Islamic Party of Iraq Meets with Syrian President
The Secretary General of the Sunni, Iraqi “Islamic Party,” Muhsin Abd al-Hamid, met yesterday with Bashar al-Asad, the president of Syria, in Damascus. Al-Asad’s office issued a communiqué afterwards affirming Syria’s empathy with the Iraqi people and its commitment to working for the continued unity of Iraq, both with regards to its public and its territory, in preparation for the return of complete sovereignty to it. A source in the Syrian government said that Abd al-Hamid and his delegation concurred with al-Asad’s sentiments.
The Islamic Party has a seat on the US-appointed Interim Governing Council, and this visit is part of IGC regional diplomacy. What is interesting is that al-Asad is an Alawi (a form of Syrian folk Shiism) and the Baath regime in Syria has been hard on Syrian Sunni fundamentalists, though things are not as dire as they used to be. Someone like Abd al-Hamid might well be in jail if he were a Syrian. So it is worth noting that Bashar was willing to meet with him, and that they found things to agree about.