Following a deadly chemical weapon attack on civilians, the now six-year-long Syrian civil war is once again in the international spotlight, provoking condemnation, speculation, and in the case of the U.S., a direct attack.
This week on Noon Edition, our panelists discussed the rising tension between the U.S., Russia and Syria, and what is likely to happen going forward.
Iman Alramadan is a Professor at Indiana University, is Syrian American, and has friends and family still in Syria. She says she constantly fears for their well-being and for the well-being of her home country.
“I am a very positive person, I love life, I love everybody and I smile a lot, even when I cry,” Alramadan says. “But when it comes to my country, I have this fear, this inside fear, which I can’t show on my face. It’s inside because I’m a mom and I have to be strong for the sake of my children. But when they are not around me, or anybody around me I cry, I cry so much. Because you don’t know what’s going on over there.”
“I’m in a phone chat, a group chat with my family, and if I don’t hear anything from them for 24 hours, that drives me crazy. Because I know that bombs are here and there, I know that people are dying.
But unfortunately the immediate future is quite bleak for Syria, given the embattled Assad regime and the extreme amount if factions fighting for control of the country.
Between a brutal dictator in Assad and ISIS having a stake in Syria, the complex war has made it difficult for the international community to come to agreement in how to treat the situation in Syria.
Indiana University Professor Jamsheed Choksy thinks that Assad knows his days are numbered, and that he needs to cede control of the country.
“There may be a way to move Assad off the scene, it is hard for him to remain there, given that, this is something your listeners may or may not know, that more than 90 percent of the deaths in Syria are caused by the regime ultimately, and not even by ISIS,” Choksy says.
Bob Hall, leader of Grassroots Conservatives, feels that the current situation in Syrian can be blamed partially on President Obama’s treatment of the war.
“President Obama drew red lines, but let Syria go through them,” Hall says.
Hall says he’s also unsure about President Trump’s efforts thus far.
“President Trump, I am a big supporter of his, but he didn’t go to Congress and get any authorization,” Hall says. “And I am uncomfortable with us going in to other countries without that authorization.”
Bloomington Peace Action Coalition Spokesperson David Keppel stresses the need for diplomacy to be used in foreign affairs.
“You have to be able to see the thing from the other side’s point of view, or you’re going to have a catastrophe,” Keppel says. “And we have to understand how this looks to China, how this looks to Russia, and we have to engage in risk reduction. As unimaginable as it may seem, we could stumble back into a strategic arms races with very serious risk of a nuclear war.”