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Local Expert Breaks Down Turmoil in Middle East

University of Arkansas professor describes what all is happening in Syria and what effects could be felt here.

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"It's not a civil war of one side versus the other; it's one side versus a number of sides which makes it really complicated," says University of Arkansas professor Joel Gordon.

Gordon has a pretty good gauge on Syria's situation.

"I"ve been studying and teaching the Middle East for longer than I want to admit," Gordon says.

He says the lack of support for certain regimes is what's leading to violence within Syria.

"Many civilians caught in the midst of terrible fighting, which leads us up to the events of the last couple weeks," Gordon says.

Some of those recent events include president Barack Obama saying the U.S. should intervene.

So what could that mean for us?

"Many people are just afraid that an act like this, which is not designed or intended to end or move the conflict but is a rather symbolic act, will unleash a hornet's nest of repercussions we can't even guess," Gordon says.

Gordon, director for Middle Eastern studies at the university, says it's not necessarily the sting from Syria that folks should worry about, but more so from surrounding areas.

"You create kind of an avalanche effect," Gordon says.

"This could unsettle the region tremendously."

It's unclear if that potential unrest would directly effect us or just stay in the Middle East.

But Gordon understands why people here would be hesitant toward our country engaging in these controversial international affairs.

"I think people need to be apprehensive," Gordon says.

"And I think they need to ask their leaders and elected officials to really give us as much as they can about what they're thinking about."

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