It’s been a week of extra-high emotions for the 10,000 Syrian-Americans who live in Michigan.
The chemical weapon attacks that killed men, women and children in Syria was followed by President Trump’s decision to launch cruise missiles, as punishment for that, at a Syrian airbase.
How much hope are Michigan’s Syrian-Americans taking from the president’s action?
“To be honest, it’s way overdue and I wish the president would have more strong signals to follow,” said Ismael Basha, a Syrian-American businessman and volunteer with the Syrian-American Rescue Network. “If this is to be effective, Assad and his allies in the area have to know that this is not just a one-time deal. This is a new White House and a new determination to deal swiftly with the problems that Syria has been facing for the past six years.”
Dr. Abdalmajid Katranji had a similar reaction to the president's actions. He's a Lansing-based hand surgeon who’s worked with various organizations to help victims of the Syrian civil war.
“I think there’s no question that from the American security interests, this was a valuable, necessary move,” Katranji said. “It doesn’t only send a message to Assad. I mean, we’ve got to look at this at a global picture: There’s been a progressive pushing of the American will, on the global level, whether you see what happens in Crimea and the Ukraine, what goes on in North Korea and the South China Sea, so this is more than just an issue of punishing Assad. It’s a reestablishment of the American will on the global, political landscape, which I think is long overdue.”
For the full conversation, including what Basha and Katranji make of the varying messages coming from the Trump administration in regards to Assad, listen above.