Helping Refugees from Syria and Iraq

On Monday afternoon, the Pi Sigma Alpha Political Science Honor Society held a lunchtime meeting on refugee issues.  The event featured Rami Al-Maqsadi, the former director of the Syrian Refugees Ministry with the international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse.  Al-Maqsadi spoke extensively about his first-hand experience working with refugees from Iraq and Syria, particularly emphasizing the challenges these displaced individuals face upon arriving in their new home country. Born in Bas...
More

Destroying the Islamic State: Answering the Boots on the Ground Question

Given President Barack Obama’s decision not to follow through with his “red line” after the Syrian regime’s sarin gas attack against rebel neighborhoods on August 21, 2013, it is difficult to believe any promises made by him regarding international affairs. On September 17th President Obama stated that “the American forces that have been deployed to Iraq do not and will not have a combat mission.” Assuming that this is a credible statement, the United States will not have any sort of troops, inc...
More

Turkey’s Conundrum in Syria

Since the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) rise to power in 2002 under the leadership of President (formerly Prime Minister) Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has pursued a foreign policy of “zero problems with neighbors.” However, Syria has been the crucial exception to this policy after Turkey cut ties with Syria in 2011 in response to Bashar al-Assad’s brutal crackdown on demonstrators. Since the severing of relations, Turkey has aided rebel groups by allowing free transit to Syrian rebel gro...
More

Starvation: Assad's Newest Weapon

It's been a while since I've talked about Syria, but that doesn't mean I've forgotten. And now, luckily for you, I'm back to keep you up to date. Amidst global scrutiny regarding the deployment of chemical weapons in Syria, Bashar al-Assad has turned to the past for a new way to inflict terror and suffering: starvation. Slate aptly calls starvation a "weapon of mass destruction," [1] and indeed it has been for centuries. notably against Jews in World War II and as part of siege in the Medieval ...
More

The Syrian Crisis: Massive Displacement

It’s no secret that massive displacement is, historically, a prominent side-effect of war; indeed, the social, political, and economic problems of refugees come into consideration for nearly every conflict. But the Syrian crisis, which will reach its two-year anniversary this March and shows few signs of potential abatement, is exceptional in the number of displaced residents that it has precipitated. The UN refugee council (UNHCR) estimates that 26,500 Syrians have fled to Jordan so far this mo...
More

Will Syrian Ceasefire Be A Success?

Over the past nineteen months, the crisis in Syria has escalated dramatically, and the death toll in the region has now exceeded 35,000.[i] And so long as President Bashar Assad retains power, projections for the future of Syria remain bleak. Considering Syria’s dire situation, it seems bizarre that the Syrian government and armed rebel groups would attempt a ceasefire for the duration of the Eid al-Adha holiday. But according to UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, this is exactly what may hap...
More