September 7, 2013, Venue: India International Centre
Chief Guest: H.E. Riad Kamel Abbas, Syrian Ambassador to India
Speakers: Dr. Ashwini Mohapatra, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
Dr. Wael Awwad, Noted Syrian Journalist
Syrian Ambassador to India H.E. Riad Kamel Abbas outrightly denied that the Syrian government is behind chemical attack in the country. He, however, did not reject the idea of having chemical weapons. He said that chemical weapons can be a deterrent to a nuclear-powered neighbor. H.E Kamel Abbas also rejected the very contention that there is sectarian divide in the country, rather he highlighted that the three most important ministers are from the Sunni community which include Home, Defense and Foreign ministries. On the question of interference of organizations like Al-Qaida and Hezbollah, the Syrian Ambassador said, while the former is a terror outfit, the later is a political outfit.
- Chemical weapons can be a deterrent against a nuclear-powered neighbor.
- Al-Qaida is a terror organization that attacks everyone but interestingly excludes Israel while Hezbollah is a resistance movement which attacks only Israel and is friendly with the rest. Thus while one is a terror outfit the other is a political outfit. - His Excellency Riad Kamel Abbas,
Noted Syrian journalist Wael Awwad is of the opinion that action of the US in West Asia is helping Muslim Brotherhood in spreading its paw. Muslim Brotherhood with the help of the USA, is raking havoc in West Asia in terms of spreading undemocratic, authoritarian and communal tyranny. Planned US attack on Syria could also be a way to reduce the dependency of Europe on Russian gas. He further said that Al-Qaida is the common enemy of both India and Syria, so India must mediate to sort out the current problem.
Prof. Ashwini Mohapatra of Centre for West Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, said Syria is the only natural state in the region as most of the states were created by imperial powers. Mohapatra added that the recent action of the US would help spreading Wahhabism in West Asia. People of Syria are of the liberal outlook but recent US activities are forcing them towards radical Islam. Instead of helping the Syrians in their fight with radical Islam, USA finds itself in a tacit understanding with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Prof. Rakesh Sinha asserted the need of strong democratic credentials in international affairs, close association of countries facing common problems so that global problems like Syria could be solved through diplomacy.