On June 17, the long-awaited Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act came into force, imposing the most comprehensive set of sanctions against Syria’s Assad regime to date. Aimed principally at preventing further war crimes by preventing any foreign investment into the Syrian regime, the sanctions will almost certainly have a consequential impact on Syria’s politics and economy. As the act comes into force, Syria is already beset by a spiraling economic crisis, the effects of which have generated unusually defiant and persistent anti-regime protests in the Druze-majority governorate of Suwayda and rising levels of discontent within regime-held territories. Southern Syria faces an expanding insurgency, ISIS is slowly resurging in the central desert, Turkey is doubling down on a permanent presence in the northwest and for now, U.S. troops appear to be staying.
How will the Caesar Act’s sanctions be enforced and with what goals in mind? What effect are they likely to have within today’s context? Does a policy of escalating pressure on the Assad regime promise diplomatic progress or humanitarian suffering?
The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to welcome a panel of esteemed speakers to address these and many other questions.
Amb. James F. Jeffrey
Special Representative for Syria and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS
Syrian writer and commentator; board member, The Day After Project
Non-resident scholar, MEI; Syria fellow, International Center for Transitional Justice
Charles Lister, moderator
Director, Syria and Countering Terrorism and Extremism Programs, MEI