The United States Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs is offering a substantial sum of money to NGOs to promote their foreign policy agenda in Syria, including the removal of “Iranian forces and proxies” from Syrian territory and providing assistance and finance to opposition groups.
In a program with a $75,000,000 budget, the U.S. is seeking to “ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS and counter violent extremism, including other extremist groups in Syria”, “achieve a political solution to the Syrian conflict under the auspices of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2254” and “end the presence of Iranian forces and proxies in Syria.”
The proposal does not make any suggestions as to how these policies should be achieved, nor take into account the fact that Syria is a sovereign state.
Perhaps the most alarming of the stated aims of the project is the goal of ending “the presence of Iranian forces and proxies”, forces that are in the country at the behest of the Syrian government.
“The Department of State’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Office of Assistance Coordination (NEA/AC) aims to advance these policy objectives by supporting the following assistance objectives… Counter extremism and disinformation perpetuated by Iranian forces, designated terrorist organizations, and other malign actors through support for local governance actors and civil society organizations”
The scale of the operation will comprise both government-controlled areas and the Idlib governorate, currently still infested by militants. The operation will be based out of Germany and Turkey.
“Applicants must have experience implementing programs in conflict environments, including experience working on Syria, and should demonstrate they are able to secure all necessary legal paperwork and German government permissions to manage activities out of Berlin, Germany where other USG Syria stabilization implementing partners are based. Likewise, the applicant should demonstrate its understanding of and ability to obtain all necessary legal paperwork and Turkish government permissions to manage activities out of Turkey should the need to do so arise during the course of the award. Applicants must demonstrate their ability to deliver cash into Syria, provide technical assistance and training inside of Syria, manage stabilization programs in complex environments, produce analytical research on conflict dynamics, and manage monitoring and evaluation.”
The successful proposal will also be expected to undermine the existing Syrian government by providing “subawards, stipends, operational costs and technical assistance” to opposition groups.
Support Political Transition
Process Assistance may include but is not limited to subawards, stipends and operational costs, and technical assistance to individuals engaged in the political negotiation process:
• Provide technical support to the Syrian political opposition to engage in the Constitutional Committee process and other diplomatic efforts in support of UNSCR 2254;
• Provide financial and technical support, including operational costs and stipends for selected individuals advancing the political transition process; and
• Enhance the organizational capacity of Syrian political opposition bodies engaged in the political transition process.
The full opportunity, with appendices, can be viewed online Here.