The Syrian Ambassador gave a lecture at Grinnell College Monday on the challenges facing his country and the Middle East. Imad Moustapha says Syria is doing what it can to help improve the situation in Iraq. He says they’re “saving no effort to help bring all Iraqi parties together.”
Moustapha says they continuously invite the “defense partners” in Iraq to come to Damascus and talk to each other, as he says they believe that will help stabilize the situation in Iraq.
Moustapha says his country did not get along well with deposed Iraqi President Sadam Hussein. He says it was a terrible relationship for 30 years without diplomatic relations and Moustapha says when the U.S. liberated Kuwait, Syrian troops fought alongside U.S. troops.
Moustapha says Syria does not like the way the U.S. is handling the nuclear situation in the Middle East. Moustapha says, “What annoys us is the fact that the United States has a double standard approach to the nuclear issue in the Middle East.” He says, “While Israel continues to stockpile nuclear weapons the United States is putting hell on Iran (for Iran’s nuclear program).”
Moustapha says they’re not supporting or criticizing the U.S., but says they want to see a ban on all weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, from biological, chemical to nuclear.
One Grinnell College student at the lecture is from Bahgdad, Iraq. Ahmed Ali says there’s one thing they need to win in Iraq. He says, “The only weapon that we have in Iraq is optimism and hope, because without those two things we should just stop doing whatever we’re doing right now and give up to what other people want to do in Iraq.” Ali says he’s very hopeful about the future. He says people have to be patient and keep working to make progress.
Ali says it’s just been three years and you can’t change 30 years of problems that quickly. He says Iraqis have to realize it will take time, and he says the future is very promising.
Ali hopes to be part of the solution when he returns to Iraq. He says he wants to help the country democratize and understand the concept of democracy, which he says is very new to the country. Ali says,”People need to realize we could gain so much out of it.” He says even if they don’t see results right away, future generations will gain from what they’re doing. Ali graduates in two weeks and will then head back to Iraq.