For economic reasons, of course.
Syria And Iraq Revive Business Ties
by Deborah Amos
All Things Considered, June 24, 2009 · Syria's border with Iraq has long been a line of tension. The U.S. and the Iraqi government have accused Syria of allowing foreign fighters to cross into Iraq. But these days, the border is a potential business asset, as Syria looks to Iraq to help improve its economy.
This month, a new freight rail line opened between Syria's port cities of Tartous and Latakia on the Mediterranean, and Iraq's port city of Basra on the Persian Gulf. The first freight cars, loaded with automobiles from Europe, ended up in the Baghdad market. Syria offers a faster and cheaper route than the traditional transit through the Suez Canal.
The new railway is a sign that Damascus and Baghdad are eager to revive business ties, says Samir Seifan, a Syrian economist.
"The atmosphere is getting better and [more] positive. The two sides [understand] that they should work together," Seifan says.
He notes that Iraq is a booming market for products that Syria exports. It's a partnership based on economic necessity: Syria is running out of oil — production is down by 30 percent — and for the first time, the national budget is in deficit.