Landis in the News – Archive


18 February 2010
Experts: U.S. tries to exert pressure on Iran through Persian Gulf countries
By T. Konyaeva, Trend

Hillary Clinton’s visit to the Persian Gulf countries was aimed at involving these countries into the process of exerting pressure on Iran, but the creation of a coalition against the Islamic Republic is unlikely today, the experts.

“I do not think that the United States and Arab countries will establish a coalition against Iran, chairman of Urosevic Research Foundation of London Piruz Mudzhtahidzade told Trend by telephone from London. I think that the purpose of Clinton’s visit was to show a threat posed by the Iranian regime, so, this trip rather was a political propaganda to exert pressure on Iran.”

24 January 2010
Tourists Return to an Ancient Crossroads in Syria
By Lionel Beehner, New York Times

TO shouts of “yella-yella” — move along! — the driver of a donkey lugging a wagon overstuffed with pistachios parted the throngs of shoppers in Aleppo’s medieval souk. It was the middle of Ramadan, just hours before the iftar, the evening meal when Muslims break their daily fast, and the market’s serpentine rows of squat stalls were filled with black-veiled women and keffiyeh-clad men, sniffing the handmade olive soaps and stocking up on spices.

22 January 2010
Syria: the prospects for political change
BBC

Back in the 1950s, as a lawyer and a judge, Haitham Maleh began promoting human rights in Syria. In the 1980s he was detained without trial for seven years.

Since then he has been tried three times by military tribunals and only last year, now in his late 70s, Haitham Maleh was arrested again.

7 January 2010
A Double Agent, the CIA and al Qaeda
By Warren Olney, KCRW

When a double agent turned into a suicide bomber, seven US intelligence agents were killed. How much expertise did the CIA lose? What does the incident say about the abilities of al-Qaeda — and the quality of US intelligence? Also, the Environmental Protection Agency promotes new regulations to improve the quality of the air Americans breathe.

Listen

8 January 2010
Tide Of Arab-Turk Tension Rises Amid Water Shortage
By Deborah Amos, NPR

Turkey’s Bosporus strait is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes for oil transport. On a recent day, more than a dozen tankers are on the horizon, but none of the oil comes from Turkey. The resource that counts here is water. Turkey is one of the only countries in the region to have enough water for its population.

“The Arabs, the Iraqis and the Syrians feel very much that Turkey is asserting itself as a regional hydrological superpower,” says Hussein Amery, a water specialist at the Colorado School of Mines.

23 November 2009
Israel keeps mum on Lebanese firing at drone
By David Harris, China View

JERUSALEM, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) — Israel is refusing to comment on claims from Beirut that the Lebanese military fired at an unmanned Israeli aircraft on Saturday, forcing the drone to leave the Lebanese air space.

An Israeli official who spoke to Xinhua on condition of anonymity declined to discuss the Lebanese action, but did try to put Beirut’s claims in a broader context.

29 October 2009
Britain says Syria deal worth waiting for
By Sakhr Al-Makhadhi, Asia Times

LONDON – Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband insists that efforts to strengthen Europe’s ties with Syria are not on hold, as Damascus calls for a delay in signing a long-awaited association agreement.

The agreement will make Syria a member of the European Union’s Euro-Med partnership, which includes all 27 states of the European Union, along with 16 partners across the Southern Mediterranean and the Middle East. It aims to raise the political level of the strategic relationship between the EU and its southern neighbors. According to the EU, it “offers more balanced governance, increased visibility to its citizens and a commitment to tangible, regional and trans-national projects”.

1 October 2009
Syria hardly to become tool for U.S. to pressure on Iran
By U. Sadykhova, Trend

For the first time over the past five years, Washington hosted the meeting between the Syrian officials and the White House, which is not connected with the pressure on Iran, as the U.S. first and foremost consider Syria as a key to stabilize the situation in the Middle East, experts believe.

“The U.S. needs Syria to form a government in Lebanon, which is important for them [Washington] and achieve reconciliation between HAMAS and FATAH and, of course, to stabilize the situation in Iraq,” Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma, Joshua Landis, told Trend over the telephone.

18 September 2009
Severe drought affects 1.3 million in Syria
By Dania Akkad, The Christian Science Monitor

Deraa, Syria
The acute drought that has driven an estimated 300,000 Syrian farmers, herders, and their families to abandon home for makeshift urban camps may not be the worst in the region’s history; the Fertile Crescent has often experienced cycles of drought.

