Houston Scholars Weigh In on Syria

While politicians debate how the Trump administration moves forward in Syria, Houston area scholars are offering their input on everything from foreign diplomacy to how last week's bombings could impact Big Oil.

Ambassador Edward Djerejian, director of Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy, believes last week's bombing put the world on notice that the Trump administration isn't messing around.

“This administration will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons,” says Djerejian.  “Its a signal to the Russians and Iranians that they should take notice their client is acting in a very irresponsible manner and they also bear part of this responsibility.”

“I do think it gives our Secretery of State Rex Tillerson, who is going to Moscow, a little more ammunition in his diplomatic attache case,” he says.  “Putin is going to have to take the United States more seriously that Russia doesn't simply have a free ride in Syria.”

Meanwhile, University of Houston finance professor Craig Pirrong says Texas oil companies are bracing for what's next.

“Its already had an impact on oil prices, up two-percent as a result,” says Dr. Pirrong.  “Really what's important is what happens going forward.  There's a lot of uncertainty and that's what the market is reacting to.”

“Syria itself is unimportant in terms of the oil market, but how this will affect the dynamics between Iran, Russia, Saudi Arabia and the United States, that's what really matters here.”

Gas prices across Texas so far have remained stable -- even falling by a couple cents in the Houston area.

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