Chairman Menendez Introduces Syria Stabilization Act of 2013
Menendez Legislation Provides for Lethal Weapons to Vetted Syrian Opposition, Sanctions Weapon Sales and Petroleum to the Assad Regime, While Delivering Humanitarian Assistance and Planning for a Post-Assad Syria
Menendez: “The Assad regime has crossed a red line that forces us to consider all options. The greatest humanitarian crisis in the world is unfolding in and around Syria, and the U.S. must play a role in tipping the scales toward opposition groups and working to build a free Syria.”
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, introduced today the Syria Stabilization Act of 2013, legislation that plans for a post-Assad Syria by providing humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people, while providing limited lethal and non-lethal weapons to vetted Syrian groups.
“The Assad regime has crossed a red line that forces us to consider all options,” said Chairman Menendez (D-NJ). “The greatest humanitarian crisis in the world is unfolding in and around Syria, and the U.S. must play a role in tipping the scales toward opposition groups and working to build a free Syria.”
“There will be no greater strategic setback to Iran than to have the Assad regime collapse, and cause a disruption to the terror pipeline between Tehran and Hezbollah in Lebanon,” added Menendez.
The Menendez legislation is comprised of five sections.
- Authority to provide arms, military training and non-lethal supplies to the Syrian armed opposition: Groups that have gone through a thorough vetting process which meet certain criteria on human-rights, terrorism, and non-proliferation would be eligible. The distribution of MANPADS is explicitly forbidden.
- Creation of a $250 million Transition Fund: To assist the civilian opposition in providing basic services over parts of the country and support early transition institution building and maintenance of existing institutions, such as preserving security institutions, promoting government formation, supporting transition justice, and reconciliation efforts.
- Sanctions on arms and oil sales to Assad: Targeting any person that the President determines has knowingly participated in or facilitated a transaction related to the sale or transfer of military equipment, arms, petroleum, or petroleum products to the Assad regime.
- Notwithstanding authority for humanitarian assistance: To ensure the administration is not hampered in its efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the Syrian people.
- Amendment to the Syria Accountability Act: To allow for sanctions removal once a transitional government is in place and certain terrorism and WMD criteria have been met.
Menendez recently wrote about taking steps to tip the scales against Assad, arguing for the United States “to play a leading role in a coordinated international response with a clearly articulated strategy that our partners in the Middle East and around the world can support.”
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