US extends national emergency on Syria for another year

The White House in the US capital, Washington - October 2, 2021 (Reuters)

The White House in the US capital, Washington - October 2, 2021 (Reuters)


US President Joe Biden has approved the decision to extend the national emergency with respect to the actions of the government of Syria for an additional year, citing the Syrian regime’s actions and policies, including concerning chemical weapons and support for “terrorist organizations,” as posing a threat to US national security.

The White House stated on Wednesday, May 8, that the regime’s brutality and repression of the Syrian people, who have called for freedom and a representative government, not only endangers the Syrians themselves but also generates instability throughout the region.

It added that the actions and policies of the Syrian regime towards numerous issues, including chemical weapons and support for terrorist organizations, pose an “extraordinary threat” to US national security, foreign policy, and economy. As a result, Biden has extended the national emergency for an additional year.

The White House said through its official website that the United States condemns what it described as “brutal violence,” human rights violations, and excesses by “the Assad regime” and its Russian and Iranian supporters.

It also stated that the United States calls on the regime and its backers to cease their violent war against their people, enable an all-encompassing ceasefire across the country, facilitate the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to all needy Syrians, and negotiate a political settlement in Syria in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution “2254.”

It noted that Washington would consider changes in the Syrian government’s policies and actions in determining whether to continue or terminate this national emergency in the future.

The US national emergency with respect to the actions of the government of Syria expires on May 8, and over the years, the White House has announced its extension, given no perceived changes from the Syrian regime towards the events in Syria and US interests in the region.

On May 8, 2023, US President Joe Biden announced the extension of the national emergency, which has been modified several times, according to a statement published by the White House.

The United States first declared a national emergency with respect to the actions of the government of Syria in 2004, which was subsequently extended to address the exceptional threat to US national security, foreign policy, and the economy posed by the regime’s support for “terrorism,” its continued “occupation” of Lebanon at the time, pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and missile programs, and undermining US and international efforts concerning the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq, according to the White House.

The US Congress passed the National Emergencies Act in 1976, granting executive authority, headed by the President, the right to decisively handle emergent crises.

The President is allowed to bypass any restrictions on his decisions related to handling these crises, provided there is confirmation of the presence of “unusual and serious threats to national security and US interests.”

Under the law, the President is permitted to declare a state of emergency for one year, renewable annually.



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