Passport

The road to Damascus

Syria’s ambassador to Washington, Imad Moustapha, in an interview Thursday with Foreign Policy, complained that the Syrian government had approached the United States about cooperating to seal the Syria-Iraq border from foreign fighters — only to be repeatedly rebuffed by U.S. officials. This claim gained more credence today, as ABC News published an “exclusive” report ...

570861_081031_moustapha2.jpg

Syria’s ambassador to Washington, Imad Moustapha, in an interview Thursday with Foreign Policy, complained that the Syrian government had approached the United States about cooperating to seal the Syria-Iraq border from foreign fighters — only to be repeatedly rebuffed by U.S. officials. This claim gained more credence today, as ABC News published an “exclusive” report revealing that Gen. David Petraeus had proposed visiting Syria shortly after assuming command of U.S. forces in the Middle East. The general’s proposal, however, was quickly rejected by Bush administration officials.

This is less of a scoop than ABC would have its readers believe. Joshua Landis, an assistant professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Oklahoma who is sympathetic to the Syrian regime, reported back in August that General Petraeus tried to visit Syria in December 2007. However, there are signs that Petraeus remains skeptical about Syria’s stated desire for cooperation. Landis reported that “there are real issues at the border,” and that Petraeus’s interest in going to Syria stemmed in part from a desire “to read Syria the riot act about compliance [on border security].”

Moustapha also revealed in the interview that Sen. Joseph Lieberman personally assured him that a John McCain administration would be be inclined to sit and talk with Syria. Check it out.

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Trending Now Sponsored Links by Taboola

By Taboola

More from Foreign Policy

By Taboola