Mohammad Sabir Ismail

Source:Global Times Published: 2010-4-1 2:02:07


By Guo Yong’en

As Mohammad Sabir Ismail, Ambassador of Iraq, is approaching the end of his appointment in less than two months, Global Times invited Ambassador Ismail to the studio of the Chinese Online Global Times ( to talk to our Chinese and foreign audience about his experiences in China and his plans when he returns to Iraq.

Ambassador Ismail has been a resident in Beijing since 2004. He studied physics at the University of Baghdad in 1969 and received a PhD in Nuclear Physics from the University of Stockholm, Sweden in 1988.

Ambassador Ismail has over 32 years experience in politics and is fluent in Kurd-ish, Arabic, English, Swedish and French. Besides his political career, Ambassador Ismail is the author of many scientific publications and has over 20 years experience in physics as an academic researcher and professor. Here is a selection of questions posed by our online audience to Ambassador Ismail.

How many Iraqis are there in Beijing?

There aren't that many Iraqis in Beijing. Most of the Iraqi people living in China are in Guangzhou and Yiwu. Those two cities have more than three to four thousand Iraqi people and most of them are working in trade and business. But in Beijing, there are about 60 to 70 Iraqi people.

What do Iraqi people think about China?

The Iraqi people see China as a great country and great people because China has achieved many great things in a short time and China has made much contribution to world peace. That's why the Iraqi people look at China as a model to develop Iraq as a country.

Based on your five years experience in China, how do you like China?

I like China very much and the achievements… of China for the past 30 years are wonderful. No one could imagine in the past 30 years, China became the first economic pilot of the world. And also, it became the first country to have a strong currency during the financial crisis. I think that China came out, you can say safely, not like other countries that were affected by the financial crisis, which also affected the life of the people. Even look at what happened after the Sichuan disaster, the Chinese leadership could deal with that problem in a very proper way and in a short time. I like China very much and I'm very impressed with what China is doing.

What is the situation in Iraq now? Is it safe there?

The situation in Iraq is improving day by day. If you make a comparison of now and 2005, the situation is more stable and has improved very much. Also, the economy is blooming. I don't say that we have no problems and now we are still facing a little bit of challenges [ from] terrorist activities that would lead to killing innocent people. The Iraqi people and government try our best to overcome terrorist activities. It takes time but Iraq assures that our people and our government have the capability to overcome these kind of tragedies. It's not easy to build a democratic country in the heart of the Middle East surrounded by many powerful countries. But I think the stability of Iraq will affect the peace in the Middle East as well as the peace in the world. Therefore, I hope the international community will support and maintain the future stability of Iraq. We are also trying to do our best to improve and protect the life of our people and to go ahead for the economic and political process in our country.


When will the war end in Iraq?

There is no war in Iraq. There are 18 provinces in Iraq and there may be some political problems in some cities from time to time like Baghdad. Of these 18 provinces, 15 of them are secure. And now if you compare the number of terrorist actions in Baghdad and some other cities in Iraq, even like in Pakistan, there's no comparison and there is no war. As you know the terrorist activities have become a national thing…it's a bit difficult to overcome such kind of threats in a short time. We can also look at many countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, the UK, Spain and even in China, that's why it's a duty for the international community to cooperate together to fight terrorism. It is one of the most dangerous problems, we're trying our best to overcome it and we also need assistance from the international community to support Iraq to fight terrorism.

Where can we find Iraqi food in town?

For this, I don't know. I think the culture [of dining] in China and Iraq has many similarities… but in Guangzhou and Yiwu, there are many Iraqi restaurants. The ingredients to make Iraqi food exist in every city of China, for example, when our embassy invites diplomatic people for dinner or a reception, we provide the guests with Iraqi food. In Beijing, there are two to three restaurants where you can find some of our food. Not exactly the same but you can still find some similarities. But Inner Mongolian and Muslim food in Beijing are very similar to Iraqi food.

What are you going to miss most about China when you leave?

My friends, both Chinese and from the diplomatic missions. And of course, the way of life in Beijing…I like it here but I'll miss mostly my friends in China.

What is your most cheerful memory of China?

It's hard to say. There are many good memories of China because it is a great country. When I first came here, I read a book and the author says that if you're in China for one week, you can write a book; but if you stay for three months, maybe you can write two to three articles about China; but if you stay longer, then you won't be able to write anything. What he means is that China is so big and the diversity is huge, the culture and the minorities and everything are great to learn about.

What are your plans when you return to Iraq?

First of all, when I return to Iraq, I'll be in Baghdad. I don't know what my job will be, but probably may return to one of the departments related to Asia…I don't know but that's my official job. I'll try to continue my contact and relationship with China… I have friends from all sectors and they're entrepreneurs, politicians and businessmen in China. I also have a plan to write a book about China and my experiences during my stay. cn


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