US Senators Jim Risch and Marco Rubio introduced the Assad Regime Anti-Normalisation Act on Wednesday, which extends the existing Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act sanctions on Syria until 2032 and prohibits any US department or agency from recognising or normalising relations with any government in Syria led by Bashar al-Assad.
Senator Risch, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stated that the legislation enforces a policy of diplomatic and economic isolation against the Assad regime. Senator Rubio added that the United States must restrict any efforts to normalise ties with “this anti-democratic tyranny”.
The legislation comes after the Arab League agreed to reinstate Syria’s official seat on 7 May, following more than a decade of suspension. Since then, several Arab countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Lebanon, have engaged in talks with the Syrian government. The new bill specifically targets countries that have initiated such normalisation efforts and expands sanctions to senior officials in the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party in Syria and the Syrian People’s Assembly.
The Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, enacted in December 2019, imposes economic sanctions on the Syrian government and its supporters for human rights abuses and undermining the political process in Syria.