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“They housed Hamas [terrorists] … and the list goes on and on about the problems that Syria and specifically, Bashar Assad, has caused the region and the world, and the United States of America.”

TOPPLING TYRANTS

The Iraqi ambassador is encouraged by the uprisings in the Arab world and thinks his country’s transition to democracy “might have inspired” some of the anti-government demonstrators.

“Iraq might have inspired some and might have deterred some,” Ambassador Samir Sumaida’ie said on a visit to Vermont this week.

He was referring to the initial “turmoil and chaos” after the United States ousted dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003. A U.S.-led coalition government eventually brought order, and power later was transferred to an elected Iraqi government.

“When it is the people themselves, it is a different issue, and we see now people are encouraged in the Arab countries to move against their tyrants,” he said at St. Michael’s College in Colchester. “I think that is very encouraging.”

Mr. Sumaida’ie also thanked the Vermont National Guard for its service in Iraq. He was due to address the state General Assembly on Tuesday.

* Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.