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Sparks fly in Syria sanctions, normalization debate

Sparks fly in Syria sanctions, normalization debate

How do crippling embargoes on the country make Bashar Assad repent for his crimes? A QI panel questions Biden policy.

Analysis | Middle East

Two recent developments indicate that Syria’s future is at an important crossroads.

In early May, the Arab league announced that it would re-admit Syria after a nearly 12-year suspension dating back to the outbreak of the civil war in 2011. In response, a bipartisan group of 35  U.S. lawmakers introduced the “Assad Regime Anti-Normalization Act of 2023,” which, among other things, calls for an inter-agency “report of the steps the United States is taking to actively deter recognition or normalization of relations by other governments with the Assad regime.” It also expands the Caesar Act sanctions on the Syrian regime, which have been in place since 2020. 

The Biden administration has also stated its opposition to the Arab League’s decision. 

A Quincy Institute panel hosted on Friday sparked several moments of interesting debate between University of Oklahoma professorJoshua Landis,  (who wrote recently for RS in favor of normalization), and former U.S. Ambassador William Roebuck, on the effectiveness of the Caesar Act sanctions and whether it makes sense to keep them in place. 

See the exchange here:

Watch the full event, which also featured Quincy Institute senior research analyst Steve Simon, former Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey, and Duke University Law professor Mara Revkin, here:

 

Analysis | Middle East
Diplomacy Watch: Ukraine risks losing the war — and the peace

Diplomacy Watch: Ukraine risks losing the war — and the peace

QiOSK

This week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky offered his starkest warning yet about the need for new military aid from the United States.

“It’s important to specifically address the Congress,” Zelensky said. “If the Congress doesn’t help Ukraine, Ukraine will lose the war.”

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South Korean president faces setback in elections

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol casts his early vote for 22nd parliamentary election, in Busan, South Korea, April 5, 2024. Yonhap via REUTERS

South Korean president faces setback in elections

QiOSK

Today, South Korea held its quadrennial parliamentary election, which ended in the opposition liberal party’s landslide victory. The liberal camp, combining the main opposition liberal party and its two sister parties, won enough seats (180 or more) to unilaterally fast-track bills and end filibusters. The ruling conservative party’s defeat comes as no surprise since many South Koreans entered the election highly dissatisfied with the Yoon Suk-yeol administration and determined to keep the government in check.

What does this mean for South Korea’s foreign policy for the remaining three years of the Yoon administration? Traditionally, parliamentary elections have tended to have little effect on the incumbent government’s foreign policy. However, today’s election may create legitimate domestic constraints on the Yoon administration’s foreign policy primarily by shrinking Yoon’s political capital and legitimacy to implement his foreign policy agenda.

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Could the maritime corridor become Gaza’s lifeline?

A tugboat tows a barge loaded with humanitarian aid for Gaza, as seen from Larnaca, Cyprus, March 30, 2024. REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Could the maritime corridor become Gaza’s lifeline?

Middle East

As Gaza’s humanitarian crisis deepens, a small U.S.-based advisory group hopes to build a temporary port that could bring as many as 200 truckloads of aid into the besieged strip each day, more than doubling the average daily flow of aid, according to a person with detailed knowledge of the maritime corridor plan.

The port effort, led by a firm called Fogbow, could start bringing aid into Gaza from Cyprus within 28 days of receiving the necessary funding from international donors. The project would require $30 million to get started, followed by an additional $30 million each month to continue operations, according to the source.

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Israel-Gaza Crisis

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