The Takeaway: Regional include of Syria’s Assad places US in tight spot


The Biden management has issued any other caution to Syria’s neighbors towards boosting ties with President Bashar al-Assad, however critics say the management might be doing extra to stop Damascus’ go back to the Arab fold. 

On Wednesday, Emirati International Minister Abdullah bin Zayed met with Assad within the Syrian capital for the second one time since November 2021. Their newest assembly follows Assad’s March 2022 consult with to the United Arab Emirates — his first to an Arab nation because the Syrian revolution erupted in 2011. 

In an additional signal of the area’s warming to Assad, the protection chiefs of Turkey and Syria held talks in Moscow closing week. As Nazlan Ertan writes, their first reliable engagement in additional than a decade got here at the heels of a number of Turkish overtures to Damascus in the second one part of 2022, together with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan himself elevating the opportunity of an Assad assembly. 

On Tuesday, State Division spokesperson Ned Value informed newshounds the management does no longer improve international locations “upgrading their members of the family or expressing improve to rehabilitate the brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad.” 

“We urge states to scrupulously believe the Assad regime’s atrocious human rights file of the previous 12 years because it continues to inflict atrocities at the Syrian other people and to disclaim get right of entry to to life-saving humanitarian help,” Value stated.

The Biden management has many times stated it has no plans to “normalize or improve” its severed members of the family with the Syrian govt, nor does it improve regional states doing so. Lawmakers on all sides of the aisle have advised Biden to stay the drive on Syria’s neighbors in the course of the so-called Caesar Act.

The bipartisan law that took impact in 2020 authorizes extensive consequences towards somebody — Syrian or international — who supplies improve for the regime’s army operations or knowingly does industry with the federal government, in particular within the building, engineering, aviation and effort sectors. The Trump management issued a number of rounds of sanctions underneath this authority, however since getting into place of job, the Biden management has but to factor Caesar-specific sanctions on Assad’s benefactors. 

“The Biden management refuses to focus on economically vital figures,” stated David Adesnik, director of analysis on the Basis for Protection of Democracies. “The management has sanctioned army and intelligence officials responsible of horrible crimes, however by no means those that finance the regime.” 

This yr, participants of the GOP-controlled Space are prone to push for larger use and strengthening of Syria sanctions, a senior Republican congressional staffer informed Al-Observe.

“Most often, Republicans are deeply annoyed that there was nearly no Caesar sanctions enforcement underneath Biden,” the staffer stated. 

There’s additionally Democratic passion in stepping up sanctions on Syria. A January 2022 letter signed by way of the highest Democrats and Republicans on Congress’ international affairs panels advised Biden to make higher use of the Caesar Act and “believe penalties” for international locations who search to rehabilitate Assad.  

Because the area’s diplomatic outreach to Damascus continues, the Biden management is in “an overly difficult position with only a few playing cards to play,” in need of threatening sanctions towards US allies and companions, says Charles Lister, a Syria knowledgeable on the Center East Institute. 

Biden has thus far approached the ruinous civil warfare in Syria as a disaster to be contained, says Lister, however “it isn’t sufficient to have a established order coverage when the numerous actors round us are all shifting and looking for to modify the dynamic.” 

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Ben-Gvir’s holy web site consult with alarms Washington  

The consult with by way of Israel’s far-right nationwide safety minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, to Jerusalem’s maximum contested holy web site on Tuesday may just additional ratchet up tensions between Israel and the Palestinians, the State Division warned Tuesday. 

“This consult with has the possible to exacerbate tensions and to impress violence,” division spokesperson Ned Value informed newshounds, with out citing Ben-Gvir by way of identify. 

The 13-minute consult with drew in style condemnation around the area, as Adam Lucente studies, and overshadowed new Israeli International Minister Eli Cohen’s first name along with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Value sidestepped questions Tuesday over whether or not Ben-Gvir’s look on the web site, identified to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and Jews because the Temple Mount, violated the historical established order. Israeli Top Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated his new right-wing govt won’t search adjustments to the foundations governing get right of entry to to Jerusalem’s holy websites. 

“We predict him to apply thru on that dedication,” Value stated.

Biden faucets ambassadors to Jordan, Oman 

President Joe Biden introduced a crop of latest ambassador nominees, together with Yael Lempert, recently the fundamental deputy assistant secretary for the State Division’s Bureau of Close to Jap Affairs, as US ambassador to Jordan. Ana Escrogima, who serves as consul basic of the USA Consulate Common in Montreal, Canada, is Biden’s selection for US ambassador to Oman.

Biden introduced he’s going to renominate those that weren’t showed within the closing Congress, together with Michael Ratney as ambassador to Saudi Arabia. His nomination has been held up by way of Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who is looking for data from the Biden management on how Riyadh is helping its electorate accused of violent crimes flee the US. Wyden’s place of job stated his conversations with the management in this factor are ongoing. 

Additionally renominated had been Karen Sasahara and Martina Robust as ambassadors to Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, respectively. 

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• Because the Pentagon shifts focal point to China and Russia, CENTCOM’s leader is banking on experimentation with unmanned surveillance and synthetic intelligence, studies Jared Szuba.  

• Amberin Zaman explains why Turkey’s fresh overtures to Assad are rooted in a want to weigh down the Syrian Kurds’ autonomy. 

 Rina Bassist recaps how Israeli Top Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled off his political comeback in 2022.  

• In an interview with Andrew Parasiliti, Omani Minister of Power and Minerals Salim Al Aufi argues that Oman can maintain its financial development regardless of the imaginable have an effect on of an international financial recession on oil costs.  



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