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Views from the Center

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Norms vs. Laws: What About Syria?

International norms matter. Citizens of the more than 80 nations where polls have been conducted do, think, and act taking into account global realities and norms. Most could be called “global citizens”, not in opposition to, but along with their self-identity as citizens of their own country. 

Try Something New in Syria

The conflict in Syria has dragged on for 26 months, and the international community has seemingly exhausted its options for non-lethal aid and support to the Syrian opposition.  Now, with new allegations that chemical weapons were likely used by the Assad regime, the United States and others may be inching closer to putting boots on the ground.       

Two More Reasons for Preemptive Contract Sanctions in Syria

With relentlessly bad news out of Syria, the search continues for what the world can do to put pressure on Assad’s regime and to lay the groundwork for a future, legitimate Syrian government. The case for preemptive contract sanctions is becoming ever more compelling. Under this approach, the United States, United Kingdom, and other members of the Friends of Syria, would declare that new contracts with the Assad regime are illegitimate and that our courts should not enforce them if a legitimate successor government in Syria repudiates them. This could deter new loans and investments in Syria’s oil or other sectors and send a signal to the Assad regime that the economic pressure will not loosen.

Time to Take Nyet for an Answer—and Move On

For the third time in recent months, Russia, supported by China, blocked United Nations action to put additional pressure on Bashir Assad and help end the violence in Syria. A UN Security Council resolution is the preferred way to go. But if that is not possible, preemptive contract sanctions can tighten the squeeze on Assad without the cooperation of Russia and China.

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