HUB discussion on Syria explores conflict

On Tuesday at 5 p.m. SSU hosted a discussion about the ongoing issues in Syria. The discussion was attended by students and professors and put on by the associated students. The discussion was located at the HUB, which is known for being SSUs integral center for diversity, vitality, and creativity.  

In March 2011 civil war took place in Syria, which has led to over 100,000 dead and over one million refugees. Attacks started when protestors demanded President Bashar al-Assad to resign. The Syrian Army was ordered to fire upon all protestors.  In response, rebels have formed and started to fight back.  

The attendees openly discussed many topics and issues, asking questions and opinionating their thoughts. Conversation included but was not limited to; the U.S getting involved in Syria, the biochemical actions act, humanitarian morals for chemical warfare and interaction, securing chemical weapons in Syria, countries supplying chemical weapons, going to war, and how many soldiers it would take to secure Syria’s weapons.  

CNN reports that the United States believes that Syrian forces led by President Bashar al-Assad, used chemical weapons to attack his people. This belief has triggered global attention.  

The Huffington Post reports that the White House concluded that over 1,000 civilians have died as a result of chemical weapon attacks. President Barack Obama believes that there needs to be action and consequences.  

Obama was quick to respond, bringing a resolution to Congress asking them for permission to grant limited military strikes on Syria, including airstrikes.  

“Seeing what has happened recently in Syria, I feel something has to be done.  I felt like al-Assad abused his power by killing innocent people and no person should be attacked by the government in their own country. Obama has so far done the right thing, by not taking these issues lightly,” said student Armahn Mokhtari.   

ABC News reports that Obama has now asked congressional leaders to delay the vote due to recent Russian involvement. Russia announced their plan for placing Syria’s chemical weapons under international control and Syria has agreed to do so. Diplomacy has stalled Obama’s actions and military threats. 

“Going to war was one of the main topics we talked about in the HUB, especially going to war to exploit resources,” said student Nick Graves.  

“I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo,” said Obama.

“If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons,” Obama said. “As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using it.”  

On Saturday, Russia and the U.S came to agreement with Syria. Syria must submit a “comprehensive listing” of its chemical weapons stockpiles within the next week said Secretary of State John Kerry.  Also, the United Nations plan to have to weapon inspectors in Syria no later than Nov.  

“The goal is for the complete destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons by the middle of 2014,” said Kerry.  

Bernadette Butkiewics, the legislative affairs and special projects coordinator of the associated students, plans for another discussion on Syria late next week. Look for signs in Stevenson and Darwin quads for the next discussion. Also, take a look at sonoma.edu/as for more information regarding Associated Students.