all its value , and most of Syrians live in refugees camps. We all know that these ones were hit, recently, by heavy rains.

As usual ,the US foreign policy is this of Trump. We can hope better of the next American President.

All these proofs are only a beginning, a hope that Assad is condemned by the ICC at the Hague for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.


Leave a Reply