Archive for Friday, January 17, 1992

MIDEAST STUDENTS POINT TO THE SAD LEGACY OF GULF WAR

January 17, 1992

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The anniversary of the start of the Persian Gulf War marks a moment in history that carries an unhappy legacy, says a Kansas University student from Egypt.

"It's not easily forgotten it's going to be in our memories for the rest of our lives," said Saleh Magram, a KU graduate student in environmental engineering from Saudi Arabia.

"There were a lot of problems created," Magram said. "It created problems between different people."

Magram, who has been in the United States the last year, said he was saddened by the thousands of people killed, or left homeless or hungry by the war.

He also said there is little change in the region because Saddam Hussein remains in control in Iraq, and the Iraqi population now endures greater hardships than before the war.

"I BLAME Saddam and his stupidity," for the human and environmental cost of the war, Magram said.

But, he added, "People are really looking negatively at what the U.S. government did."

Bahaa Safadi, who owns a local real estate development company, said he also was saddened by the war, and added that he could see no benefits from it.

"I didn't really believe that the war was needed," said Safadi, originally from Jordan. "I still believe the sanctions would've worked."

"The U.S. should not be teaching that might makes right," he said. "When you see a crazy man," such as Saddam Hussein, Safadi said, "you don't get to his level. This is what this war was."

HE SAID the Iraqi problem could have been taken care of through "covert actions and sanctions" instead of an all-out war, which he said did not remove the primary problem Saddam Hussein.

"The victims were the civilians and the environment," he said.

Safadi also said he didn't think the war was responsible for the release of U.S. hostages from Lebanon. The relative political stability there, he said, made their release possible.

However, not all students and local residents from the region said the war brought no benefits.

"I think one of the major impacts of the war is the need for democracy," said Hamed Ghazali, religious leader for the Islamic Center of Lawrence. Ghazali, a KU graduate student in civil engineering from Egypt, said there is tremendous pressure on the government of Kuwait to allow democracy in the country.

"THERE ARE a lot of psychological and social problems and all of this is hopefully leading to democracy," he said.

Ghazali said the start of Mideast peace talks may be result of the allied victory over Iraq, but only because it gave the United States the ability to apply more pressure to both sides to hasten the negotiations process.

However, he said issues surrounding the Arab-Isreali conflict are not connected to the war and will not be negotiated quickly.

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