But now climate change, an exploitation of water resources, and higher food prices brought about by the global financial crisis have all severely sharpened the impact of this dry spell, now in its fourth year. The numbers of Syrians affected – an estimated 1.3 million, 803,000 of whom have entirely lost their livelihoods – point to a serious humanitarian crisis.

13 September 2009
Turkey’s role in Syrian detente with West crucial, experts say
By MİNHAC ÇELİK,

Turkey’s role in the recent thawing of relations between Syria and the West is viewed as critical and has been applauded by experts and political analysts in the region.

Following a US administration decision made three months ago to appoint an ambassador to the Syrian capital after a hiatus of four years, European Union Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner said the EU had been close to agreeing on an offer to Syria for closer ties on Sept. 4.

24 July 2009
Change for Syria?
By Katy Clark and Joshua Landis, The World

KATY CLARK: I’m Katy Clark and this is The World. One of the buzzwords from President Obama’s campaign was “change”. And there’s some hope that change could be on the horizon in the Middle East. The President’s special Mid-East envoy, George Mitchell, is on his way to Syria. It will be his second visit in as many months. For years, Syria has been an implacable enemy of Israel, an ally of Iran, and a sponsor of militant groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon. The question is whether Mitchell is able to coax a change out of Damascus. Joshua Landis is a leading blogger on Syria, and is associate professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Joshua Landis, I’d like your thoughts on why Mitchell is going back to Damascus?

JOSHUA LANDIS: Well, Obama’s strategic plan for the Middle East and his attempts to get the Middle East peace process moving are in danger of stalling. It’s a little bit like his health plan, in a sense. And so I think this is an attempt to get the ball rolling.

26 July 2009
Analysis: How far is Syria ready to go to appease the US?
By Brenda Gazzar, Jerusalem Post

….”This all indicates to me that there are still a lot of bones of contention between Syria and the US,” and even within the US administration on how to best deal with Syria, said Prof. Joshua Landis, co-director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “If you give Syria the Golan and Israel were to get peace with Syria, then Syria is free in a sense to carry out this 180 [degree turnabout],” Landis said. “It can dump Iran and do some damage to its allies because it’s getting something from America and Israel. But without that, why would Syria do a 180? What would it get from America?”

21 July 2009
Iran Turmoil May Cost Hezbollah, Hamas Amid Retreat (Update1)
By Ben Holland and Massoud A. Derhally, Bloomberg

July 21 (Bloomberg) — The power struggle in Iran sparked by the disputed re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is weakening the country’s ability to back Islamist groups Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as Iraqi militants.

The main coordinator of support to these groups has been Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, whose Basij militia played a role in suppressing demonstrations against last month’s election results.

9 July 2009
Democracy Building & Consensus in Lebanon
By Joshua Landis and Mona Yacoubian, Radio NPR

In recent elections, Lebanese voters sent a pro-Western majority to parliament, denying a challenge from the militant Hezbollah. We look at the challenges ahead for the newly-named Prime Minister Saad Hariri — son of slain former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri — and look at the foreign powers like Syria, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. are likely to play.

2 July 2009
Reports emerge of Syrian-Saudi summit
By Nicholas Kimbrell , The Daily Star

Days after officials in Washington announced that a US ambassador would soon be sent to Syria, reports have emerged of an upcoming Syrian-Saudi Arabian summit to be held in Damascus that could include Lebanon. Conventional wisdom holds that any improvement in Syrian-Saudi ties generally contributes to increased stability in Lebanon.

24 June 2009
U.S. to Name Ambassador to Damascus after Four Years
By Katie Mattern and Ali Gharib, IPS

WASHINGTON, Jun 24, 2009 (IPS) – After informing the Syrian embassy in Washington on Tuesday night, the U.S. State Department announced on Wednesday that President Barack Obama will be sending an ambassador to Damascus for the first time since 2005.

The move follows the renewal of sanctions on Syria in May, which many thought were an obstacle to new ties to Damascus as part of the bold regional engagement Obama had promised during the presidential campaigns.

22 July 2009
Syria Seeks to Assert Importance in Middle East
By Joshua Landis Scott Simon, NPR

SCOTT SIMON, host: There’s little doubt that neighboring Syria has both a stake in the confrontation and influence over the Hezbollah. What isn’t yet known is whether, and on what condition, Syria might use its influence. Joshua Landis is a Professor of History in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma and an expert on Syria. He joins us from Vermont. Professor, thanks very much for being with us.

