US House of Representatives passes anti-normalization bill with Assad 

The Capitol Building, the official headquarters of the US Congress, which represents the legislative authority in the United States and consists of two legislative bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate - 2022 (Reuters)

The Capitol Building, the official headquarters of the US Congress, which represents the legislative authority in the United States and consists of two legislative bodies, the House of Representatives and the Senate - 2022 (Reuters)

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The American Coalition for Syria (ACS) announced the US House of Representatives’ approval of the anti-normalization with Assad bill, on the evening of Wednesday, February 14, US time.

The ACS stated in a statement on its official website that 389 members (the overwhelming majority) in the House of Representatives, from both parties, the Democrats and the Republicans, voted in favor of the bill, against 32 others who opposed the bill.

The bill stipulates that the United States will not recognize or normalize relations with any Syrian government under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad, in addition to enhancing the sanctions stipulated by the Caesar Act of 2019, by extending its provisions, which were set to expire in 2024, before the extension to 2032, and it requires developing a joint strategy between agencies, and an annual report to counter normalization with al-Assad.

US congressman and member of the Republican Party, French Hill, said via “X,” “I applaud the House’s passage of the Assad Regime Anti-Normalization Act.”

During the House of Representatives session, Hill said that the United States must make clear that any normalization with al-Assad must end.

The head of the political planning department at the American Coalition for Syria, Mohammad Ghanem, expressed the American Coalition’s appreciation for allowing the vote before the approaching 13th anniversary of the Syrian revolution, which falls in March of the upcoming year.

He also considered that the votes that said yes to the bill constitute a strong message to the current US administration and all future administrations, and to the whole world, that both parties are insisting on the implementation of all the enforceable laws against al-Assad, and will not allow al-Assad to be imposed as a fait accompli, and that the only solution for Syria to emerge from its crisis to a better future, is for Syrians to converge on a common project away from the Assad person, and his bloody legacy that cannot be forgotten or forgiven, according to Ghanem.

52 US representatives

US representative, Joe Wilson, is the original sponsor of the bill, along with another 51 representatives (31 Republicans and 21 Democrats), according to the bill’s data as presented on the official site of the Congress.

The US bill prohibits the federal government from recognizing or normalizing relations with any government in Syria led by Bashar al-Assad, as well as expanding the duration of the Caesar Act, and granting powers to the US president to punish those involved in the theft of Syrians, with imposing measures that increase the possibility of monitoring trade transactions that could breach sanctions.

The bill was introduced initially in the House of Representatives on May 11, 2023, when it was unanimously approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee after two working days from the date it was posted, with speed described as “exceptionally fast for legislative norms”.

This action coincided with Arab attempts to reintegrate al-Assad into the Arab milieu, which became clear when Saudi Arabia welcomed al-Assad on its territory to participate in the Arab summit held in Jeddah, on May 19, 2023, after the return of Syria’s seat in the Arab League to the regime.

 

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