Syrians walk in front of a poster of President Bashar al-Assad near the Grand Umayyad Mosque in Damascus on September 23, 2021 Photo: AFP/File

U.S. rules out normalizing ties with Syria's Assad


U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken renewed U.S. opposition Wednesday to normalization of ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has seen growing acceptance from Arab nations that have concluded he won the brutal civil war.

Meeting with his Israeli and UAE counterparts, Blinken said that President Joe Biden's administration's policy on Syria was largely focused on humanitarian relief.

"What we have not done, and what we do not intend to do, is to express any support for efforts to normalize relations or rehabilitate Mr. Assad," Blinken told a joint news conference, not referring to Assad as president.

The United States has not "lifted a single sanction on Syria or changed our position to oppose the reconstruction of Syria until there is irreversible progress toward a political solution, which we believe is necessary and vital," Blinken said.

A U.S. law known as the Caesar Act came into force last year that punishes any companies that work with Assad as he seeks to rebuild after a decade of war.

The Caesar Act, accompanied by a slew of U.S. sanctions on Syrians close to Assad, aims to force accountability for human rights abuses and to encourage a political solution in Syria.

The United Arab Emirates has earlier said that the Caesar Act made it difficult for Syria to return to the Arab League.

But individual Arab states have been warming to Assad, with Jordanian King Abdullah II, a key US ally, earlier this month speaking to the Syrian leader by phone for the first time since the war.

Syria has also worked with Egypt and Jordan to bring badly needed fuel into neighboring Lebanon, from which Syrian troops were pushed out in 2005.

Syria's war has killed around half a million people, displaced millions of others and helped allow the rise of the brutal Islamic State extremist group.

Assad has crushed opposition through brute force and an alliance with Russia and Iran, although he still lacks control of northern areas run either by Kurdish fighters or Turkey and its proxies.

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

Login to comment

Assad has crushed opposition through brute force and an alliance with Russia and Iran

The American plan to overthrow the legitimate government failed, no wonder they are pissed.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

I wondered about the timing of this article.

From Paul R. Pillar at The National Interest:

Arab states have been gradually restoring or expanding relations with the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, and some commentators in the United States are very unhappy

about that . . . Each writer reviews and excoriates the Assad regime’s record of brutality— about which there can be no dispute— and criticizes the Biden administration for quietly acquiescing in the business that regional states have been doing with Syria, even though the United States is making no move of its own toward restoring relations with Damascus.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If Americans are unhappy with Assad they always can console themselves with their best buddies Saudis, renowned for their rich democratic and tolerant traditions.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The American plan to overthrow the legitimate government failed, no wonder they are pissed.

As always, the truth is more nuanced. Read and learn please.

And for a different take on the matter (one I am still chewing on and not necessarily in agreement with)

The old Confucian concept of Yin-Yang is applicable to much of our world. Nothing is pure black or pure white, pure good or pure bad and the boundary between them is wavy and indistinct. The world is ruled by ambiguity.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

One wonders sometimes if Bashir Assad ever regrets taking his father's place as the leader of Syria and longs for his old life as an opthamologist in London? Too late now but still one wonders about these things.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

No civilized country should have a relationship with him after his violent destruction of his country and the deaths of many tens of thousands of his people with gas, biochemical and barrel bombs. The bombing of hospitals. Should be tried for war crimes.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

As always, the truth is more nuanced. Read and learn please.

I highly doubt that the Dept of state's site is a source of truth in this case.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Israel still calling the shots in US foreign policy....Blinken... stooge!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites