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Experts Gauge Impact on Iraq Strikes

Texas companies doing business in terrorist “hot spots” work to ensure that employees are protected

In a prime-time address to the nation, President Obama vowed to destroy Islamic terrorists known as ISIS and ISIL.

ISIS stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. ISIL is short for Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, the historic name given to the entire region east of the Mediterranean.

Ryan Kennedy is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Houston and founding director of the Center for International and Comparitive Studies. He says it’s no surprise that Houston has economic ties in the region. 

“Especially the companies that are doing business in the Kurdish regions of Iraq, they have to be very aware of what’s going on, ready to respond if need be,” said Kennedy. “There are going to be a lot of preparations made by companies, including a lot of Houston based companies.”

According to Uniworld Business, there are two companies headquartered in Houston operating in Iraq: Halliburton and Schlumberger. There are no Houston-based companies operating in Syria.

Kevin Mellott is a Texas-based global security expert.

“We’ve had an increase in requests for protection agents to go with our clients from the Texas area to these areas that are hot spots, as well as, we’ve increased our travel planning and our contingency planning,” said Mellott.

He says that his company has been very busy.

“We’re getting more business people looking at this as a concern,” said Mellott. “They’re starting to look at the fact that the businesses and the corporate world have to look at this themselves, as well as the government, to ensure continuity and continuation of business.”

Edward Djerejian is the founding director of the Baker Institute at Rice University. He says political solutions should take precedence over military ones.

“Military solutions are very important to degrade and diminish and ultimately destroy their capabilities, but the more important aspect is the overall political approach, to get some of the root causes of the rise of Islamic radicalism in the Middle East,” said Djerejian.

Ambassador Djerejian is concerned that some describe the situation as the United States versus ISIS. He says in a broader sense, it’s Islamic radicalism, including ISIS and al-Qaeda against moderate Muslims.

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