The View from Damascus
Sometimes the best offense is a good defense
Published: Friday, July 01, 2005
Frank, friendly, uninhibited, and at times even emotional is an accurate description of the exchanges that took place during an off-the-record session between Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha and a group of faculty and students at the Center for Near East Studies on June 2.
Immediately after his public lecture in UCLA's Ackerman Ballroom, the Syrian Ambassador joined a select group of Political Science and Islamic Studies students and faculty from UCLA, USC and Chapman College in a probing examination of Syrian-Lebanese relations, the prospects for a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine dispute, the fallout from recent political assassinations in Lebanon, and the nature and pace of political reform in Syria.
Dr. Moustapha, who is a professor of Computer Science as well as a frequently published political commentator, defended the policies of the Asad government with skill, vigor and unfailing good humor—despite the steady stream of challenging questions concerning Syrian political history from the consensual occupation of Lebanon in 1976 to Syria's recent reluctant withdrawal.