Iowa Experts Await Syria Vote - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Iowa Experts Await Syria Vote

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by Phil Prazan


With President Obama calling on Congress to approve a resolution calling for a strike on Syria, Iowa experts are weighing in.

They say the decision to go into Syria is so difficult in part, because of how long we've been watching the civil war there unfold.

In June, President Obama drew a "red line," saying the use of chemical weapons would bring punishment from the international community. But when U.S. Intelligence reported Bashar al Assad and the Alawite Syrian Government used sarin gas on civilians including children, decisions had to be made.

Syria's ally Russia blocks any action from the United Nations.  Then last week Britain's parliament voted to do nothing, forcing President Obama to go to his usual opponents in Congress.
"He wants someone else to say 'I'm responsible for it too,' in case it doesn't work out," explains Charles Dobbs, a Professor of Diplomatic History at Iowa State University.
"We're talking about the U.S. who's been for years and years involved.  Sometimes pro, sometimes anti, sometimes supporting Israel or other regimes and the question should be how should we intervene, because you're already involved," says Jean-Pierre Taoutel, a senior lecturer at Iowa State.

With the President asking Congress to give him the authority to attack, Taoutel says: "If action is taken it needs to be quickly."

"I believe the Senate will barely support the President's resolution.  The House will not support it.  With a divided Congress it'd be difficult for the President to act," predicts Dobbs.

"Everyone in the world doesn't have to get a safe ride on the back of the brave American military and the American taxpayer.  The rest of the world can step up and the best way to do it is through the United Nations," says Dobbs.

"Is it acceptable that today in the 21st century you have people being gassed and nobody reacts?" asks Taoutel.

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