Dr. Edward Lynch, (left), John P. Wheeler Professor of Political Science at Hollins University, met with the leader of Kurdistan and Libya’s Ambassador to the United States during the Fourth Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA), held November 3 – 4 in Arlington, Virginia.
Lynch talked with Barham Salih, Prime Minister of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, following His Excellency’s remarks at a luncheon on Friday, November 4. “He spoke of the remarkable economic, political and social progress of the region since the end of the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003,” Lynch said. “Foreign investment is flowing into the region, and roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects are being built.”
During his meeting with Salih, Lynch received an invitation to visit Kurdistan.
Lynch queried Ali Suleiman Aujali, Ambassador of Libya to the United States, at the conference’s opening reception.
“He gave a soothing description of what he called ‘the new Libya,’ and told us not to worry about radical Islam, weapons of mass destruction, or links to terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda,” Lynch recalled. “I asked the Ambassador what sort of relationship the ‘new Libya’ would have with the state of Israel. Clearly taken aback by the question, he responded that Libya is a member of the Arab League. The League has stated that if Israel withdraws from the ‘occupied territories,’ its members will consider normal relations. He also called upon ASMEA members to persuade U.S. representatives to put pressure on Israel to bring about the withdrawal.”
Lynch added, “My question caused quite a stir, and I was told it and the Ambassador’s non-committal answer will be featured among the conference highlights on ASMEA’s web page.”
Lynch is an Academic Fellow of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy, which is affiliated with ASMEA. He also presented a paper on U.S. relations with Uganda at the conference.