Professor JOSHUA LANDIS (University of Oklahoma): It’s a pleasure, Scott.

SIMON: And how do you quantify something like this? How much influence, what kind does Syria have over Hezbollah?

Prof. LANDIS: Syria has very good and close relations with Hezbollah. It’s not unlike the relationship between the United States and Israel. So Hezbollah’s never going to get out too far ahead of Syria and Iran. It would be very vulnerable and would have no diplomatic, political or real military backup if it did. So Assad can play a key role in moderating Hezbollah and opening up avenues of negotiation, and that’s been the traditional avenue that the United States has used. When U.S. hostages were taken after the ’82 Israeli invasion, it was through Damascus that they were released.

24 June 2009
Syria And Iraq Revive Business Ties
By Deborah Amos, NPR

Syria’s border with Iraq has long been a line of tension. The U.S. and the Iraqi government have accused Syria of allowing foreign fighters to cross into Iraq. But these days, the border is a potential business asset, as Syria looks to Iraq to help improve its economy.

This month, a new freight rail line opened between Syria’s port cities of Tartous and Latakia on the Mediterranean, and Iraq’s port city of Basra on the Persian Gulf. The first freight cars, loaded with automobiles from Europe, ended up in the Baghdad market. Syria offers a faster and cheaper route than the traditional transit through the Suez Canal.

15 June 2009
U.S. Continues Charm Offensive With Syria
By Chip Cummins, The Wall Street Journal

President Barack Obama’s Mideast envoy, former Sen. George Mitchell, touched down Friday in Damascus, in the latest outreach by the U.S. to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Just a little more than a year ago, Syria was viewed as a pariah state, even among some of its Arab neighbors. But in recent months, Mr. Assad has emerged as a potentially important partner for Washington in the Middle East’s suddenly shifting political and diplomatic landscape.

11 June 2009
Lebanon’s Election: An International Affair
By Khody Akhavi, IPS

WASHINGTON, Jun 11, 2009 (IPS) – It was touted as an historic election, a vote to determine the future direction of Lebanon. But even with the winners declared, analysts say the Jun. 7 ballot was far from decisive, and did little to alter the fundamental balance of power in the country.

In the U.S., Lebanon’s poll has been characterised as another contest in the battle for hearts and minds in the Middle East, and a victory for a new Washington administration over the hardliners in Tehran.

9 June 2009
Lebanon’s Winning Bloc Must Try to Placate Hezbollah (Update2)
By Massoud A Derhally, Bloomberg

June 9 (Bloomberg) — Lebanon’s pro-Western coalition, after beating Hezbollah and its allies at the ballot box, needs to placate the armed Shiite group to prevent sectarian divisions from flaring into fresh violence, analysts say.

The last time civil strife erupted in Lebanon a year ago, Qatari mediators resolved the conflict under a plan that brought the Hezbollah bloc into government with a veto over policy. Since then, all-party talks on disarming Hezbollah have yielded little progress.

7 June 2009
Turnout High in Lebanon as Hezbollah Bloc May Gain (Update1)
By Massoud A. Derhally, Bloomberg

June 7 (Bloomberg) — Lebanese turned out in large numbers today in parliamentary elections that may oust the pro-Western coalition of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, with the Iranian- backed Hezbollah and its allies tipped to gain seats.

Polls closed at 7 p.m. and some 52.3 percent of the 3.2 million Lebanese eligible to vote had done so, said Interior Minister Ziad Baroud. That compared with an overall 45.8 percent turnout in 2005, he said.

2 June 2009
Syria’s Kilo pledges to continue struggle
Middle East Online

DAMASCUS – A few hours after his release from prison, Michel Kilo, a prominent Syrian intellectual and journalist, sat among his family and friends telling stories about his daily life while he was incarcerated.

Appearing in high spirits, Kilo – who spent three years in jail for “threatening national sentiment” and “inciting sectarian strife” – spoke jokingly about one cellmate who cooked better than all the women he had known.

12 May 2009
VS KUNNEN SYRIË NIET LOSWEKEN VAN IRAN
By Ali Gharib, Mondiaal Nieuws

WASHINGTON, 12 mei 2009 (IPS) – De Amerikaanse president Obama wil een nieuwe relatie met het Midden-Oosten maar verlengt nu wel de sancties tegen Syrië die zijn voorganger heeft ingesteld. De VS slagen er maar niet in Syrië los te weken van Iran.

