The Corner

Syria-ous Move



WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, introduced legislation Thursday to impose further U.S. sanctions against Syria and maintain sanctions currently in place until Syria meets certain criteria. Under the Syria Accountability and Liberation Act (SALA), sanctions will continue until Syria ceases its support for terrorism, dismantles its various weapons of mass destruction programs, recognizes the right to exist of neighboring countries in the Middle East, and shows that it values the human rights and civil liberties of its own people. The bill will also apply additional diplomatic pressure in several areas.


“This legislation will send a strong message to the Syrian regime that it’s threatening and irresponsible actions will not be tolerated by the United States,” Sen. Cornyn said.  “The Syrian regime is a destabilizing influence in the Middle East region, and it must not be allowed to take steps towards attaining nuclear weapons. U.S. policy towards Syria must reflect that priority.”


Sen. Cornyn added: “Syria’s failure to control its eastern border with Iraq has resulted in increased numbers of al Qaeda and other foreign terrorists flowing into Iraq, where they continue to murder innocent Iraqi civilians and take the lives of American troops. This is clear evidence that Syria is neither a friend of the U.S. nor a trusted partner in the War on Terror.”


The legislation comes amidst disturbing news reports that two designated state sponsors of terrorism, Syria and North Korea, have combined efforts to develop nuclear technology and build the infrastructure necessary to produce nuclear materials. The Senate bill is similar to one first introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Ranking Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. 


The Syria Accountability and Liberation Act (SALA) will also do the following:


  • Require the President to impose specified sanctions against countries and individuals who transfer materials that aid Syria’s efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems, as well as any person who invests $5 million or more in aiding Syria’s ability to develop oil or gas resources. 
  • Require specific diplomatic actions intended to isolate the government of Syria.  
  • Clearly set out that U.S. policy is to support the emergence of a democratic government in Syria that does not pose a threat to the U.S., our interests, and our allies.