By Emily Anne Espinosa |Staff Writer|
Students, faculty, and community members gathered to discuss the cause, conditions, and motivations behind the Syrian War.
For the panel event, “The Syrian War and U.S. Role in the Region,” two guest speakers engaged in an insightful discussion, speaking with information gathered from individual research, experience, and concluded with a Q&A session with the audience.
The event was hosted by the Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, the University Diversity Committee, the Communication Studies department, and the Muslim Student Association (MSA).
“The purpose of this event was to acknowledge the students on campus and whoever showed up, acknowledge the U.S. involvement in Syria, acknowledge the crisis that’s happening there and what could happen,” said MSA Public Relations Officer, Mohammad Salahat.
The panel consisted of two expert panelists and one moderator.
Dr. David Yaghoubian from the History department served as moderator for the event.
The two panelists taking part in the event gave either a presentation or a speech.
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Marashi, panelist and History Professor at CSU, San Marcos, is known for his publications on modern Iraqi history, presented on the similarities between the Spanish Civil War and the Syrian War, analyzing the similar dynamics found in each war.
In his presentation, Al-Marashi compared the military, government, ideologies, culture, foreign relations, geography, and economics of each civil war.
“The comparison is this: they’re both civil wars. I’m not saying, by no means, that the rebels in Syria equal to the anarchist militias in Barcelona,” said Al-Marashi.
Other panelists were Dr. As’ad AbuKhalil, a professor of Political Science at CSU, Stanislaus, who is known for his publications on the war on terrorism, Islam, and the Middle East.
“My purpose was to participate in the public debate about the U.S. role in Syria particularly as the U.S. election will determine what course U.S. foreign policy will take in the coming years,” stated AbuKhalil.
In response to Al-Marashi’s presentation on the Spanish Civil War and it’s similarities to the Syrian War, AbuKhalil discussed differences in motivations, ideologies, and participants between the two civil wars, as well as the role of the U.S. in conflicts in the Middle East.
“With the Syrian rebel scene, we are not talking about dreamers, communists, or anarchists. We are talking about people who want to put women in prisons,” said AbuKhalil.
After the panelists presented their topics, the floor opened into a Q&A discussion with students, faculty, and community members.
During the Q&A, attendees asked questions relating to the differences between the Spanish Civil War and Syrian Civil War, the U.S. role in Middle East conflicts, how to help the Syrian refugees, the role of media, the diversity in ideologies within Islam, the No-Fly Zone, foreign involvement from Russia and China, and the legitimacy of the Syrian government.
“It really helped build a sort of vision of both sides and that’s one of the main reasons why I came to this event, to basically figure out why there are these depictions of one country,” said student Laurence Bituin.