Syria: Issues for the 112th Congress and Background on U.S. Sanctions [June 21, 2011]   [open pdf - 420KB]

"This report analyzes bilateral issues between the United States and Syria. Unrest in Syria and the Asad government's violent response are adding new complexity to the troubled U.S.-Syrian relationship. The Obama Administration's policy of limited engagement with Syria to address areas of long-standing concern has been met with criticism from some observers, including some Members of Congress. Critics believe that the Administration should apply further pressure to the Syrian government and consider implementing additional economic sanctions against it. The use of violence against Syrian protestors has been accompanied by calls for new U.S. sanctions but also some expression of concern by experts that political unrest in Syria could evolve into a broader civil conflict that in turn could destabilize Syria's neighbors. […] The Asad government's use of force to contain growing protests across Syria may reshape congressional attitudes toward Syria, which have varied. Some in Congress may seek to impose new sanctions against the Asad regime. Other lawmakers may support continued U.S. engagement as a means of mitigating the unpredictable and potentially negative consequences of the unrest. Many observers believe that the violence could preclude a return to engagement and the offering of incentives to address other issues of U.S. concern, absent a fundamental shift in the Syrian government's actions toward its own citizens. In the 112th Congress, S.Res. 180, among other things, strongly condemns and deplores the human rights abuses of the Government of Syria."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL33487
Public Domain
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