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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Roundtable talks Islamic State issue

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In hopes of providing audience members with a deeper understanding of the current turmoil in the Middle East, the Scowcroft Institute and MSC Wiley hosted a second SIIA Middle East Round Table panel Wednesday.
Topics brought up during the discussion included the Islamic State group and the state of the Egyptian economy. Reyko Huang, assistant professor of international affairs at the Bush School, said while the Islamic State group is often described as a unique among terrorists, its tactics are not new.
“In terms of governance, organization, I don’t think that what we’re seeing with ISIS is anything new, and I think it’s important to keep that in mind,” Huang said.
Even its level of violence is nothing new, Huang said.
“If beheadings and mass killings are the favorite tool of ISIS, it was systematic rape and mass killings and ethnic cleansing in Bosnia,” Huang said. “It was rape and amputations in Mozambique and Sierra Leone. Again, I don’t think that even their level of violence is unusual. Mass killings, mass starvations, mass disappearances, they have been a constant feature, unfortunately, of human history and human warfare.”
Huang said the medias role in portraying the Islamic State group as a unique group plays into the group’s propaganda.
Erin Snider, assistant professor at the Bush School, focuses her research on Egypt. She said Egypt’s transition from authoritarian rule to democracy is complicated and ongoing.
“Democracy is an extraordinarily complicated and long process with lots of setbacks at one point, lots of advances in different areas, and I think that it was very easy for many people to get discouraged the first year after the uprisings in 2011,” Snider said.
Snider was in Egypt during the uprising and said she was surprised to see where the Egyptian people are now compared to where they came from. Many of the original protests have yet to be resolved, and reform is still underway.
Breanna McKnight, MSC Wiley member and political science sophomore, said she appreciates having the opportunity to hear different viewpoints on international issues.
“You really think you know a lot about something that is going on in the world, but when you talk to other people you find out so many different things and so many different viewpoints,” McKnight said. “Everything is different. Everything is not just black and white. Everything has another side to it.”
Roundtable members touched on a variety of topics pertaining to the Middle East.
Photo by Jonathan Sheen

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