UA expert says Congress' debate on Syria is a good thing - Tucson News Now

UA expert says Congress' debate on Syria is a good thing

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Congress is debating and discussing the implications of a United States' strike on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

It's a situation that has the U.S. having to take a long look at itself and its role in the world.

We talked Tuesday with a University of Arizona expert on Syria who has been watching the situation unfold there since it all began some two years ago.

Dr. Leila Hudson is an Associate Professor and Associate Director of the UA School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies.

She says the Middle East is accustomed to shock and awe from the U.S., but that didn't happen, giving Assad time to position his weapons in mosques and schools and in neighborhoods to maximize the use of human shields.

Hudson says, in light of that, a few weeks of congressional debate would be a good thing, especially if the U.S. chooses to attack.

"The strategy needs to be re-assessed, and new intelligence needs to be put into the process so that the strike can be as targeted , as effective and as sort of strategic with the sharp--and tactically sharp as it can be," Hudson says.

Hudson says another question that should be debated as part of the decision on whether to attack is about the United States' role in the world.

Should the country retain its reputation as the world's policeman?

Hudson says, how Congress votes will be a clear expression of where the U.S. stands on its global role.

She asks, for instance, what would happen if Congress decides not to support President Obama and his desire to strike at Syria.

"What would be the longer term results of that? We will see a world in which we have ceded that to other parties, to other players--certainly within the region and at a global level as well. And that will be another page," Hudson says.

Hudson says her understanding is that a U.S. attack would require no American boots on the ground, and would have to weaken the Assad regime and strengthen the military and political organization of the moderate opposition.

Hudson says the moderate opposition includes moderate Syrian civilians along with a large number of high level defectors from the Assad regime, especially the Syrian army.

She says the Free Syrian Army would be the partner that would be the boots on the ground.

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