Arab nations are normalizing relations with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and his regime should try to get “something” out of it, a senior American official said.
Speaking in a digital briefing from the US State Department’s London International Media Hub, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf said Washington is in talks with its allies in the Middle East regarding “their policy shift” towards the Assad. reign.
“They want to fight,” she said. “Our approach on that score is to make sure you get something for that engagement.” She recommended “an end to the Captagan trade at the top, along with the other issues … that go to provide relief to the Syrian people from the terrible decade of oppression they have endured.”
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Leaf visited Jordan, Egypt, Libya, Lebanon and Tunisia in the past two weeks, captagon – the cheap methamphetamine produced mainly by the Assad regime – “a terrible new scourge across the region.” The Syrian regime’s profit from smuggling captagon and narcotics to circumvent western sanctions is “just another terrible example of why this regime deserves to be treated like the rogue it is.”
She reiterated the US position that it would not normalize relations with Damascus, as many Arab states in the region have done in recent years and are still doing, emphasizing Washington’s recent imposition of sanctions on the regime Assad because of his narcotics trafficking. “We do not intend to normalize,” Leaf emphasized. “This regime is such a disaster for his people but also for his neighborhood.”
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