International affairs group hosts panel discussion

International affairs group hosts panel discussion

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The crisis in the Middle East was the central topic in a panel discussion hosted by the International Affairs Group of Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Feb. 27 in the Memorial Student Union Building.

Dozens of students and faculty of the university attended the discussion, which focused on the rise of ISIS and the causes of the problem.

Political science professors Richard Hartwig, Nirmal Goswami and Mario Carranza led the discussion on how the crisis in the Middle East began.

Carranza gave three reasons that ISIS was able to gain a foothold in the Middle East: the repressive government in Iraq which did not integrate Sunni Muslims in the political process, lack of pressure on the Iraqi government from the United States and the Civil War in Syria.

Unlike other terrorist groups, ISIS has been successful in conquering and holding territory, Carranza said.

Goswami stressed that the Middle East can’t be looked at as a general region, but rather a group of different countries with different cultures.

“If you view it as one block, you will miss the difference of each country,” Goswami said.

Although ISIS carries out their violence in the name of Isalm, Muslims are the ones who are hurting most from it, Goswami said.

“The victims of terrorism have largely been Muslim,” Goswami said.

After each professor gave their findings, students and faculty in attendance were able to weigh in on the issue.

One student quoted the Qu’ran, noting that violence was not permitted by the standards of the Islamic holy book.

Yousef Al-Murad, engineering student, also brought up different influence in the region, including the United States, Russia and China.

“There are a lot of hidden agendas in the Middle East,” Al-Murad said.

The solution to the problem, however, is not as clear. The U.S. resorted to using force since September in an effort to wipe out ISIS.

Carranza did say, however, that ISIS wouldn’t be around for much longer, since no governments have recognized ISIS as a state.

In fact, the countries that resent them most are the ones ISIS is trying to represent, he said.

“They’ve managed to make an enemy out of every Muslim country in the world,” Carranza said.

The panel discussion was coordinated by TAMUK’s International Affairs Group, who are hoping to hold other talks like this one in the future.