Professor: Americans should pay attention to Syrian conflict

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Reporter - Kendall Downing

CARBONDALE, Ill. - With United States intervention appearing likely, what does the Syrian political tension mean for everyday Americans?

A local political science professor said any action could spark an all-out war.

Dr. Stephen Shulman is a political science professor at SIU-Carbondale. He's always got one eye on research and this week another on the events unfolding in Syria.

"It's a bit of a powder keg, that's right," he said.

Shulman said Americans should be watching.

"I think the concern for the average American is the risk of escalation here," he said.

Escalation, because even a small strike against Syria by the United States may send the region into a tailspin. Iran is an ally of Syria's Assad regime.

"If we're going to go after the Assad regime, then we're going to have to deal with the fallout from Iran," he said.

We talked to a number of international students from the Middle East on SIU's Carbondale campus Wednesday. Many of them from Saudi Arabia said they were concerned about the potential conflict, but they wouldn't talk on camera.

One student said his country told them not to talk about politics.

In the short-term Shulman said oil prices will spike because of the tension. But travel analysts don't expect gas prices to follow the trend because of the time of year. Summer travel is winding down, and demand for gas is lower.

"Even if it doesn't have important ramifications in day-to-day life in the United States, I think those are important issues," said Shulman.

Shulman said he'll be watching both the scope and intensity of U.S. Involvement in Syria in the coming days.

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