Sanctions waiver for Syria quake victims brings fears of abuse

However some critics on Capitol Hill and within the Syrian diaspora neighborhood have criticized Treasury for wording the Syria license in a means they consider is just too lengthy and overly broad, doubtlessly allowing what was meant as humanitarian help to as an alternative line the pockets of Assad and his circle of corrupt allies.

“The Biden administration’s choice to authorize direct transactions with the Assad regime within the identify of humanitarian aid is a slap within the face to the Syrian individuals,” stated Senate International Relations rating member Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Home International Relations Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, in a joint assertion final week. “This authorization for direct transactions with the Assad regime is just not solely pointless, it opens the door to the regime pilfering help and will probably be abused to create a pathway for normalizing relations with the Assad regime. Moreover, this license actually doesn’t have to final for six months, when different catastrophe aid licenses normally solely final a couple of weeks.”

Mohammed Alaa Ghanem, coverage chief for the Syrian American Council, a grassroots group that desires to see a democratic and secular Syria, stated Assad is exploiting the earthquake to demand the lifting of sanctions — some imposed by Congress — on his authorities even because it has performed little to offer assist for these within the northwestern a part of the nation.

“One factor he cared about and he went to work doing that and that was launching a well-coordinated marketing campaign to have sanctions lifted on his regime and his cronies,” Ghanem stated. “The principle plan of the Assad regime has at all times been to attain a navy victory on the bottom, rehabilitate itself … and get reconstruction funding into Syria.”

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The Syrian American Council as a part of a broader coalition of 10 Syrian American and Syria-focused faith-based and advocacy organizations issued a joint name final week to not chill out sanctions on the Assad regime. Somewhat, the alliance known as on American donors to direct their giving to frontline teams working in opposition-held northwestern Syria, such because the civil protection and rescue group The White Helmets.