Barack Obama verlengde donderdag (8 mei) de sancties tegen Syrië met een jaar. Ze waren nog door George W. Bush ingesteld en hadden normaal gisteren (maandag) moeten eindigen.

11 May 2009
U.S. Thaw with Syria Hits Stumbling Blocks
By Ali Gharib, IPS

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2009 (IPS) – U.S. President Barack Obama issued a statement on May 8 calling for the renewal of sanctions on Syria, which were set to expire on Monday. The declaration came at the end of a busy week in which both high-level U.S. officials and the Iranian president visited the Syrian capital, Damascus.

Though Syria has recently sought engagement with the U.S. and Israel, the executive order extending sanctions is only the latest in a series of significant stumbling blocks to peeling off one of Iran’s closest regional allies.

11 May 2009
Mending ties will take time
By Sami Moubayed, gulfnews.com

The big news is that US President Barack Obama has renewed sanctions on Syria, imposed by his predecessor, George W. Bush, in 2004. The order, numbered 13,338, was due to expire on May 10.

The renewal came after Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman and National Security Council official Daniel Shapiro visited Syria, followed immediately by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

8 May 2009
US renews sanctions against Syria
By Ann Fifield, Financial Times

But Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at Oklahoma university, said that renewing the sanctions sent the wrong signal. “It was promulgated by the Bush White …

May 2009
Lebanon Votes
By Julien Lennert, Syria Today

Lebanon’s general election, scheduled for June 7, is likely to be a key moment in determining whether the country can escape the turmoil of recent years and embark on a more stable and fruitful future.

At the heart of this future lies the relationship between Syria and Lebanon, which has been the source of both tension and instability in recent years. As the decisive election approaches, Syria says it will not intervene in Lebanese domestic affairs and that it simply wants a stable and secure neighbour on its western border.

4 May 2009
The Emergence of Syria and Other Current Developments in the Arab World
By Joshua Landis, willam580, Illinois Public Media

(Follow link to listen to radio interview.)

9 April 2009
Edging in from the cold?
By Michael Petrou, Macleans.ca

George W. Bush never included Syria on his list of countries making up what he described as an “Axis of Evil,” but it was clear that he considered the regime of Bashar al-Assad a security threat that needed to be isolated and punished. In April 2002, shortly after his Axis speech and at a time when the United States still seemed willing and able to take down hostile regimes, Bush said the time had come “for Syria to decide which side of the war against terror it is on.” He later accused Syria of sponsoring Palestinian terror groups, assassinating politicians in Lebanon, and doing little to prevent jihadists from crossing its border with Iraq to attack American troops there. Bush pulled the U.S. ambassador out of Syria in 2005. He imposed wide-ranging sanctions on the country. And in October 2008, as one of his last major acts while still in office, he approved a helicopter raid on a Syrian village near the Iraq border where a senior al-Qaeda operative was purportedly sheltering.

9 March 2009
The focus is on Syria, but the key is really Iran
By Phil Sands, The National

…Syria’s ability to avoid making a stark choice will depend on US willingness to compromise with Iran, said Joshua Landis, a Syria specialist and director at the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

“Traditionally, the US has sought to weaken both Iran and Syria, to lock them out of regional security discussions and deny their importance,” he said.

“If the US learns to offer them security – that is, stop threatening to overturn their regimes – and to compromise with them, then there is hope for an accommodation of interests in the region that could dramatically reduce tensions and radicalism. Of course Iran and Syria would have to meet the US half way and change some of their behaviour as well.”

7 March 2009
US Envoys Hold ‘Constructive’ Talks in Syria
VOAnews.com

Two senior U.S. diplomats have met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Muallem in Damascus, Saturday, in the first high-level visit by ranking U.S. diplomats since January 2005.

Acting Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman and National Security Council member Dan Shapiro met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem in Damascus, Saturday, amid attempts to broker a rapprochement between the United States and Syria after years of tumultuous relations between the two countries.

April 2009
Still Waiting For Change
By John Dagge, Syria Today

US officials have racked up an impressive amount of frequent flyer points dropping in on Damascus of late. Since moving into the White House in late January, US President Barack Obama has given the green light to a high-profile engagement of Syria. Damascus is now hailed as a ‘key’ to solving the Middle East’s problems, former adversaries talk of ‘common ground’ without blushing, and opinion writers the world over wax lyrical about a change in the region’s tectonic plates.

