Syria in the Nation's Capital
Caesar Act: On Tuesday, the Trump administration announced that the United States imposed sanctions on the Central Bank of Syria concurrent with requirements under the Caesar Act (P.L. 116-92). In a press release, the Department of the Treasury announced two high-level Assad regime officials and the nine businesses they own were subject to sanctions. In addition, the Department of State announced designations for four members of Asma al-Assad’s family and Syria Military Intelligence Commander General Kifah Moulhem.
Omnibus Bill: Congress has passed a FY 2021 omnibus appropriations bill (HR 133) that includes funding for Syria. The bill provides $40 million in non-lethal stabilization aid that according to the joint explanatory statement is authorized to be used in Deir Ezzor. The bill includes $200 million for the Syria Train and Equip Program. The bill requires the Department of State prepare Iran Counter Influence programs that include assessing the impact of Iranian support of proxy groups in Syria. Additional language includes a ban on the U.S. operating any oil facilities in Syria, or providing funding that advances Iranian and Russian interests on the ground. A bipartisan group of Senators hailed the inclusion of legislation (S 712) that provides authorization to: impose sanctions on persons responsible for hostage-taking or unlawful detention abroad; establish a Special Envoy for Hostages; and require that the State Department review all cases of U.S. nationals detained abroad to determine and report to Congress on cases in which detention is unlawful.
Global Fragility Strategy: The Department of State released a congressional-mandated report that outlines U.S. policy to prevent conflict and promote stability. The strategy outlines four goals that serve as a guide to United States’ efforts in addressing priority countries: prevention, stabilization, partnerships, and management. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegen announced the U.S. will prioritize at least five countries and regions and will implement this strategy over a ten-year time horizon without providing country names. Mandated by the Global Fragility Act (P.L. 116-94), the law allows the U.S. to list Syria among several priority countries that are at risk of becoming failed states.