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University professors warn against U.S. intervention in Syria

During an hourlong panel titled “What’s Going On in Syria,” Georgia State professors spoke out against the violence in Syria and warned against U.S. intervention. 

Students and faculty members filled the Troy Moore Library in Langdale Hall on Monday Sept. 16 to hear a panel of four Middle East history experts and Georgia State professors discuss the crisis in Syria.

The panel offered concerned opinions on the Syrian civil war and possible U.S. intervention, but warned students that resolving the issue is not as easy as it seems.

“Nobody knows what’s going on in Syria, even the people in Syria,” Dr. Amira Jarmakani, associate professor of Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, said during a portion of the panel titled “Complexities of the Situation in save-syria_512c6da9d8524Syria.”

Fellow panelist, Dr. Rashid Naim, political science professor, echoed Jarmankani’s remark:

“The conflict is just as complex as [the] situations in Iraq,” Naim said.

Naim, who led the panel titltled “the Dangers and Dilemmas of the Syrian Civil Was,”  criticized any form of military action against Syria.

He told students that the United States failed to intervene in other conflicts prior to this incident, as well.

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Still, Dr. Allen Fromherz, of the department of history, said there is a scenario in which U.S. intervention would actually have a positive affect.

He referred to the theory as the “terrorist bogeyman” and said if religious unrest amongst the Sunni majority and Shiite minority continues, intervention may be necessary to prevent groups like al-Qaida from taking over.

Dr. Jack Williams, moderator for the panel, said even if students don’t have a religious or cultural connection to the Middle East, they are still connected to the issues as humans.

“We try to tap into our multidisciplinary faculty and engage the students at Georgia State to develop a greater understanding on these issues,” he said. “Because these issues are not going to be able to be contained and there will be repercussions throughout the world.”

During his press conference on Syria on Sept. 6, President Obama said Americans have a “moral responsibility” to act militarily against the Syrian government.

“Intervention, at least in the form the government has been talking about, is meaningless at this point,” Naim said.

Douglas Terrell, a third year Arabic student, says one of his Arabic classes always begins by discussing current news stories, so he attended the panel to hear what Middle East experts had to say.

“I really appreciate these professors for leading this discussion and sharing their expertise on this topic,” Terrell said.

The Middle East Institute, who hosted the event, said it hopes to have more panels like “What’s Going on in Syria?” throughout the semester.