Most seasoned Syria observers, however, remain highly cautious. Despite the apparent volte-face in US policy towards Damascus, they question what has fundamentally changed in the country’s long, complicated relationship with America.

6 March 2009
Friends in Need
By Joshua Landis, The Nationalist

Syria’s economy is sinking. America needs friends in the Middle East. Josh Landis considers the possibility of renewed co-operation.

3 April 2009
Chủ động đối thoại với Syrie nhằm thúc đẩy hòa đàm tại Cận Đông
Tieng Viet

Hôm qua, đang công du Israel, ngoại trưởng Hillary Clinton đã thông báo là Hoa Kỳ sẽ cử hai đặc sứ tới Syrie tiến hành đối thoại trực tiếp với chính quyền Damas về tương lai quan hệ song phương. Hai đặc sứ của Mỹ là Jeffrey Feltman, quyền trợ lý ngoại trưởng về các vấn đề Cận Đông và Daniel Shapiro, cố vấn an ninh quốc gia của Nhà Trắng, cũng phụ trách hồ sơ này, có thể tới thủ đô Syrie vào cuối tuần.

Mục tiêu cuộc tấn công ngoại giao của Hoa Kỳ là tìm cách cải thiện quan hệ với Syrie, qua đó, thúc đẩy tiến trình hòa đàm tại Cận Đông và cô lập thêm Iran. Ngay sau khi tổng thống Obama nhậm chức, một phái đoàn các nghị sĩ Hoa Kỳ do ông John Kerry, chủ tịch Ủy ban Đối ngoại Thượng viện đã công du Cận Đông và tới Syrie.

3 March 2009
America’s ‘New Path’ in the Middle East
By Warren Olney, KCRW

The Obama Administration says it’s cutting a “new path” toward Middle East peace. With Israel and the Palestinians both divided among themselves, we hear about outreach to Syria, Turkey and even Iran. Also, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown becomes the first European leader to visit President Obama, and some Protestants are embracing “creationism” and “intelligent design,” but not the Vatican. We hear about next month’s conference on Charles Darwin and Evolution.
Listen

3 March 2009
Washington Ends Its Diplomatic Embargo
By Jim Lobe, IPS

WASHINGTON, Mar 3, 2009 (IPS) – Ending a four-year diplomatic embargo on Damascus, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday confirmed that it is sending two high-level officials to Syria this week for “preliminary conversations”, presumably on improving relations.

The trip, which will be undertaken by Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Jeffrey Feltman and Daniel Shapiro, a senior staffer on the National Security Council who also served as one of Obama’s top Mideast advisers during his presidential campaign, was announced by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Jerusalem.

1 March 2009
US Overtures Could Force Syria Into Tough Choices
By Reuters, dalje.com

But Mustafa said the meeting could herald a new chapter in ties and that Syria was open to discuss all issues.

U.S. President Barack Obama has signalled he wants a dialogue with Syria that could further rehabilitate Damascus internationally but also force it to choose whether to loosen ties with Iran and anti-Israeli groups.

23 February 2009
John Kerry se entrevista con Bachar Al Asad siguiendo el nuevo ‘estilo Obama’
By Javier Espinosa, El Mundo

El ex candidato presidencial y actual jefe del comité de relaciones exteriores del Senado de EEUU, John Kerry, se ha entrevistado con el jefe de estado sirio, Bachar al Asad, en un significativo encuentro que confirma el cambio de política que ha asumido Washington con respecto a Oriente Próximo y en especial a regímenes como el de Damasco.

Durante toda la égida de George Bush, Siria fue junto a Irán el principal receptor en la región de las críticas de Washington, que retiró a su embajador del país árabe en febrero del 2005 —tras el asesinato de Rafic Hariri en el Líbano— y promovió la aplicación de sanciones contra el régimen baazista.

20 February 2009
Relations with Syria meet U.S. interests in Middle East
By U. Sadigova, Trend

U.S.-Syria ties can be improved as a political influence of Damask to the Middle East may assist Washington in reaching stabilization in the region and ensure Israel with security.

“Washington watches that Syria’s integration to the policy of the Middle East is more lucrative than the intimacy of Damask with Iran,” head of the Syrian researches center of the Saint – Andrews University Raymond Hinnebusch told Trend in a telephone conversation.

17 February 2009
Signs of a Thaw, But Differences Run Deep
By Ali Gharib, IPS

WASHINGTON, Feb 17, 2009 (IPS) – This week, two high-level U.S. Congressional delegations are setting out for Syria to meet with President Bashar Al Assad. The trips are seen as a precursor for engagement with Syria, but the extent of possible diplomatic deal-making is still in question.

Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Sen. John Kerry is spending this week touring the Middle East and is scheduled to stop in Damascus for talks with Assad, his third such visit. House Foreign Relations Chairman Rep. Howard Berman is expected to travel there later this month.

17 February 2009
Signs Show Possible Thaw in US-Syrian Relations
VOAnews.com

The new Obama administration appears to be taking tentative steps towards resuming dialogue with Syria, while the key step of sending a new U.S. ambassador to Damascus for the first time in three years remains up in the air. A visit by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry and a high-level American delegation to Syria, this week, is renewing speculation of a rapprochement.

The politics of rapprochement with Syria, after several years of frosty relations between Washington and Damascus, appear to be as complicated and tentative as Syria’s famous national dance, the dabkeh. The footwork is intricate, there are steps forward and steps back and everyone is moving in different directions.

February 2009
Syria and the West: Enough of the Small Talk
By Sarah Birke, Syria Today

In case you missed it, Syria is back in from the cold. After being sidelined by the West for several years, the second half of 2008 saw a flurry of European officials visit Damascus, the headlining acts including French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Foreign Minister David Miliband. On December 14, the long-delayed Association Agreement (AA) with the European Union was initialled. Its ratification will lock Syrian-EU relations into a robust regional framework and greatly increase the amount of EU funding to Syria.

Moves by Damascus to help pass the Doha Agreement on Lebanon, stimulate the peace process with Israel, establish an embassy in Beirut and broker a now-defunct ceasefire in Gaza all won Damascus much praise from European capitals. A change in the tenant at Sandsthe White House has also generated much hope for a more constructive Syrian-US relationship. It is a remarkable adjustment in a remarkably short period of time. Even more so given that many of the points raised by Europe and America for downgrading ties with Damascus in the first place – the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005 and Damascus’ ties with the likes of Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas – still stand.

6 February 2009
A setback for Turkey as Mideast broker
By Yigal Schleifer, The Christian Science Monitor

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent outburst at the World Economic Forum, where he berated Israeli President Shimon Peres for Israel’s attack on Gaza, has won him unprecedented popularity in the Arab world.

Mr. Erdogan’s tirade may help Turkey reconnect with the region after decades of being estranged. But it could also damage Turkey’s aspirations to be a mediating power in the Middle East, particularly between Israel and its neighbors.

4 February 2009
Turkey: PM Erdogan’s Criticism of Israel Could Damage Ankara’s Aspirations as Mid-East Peace Broker
By Yigal Schleifer, Eurasianet.org

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s harsh criticism of Israel’s recent attack on Gaza — culminating with his walking off the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos after angrily berating Israeli President Shimon Peres — has made him a popular man in the Arab world. But analysts warn that, at least in the short term, Erdogan’s actions could damage Turkey’s aspirations to be a mediating power in the Middle East, particularly between Israel and its neighbors.

“The cost [of Erdogan’s actions] was possibly the loss of something that was starting, but that hadn’t matured, and that was Turkey’s emerging role in the Middle East,” says Semih Idiz, a columnist who writes on foreign affairs for the Milliyet newspaper. “Erdogan made his position very apparent, and it’s hard to see how he will be an honest broker in this stage.”

15 January 2009
Does the road to peace lie through Syria?
By Deen Karim, CBCnews

The intensity of the conflict in Gaza, now in its third week, has at least some world leaders scrambling for an agreement to stop the fighting.

Chief among them has been French President Nicolas Sarkozy who has been working with his Egyptian counterpart, Hosni Mubarak, on a formal ceasefire and is also tapping a much-shunned leader to get involved in the mediation, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

9 January 2009
Striking close to home
By Julianna Parker, The Norman Transcript

For most Americans, the fighting in Gaza over the past two weeks has been something they’ve watched from afar, with glimpes of another place flashed on the evening news.

But for University of Oklahoma student Yonathan Reches, the conflict has hit much closer to home.

3 January 2009
Does Syira Matter?
Moment Magazine

Veteran Syria-watchers — Tom Dine, Martin Indyk, Joshua Landis, Moshe Ma’oz, Michael Oren, David Schenker and Andrew Tabler—weigh in on …

Joshua Landis, administrator of Syria Comment blog, professor of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK

Does Syria matter?

