Freeze on Caesar Act may lead to its cancellation, say hopeful experts

Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization (JHCO)
(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — The recent landing of five Jordanian planes carrying relief supplies at Aleppo Airport has prompted Jordanian experts and economists to demand that authorities push for a cancellation of the Caesar Act, a piece of US legislation sanctioning the Syrian government for war crimes against the Syrian population.اضافة اعلان

The Caesar Act, which came into force in June of 2020, restricts foreign countries’ commercial dealings with Syria in an attempt to limit Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s power, in response to human rights abuses by his regime.

Targeted by the act are various Syrian industries, including those related to infrastructure, military upkeep, and energy production, as well as businesses that deal with Assad. 

Humanitarian exceptionsThe act, also known as the "Civilian Protection Law in Syria", excludes humanitarian aid and allows activities in support of humanitarian causes, including in areas controlled by the Syrian regime. Despite this, the US has deemed it necessary to suspend its implementation for a period of six months due to the devastating earthquake that affected Syria.
“I believe that Jordan has an opportunity for optimal economic investment during this period.”
Jordan, as one of the first countries to provide humanitarian aid to Syria after the disaster, has played a role in the humanitarian efforts targeting the neighboring republic, political analyst Amer Al-Sabaileh said.

However, economists and activists also see this temporary suspension as a window of opportunity for a full cancellation of the law, stating that the act has disrupted trade exchange between the Jordan and its neighboring Syria. 
Jordanian economists tweeted about the need to lift international sanctions on Syria and restore Jordanian-Syrian economic relations to their previous state, even after the temporary hiatus on the act is lifted.

“I think that Jordan has been trying from the start to push for opening the gates of trade exchange and the flow of goods between the two countries, as the crisis … forced America to suspend sanctions for six months,” security and military expert Omar Raddad told Jordan News.  
“I believe that Jordan has an opportunity for optimal economic investment during this period,” he added.

An ‘open door’?Political analyst Muhammad Al-Zawahra stated that, with the freezing of the act, Jordan will have “an opportunity to normalize political and economic relations on the one hand, and to find a good chance to invest in reconstruction by means of international organizations.”

Another political analyst, Oraib Rantawi, told Jordan News that the humanitarian dimension of the catastrophe “will open the door to the political and diplomatic dimension”.

In this sense, “the earthquake catastrophe … appears to be the beginning of a project to dismantle the Caesar Act and its strict sanctions against Syria, the regime, the government, and the people”, he said.
The current situation demands “an expansion of the narrow margins in dealing with Syria”.
However, “it is too early to talk about the size of any upcoming breakthrough in the Caesar Act,” Rantawi noted. While signs of a breakthrough exist, they are still limited, he said. The current situation demands “an expansion of the narrow margins in dealing with Syria”.

Change out of catastrophe“It is true that the earthquake destroyed roads, demolished buildings, and impeded the movement of individuals and vehicles, but it will build a virtual bridge between Damascus and Ankara, creating an Arab opening towards Damascus,” he said.

Rantawi added: “the earthquake, which besieged tens of thousands of Syrians, will be an important factor in lifting the siege on the Syrian regime.”

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