Genie Energy founder Howard Jonas with U.S. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY) at NORPAC (2013).
The Syria Accountability Act of 2003, formally known as the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act (SALSRA), was one of the main economic weapons deployed against Syria following 9/11. The sanctions that it imposed would lead to instability preceding the Syrian Civil War.
This form of economic warfare was also applied to Iran and Venezuela.
The main sponsor of the bill, U.S. Representative Eliot Engel (D-NY), introduced it into the House on April 12th, 2003 alongside then-U.S. Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) before it was signed into law by then-U.S. President George W. Bush on December 12th, 2003.
In 2013, in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack conducted in Ghouta, Syria, then-U.S. President Barack Obama asked U.S. Congress to authorize military action against the country—an early draft of the authorization cited the bill.
But what really drove this move?
One of the main figures standing behind Engel and Ros-Lehtinen is billionaire Howard Jonas—founder of Genie Energy. Genie Energy was primarily created as a spin-off to explore for oil, which it did find, in Syrian territory occupied by Israel—namely the Golan Heights. The only thing in its way? Syria's government.
Jonas routinely donates $5,000 to NORPAC, putting him in the "Presidential Cabinet," and is often photographed with the most prominent attendees at NORPAC gatherings. Jonas also donates to Engel directly and has maintained this since the late 1980s.
Engel in-turn receives funding from NORPAC, with the organization typically being his top contributor, while he attends events to meet with "constituents" such as Jonas.
Ros-Lehtinen too, is involved with NORPAC, having been hosted before while receiving funding on a regular basis. NORPAC is also a top contributor. She would later be honored in Israel for her consistent service to the country, while meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, before retirement.
She was the lead Republican advancing the Syria Accountability Act in 2003, which set up the architecture for the U.S.-led isolation of the country after the Assad regime’s bloody repression of a civilian uprising in 2011.
Netanyahu remarked at the time that Ros-Lehtinen was a "defender of Israel," following her support for $38 billion to Israel, as well as condemning Charlottesville.
One of the issues this demonstrates, is that one of the earliest weapons of regime change used against Syria via economic sanctions, was directly backed by Genie Energy's founder and Jewish lobbying efforts with seemingly uncontested hegemony over U.S. policies—with these efforts also being driven by potential private gain.
Genie Energy, of course, was involved in the Trump administration when it bombed Syria—a particularly major conflict of interest. U.S. President Donald Trump recently signed a decree in the Oval Office giving Israel the Golan Heights, which is contested territory that belongs to Syria, while meeting with Netanyahu.
Apart from oil or other important resources such as water, the other portion of interests held by Genie Energy and parent company IDT Corporation pertains to Israeli settlements. Like others involved with the self-proclaimed Zionist corporation, including settlers, Jonas opted to live in Israel.
When the Syria Accountability Act was first implimented by the Bush administration, Syria responded by stating that it was actually "Israeli policy."
If the bill becomes law, its sanctions would be a serious blow to Syrian President Bashar Assad's goal of liberalizing the country's economy.
Syria's statement at the time may be more true than they realized, since Jonas is also Netanyahu's second largest donor, and their activities together through the Trump administration have amounted to quid pro quo for Israel.
So yes, Genie Energy did play a part in instigating the Syrian Civil War.