Syria has a crucial role to play in four major areas: the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, because it houses Hamas and is the main Arab “spokescountry” for resistance to Israel; terrorism, because Syria uses Hezbollah, Hamas and other groups to fight for the Golan Heights; Iraq, because jihadists still go from North Africa and Saudi Arabia through Syria into Iraq; and Lebanon, where its influence has become very important to America over the past six years.

Is peace possible?

Yes. Hafez Assad wanted to finish this deal in the 1990s when President Clinton led peace negotiations. He went to Geneva to meet with Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak, but, as Clinton writes in his memoir, Barak got cold feet. It was a few months before elections, and Barak didn’t think he could get Israel to give back the Golan Heights. As happened with Egypt in 1979, Israel didn’t want to give up the Sinai, but Jimmy Carter closed the deal by providing Israel with gobs of money. If there could be peace with Israel—and everybody in Damascus is talking about it, as is Syria’s ambassador to the U.S., Imad Moustapha—that would help lift the strict sanctions against Syria. America now has a chance to bring Syria away from anti-Western alliances that it has needed to fight the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Asma al-Assad: A mulher que destronou Carla Bruni e Michelle Obama (Dec., 21, 2008)

Público.pt – Lisboa, Portugal

“Os regimes autoritários têm de se modernizar para sobreviver, e a bonita, culta e secular Asma é um veículo para neutralizar críticas, sobretudo as externas”, afirmou à Pública, por telefone, Joshua Landis, co-director do Center for Middle East Studies da Universidade de Oklahoma e autor do influente blogue Syria Comment (http://joshualandis.com/blog/).

SYRIA: Report says Britain hammers out Damascus intelligence agreement (19 Nov. 2008)

Los Angeles Times – CA, USA

One blogger, Joshua Landis, an American expert on Syria, wrote that the US refused a similar Syrian offer to combine efforts on intelligence matters when …

Britain revives its links to Syria (November 20, 2009)

The Australian – Sydney,Australia

A US expert on Syria, Joshua Landis, said the Miliband visit was “a message from the British to Obama”. “Like the French, they want the US to push …

Following Deadly US Attack on Syria, Questions of Bush Admin … (Nov. 3 2008)

Democracy Now – New York, NY, USA

We speak to Robert Dreyfuss of The Nation magazine and University of Oklahoma professor Joshua Landis. [includes rush transcript] Joshua Landis, Co-director …

Syria and `the law of the jungle’ (2 November 2008)

Toronto Star – Ontario, Canada

“When America attacked Iraq, the Syrians were very displeased,” says Joshua Landis, an authority on Syria. “They started supporting the opposition. …

Foreign Policy: The road to Damascus (10/31/2008)

Joshua Landis, an assistant professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Oklahoma who is sympathetic to the Syrian regime, reported back in August that General Petraeus tried to visit Syria in December 2007. However, there are signs that Petraeus remains skeptical about Syria’s stated desire for cooperation. Landis reported that “there are real issues at the border,” and that Petraeus’s interest in going to Syria stemmed in part from a desire “to read Syria the riot act about compliance [on border security].”

Salon.com, Glenn Greenwald, “Someone should tell ABC News what “exclusive” means.” (10/30/2008)

Joshua Landis wrote on his blog, Syria Comment, about the U.S. bombing raid inside Syria, and said this….

Sounds of Dissent, Saturdays, WZBC-FM Radio, Greater Boston, (10/31/2008)

90.3 FM Boston Interview show.

PBS TV Amy Goodman: Democracy Now (Oct 30, 2008)

Also broadcast on Pacifica Radio

A daily TV/radio news program, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez, airing on over 700 stations, pioneering the largest community media collaboration in the U.S.

Following Deadly US Attack on Syria, Questions of Bush Admin Motives in its Waning Months

The Syrian government has condemned a deadly US military raid near the Iraqi border as “terrorist aggression.” The Bush administration has remained mum, stoking fears it could be trying to provoke further conflict in its remaining months in office. We speak to Robert Dreyfuss of The Nation magazine and University of Oklahoma professor Joshua Landis.

