Columbia Professor Weighs in on US Intervention in Syria

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COLUMBIA - As Congress debated President Obama's call to intervene in Syria, one Columbia College professor weighed in Tuesday. Dr. Brian Kessel, professor of international relations, said the US has a few options in Syria, but some sort of limited military strike would be a legitimate option.

Syria has been in a civil war for the past two years. Recently, evidence shows that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to fight Syrian rebels. The use of chemical weapons is banned under international law. Dr. Kessel said a limited military strike would signal disapproval of the use of chemical weapons.

Dr. Kessel said the humanitarian crisis in Syria is also a reason for US involvment since nearly 100,000 people being killed. 

 "The idea of US intervention in Syria is not a popular one," Kessel said. "Only about 30 percent of the people in the US agree with intervention in Syria."

On Saturday, President Obama announced he would seek approval from Congress to begin military intervention. He did not call a special session, however. Kessel said he believes the reason the president asked for Congressional approval is to appease both sides.

Members of Congress met Tuesday to discuss military options. Republican leader and House Speaker John Boehner announced Tuesday afternoon he supports President Obama's call for militarty intervention in Syria.

Kessel has been teaching at Columbia College for the past 13 years.