FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On January 11, 2022, Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and James Risch (R-ID), respectively Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFRC) and Representatives Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Michael McCaul (R-TX), respectively Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) addressed a letter at the Biden Administration titled “Menendez, Risch, Meeks, McCaul Raise Concerns Over U.S. Policy in Syria.”
The letter called for “the restoration of U.S. leadership on the crisis in Syria,” standing against normalization efforts by several U.S. partners, including some Arab states, towards which the Administration has acquiesced thus far. These efforts “set a dangerous precedent for authoritarians who seek to commit similar crimes against humanity.” Ever since the normalization pattern began in October 2021 when Jordan and INTERPOL made the first steps to rehabilitate the Assad regime, SETF has been condemning these acts and shining a light on the consequences they entail.
In addition to not condemning normalization efforts, the Administration has failed to put forward any new designations under the Caesar Act. The Caesar Act, if properly implemented, hinders the criminal Assad regime from benefiting from important domestic and international revenue streams. A significant portion of these funds comes from the regime’s role in trafficking captagon, an illicit and highly addictive narcotic, which has increased significantly over the past decade. These funds allow for the continuation by the regime and its allies of the indiscriminate attacks on civilians, detention, torture, displacement, and killings that have been ongoing for over a decade and which have affected at least 15 million people.
SETF commends this significant effort on the part of the leaderships of SFRC and HFAC, and echoes their concerns regarding the normalization of the Assad regime and the lack of action on the part of the Biden administration. SETF will continue its work to raise awareness, including through the exhibits of the Caesar file around the world, and advocate to end the killing and other atrocities in Syria committed by the Assad regime and its allies.
Read the full statement here.
Director of Communications Syrian Emergency Task Force