U.S. diplomat warns Lebanon of consequences of dealing with Assad regime

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A senior U.S. official said he hopes America will not have to impose sanctions on Lebanese companies and individuals for violating the U.S. sanctions on Syria’s Assad regime.

U.S. diplomat Joel Rayburn said there are reports that fuel and other goods imported into Lebanon are being smuggled into Syria by trucks crossing the border to Syria.

Rayburn stressed that America does not aim to impose sanctions on its friends or partners under the recently implemented sanctions against Damascus, referred to as “Caesar’s Law”, but rather wants to work with countries in the region so that they do nothing that is contrary to sanctions activities.

He added that the United States hopes that Lebanese companies and individuals will not be punished under Caesar’s Law because the focus is on the Assad regime, saying, “I hope the Lebanese business community and others will not put us in a position to impose sanctions on them.”

Speaking about Lebanon’s purchase of electricity from Syria, Rayburn warned that electricity from the Assad regime will not save the Lebanese electricity sector.

Caesar’s Law was imposed following the leaking of some violations carried out by Syrian Regime and its security institutions against the Syrian people, and this law aims to tighten the stranglehold on supporters of the Syrian Regime economically and militarily through companies and individuals that deal with it, and provide various kinds of support to it through neighboring countries and other countries, most notably Russia and Iran.

Caesar’s Law is named after a Syrian military photographer who smuggled almost 55,000 graphic photographs of the bodies of civilians tortured to death by the Syrian regime out of the country.

“I have seen horrendous pictures of bodies of people who had tremendous amounts of torture,” Caesar told lawmakers in 2015.