Syria- Winter Thaw? (Oct 30, 2008)

Middle East North Africa Financial Network – Amman, Jordan

Josh Landis, a leading US analyst on Syria, believes that while some in the Bush administration such as Rice want to strengthen ties with Syria, …

Joshua Landis, an expert on the Middle East and Syria specifically, said the two candidates’ foreign policies diverge greatly in the area of the Middle East …

Behind the US raid in Syria

Socialist Worker Online – Chicago, IL, USA

As Joshua Landis, co-director of the Center for Middle East Studies, pointed out in a statement, “Syria has been improving border compliance steadily. …

Assad’s strategic decision to turn cheek (October 30, 2008)

MARK MACKINNON, Globe and Mail

….“Syria has its hands tied behind its back. It can’t allow its anger to rule this moment,” said Joshua Landis, co-director of the Centre for Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma and editor of the syriacomment.com website. “In the past, clearly, the [U.S.] military in Iraq would have been very anxious about what Syria could do in retaliation.”

Caravan CKUT 90.3 fm (29 Oct. 2008)

www.ckut.ca – Half hour talk show

Syria monitoring US, Israeli elections (October 29, 2008)

Jerusalem Post – Israel By BRENDA GAZZAR

Joshua Landis, co-director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “They believe he will get out of Iraq sooner and give …

The World: Public Radio Internation – Co production BBC and NPR

(27 Oct. 2008)

The Baltimore Chronicle – Baltimore,MD,USA

… Joshua Landis, an American expert on Syria, commented last night: “The Bush administration must assume that an Obama victory will force …

Chicago Public Radio

Blogger/professor Joshua Landis explains the implications of the U.S. Special Forces raid in Syria.

According to Syria expert and University of Oklahoma Professor Joshua Landis: “Both the State Department and DOD [Department of Defense] have consistently …

Josh Landis, co-director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, wrote on his blog Syria Comment that “with the raid, …

The strike that shattered US-Syria ties (27 Oct. 2008)

Asia Times Online – Kowloon,Hong Kong

Syria specialist Joshua Landis wrote that the attack “was probably constructed by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and not [Vice President Dick] Cheney’s office. …

BBC World service (27 Oct. 2008)

Interview with Anthony Cordesman

BBC Channel 4 (27 Oct. 2008)

The Conversation With Ross Reynolds (27 Oct. 2008)

KUOW 94.9 Puget Sound Public Radio

Conversation20081027.mp3 podcast

More on Syria Raid (27 October 2008)

Agoravox – Paris, France

Joshua Landis at Syria Comment carries an account from a physician of the killed and wounded that casts doubt on the US military story that the workers ….

SYRIA: What’s behind U.S. raid? (27 October 2008)

LA Times Blogs, Babylon and Beyond by Borzou Daragahi in Beirut

Joshua Landis at Syria Comment says the attack “seems to fit into a broader pattern of the Bush administration initiating cross border attacks into countries that it is not officially at war with,” including Pakistan.

He speculates that White House officials angry at Syria “may assume that [they] can have a ‘freebie’ ” striking at an old adversary knowing that it will nonethless remain on its best behavior to impress the next U.S. administration.

US forces kill eight in helicopter raid on Syria (27 October 2008)

The Guardian By Ian Black and Ewen MacAskill

… Joshua Landis, an American expert on Syria, commented last night: “The Bush administration must assume that an Obama victory will force Syria to behave nicely in order to win favour with the new administration. Thus White House analysts may assume that it can have a “freebee” – taking a bit of personal revenge on Syria without the US paying a price.”

Did We Just Strike Syria?

(26 Oct 2008)
Atlantic: The Daily Dish by Andrew Sullivan

Joshua Landis at Syria Comment on the US allegedly launching a helicopter attack inside the country from Iraq:

… [Syria] has refused to restart intelligence sharing with the US, which was broken off following the deterioration of relations in 2005. Petraeus sought to go to Damascus in December 2007 to restart intelligence sharing, but was forbidden from doing so by the White House.

Syria has been eager to restart intelligence sharing which would help to reduce cross border violations, but it demands a price – that the US recognize Syria’s assistance by returning an ambassador to Damascus. The White House has refused to do this, preferring to use sticks to force Syrian compliance. One must presume that the most recent killing of Syrians is designed to be just such a stick…..

Syria envoy: Future generations will pay if Israel scuttles peace talks (22/10/2008)

Haaretz

…..”If the Israelis are merely interested in the ‘process’ and not the ‘peace’, they will ultimately be held accountable… Future Israeli and Arab generations will pay a dear price for this shortsightedness and obstinacy,” Ambassador Imad Moustapha said in an interview with the Syria Comment Web site….

Assafir newspaper (22/10/2008)

عماد مصطفى: استراتيجية عربية أشمل ستحكم أي »علاقـة طويلـة« مع إسرائيل

Danger lies in ties with Kurdish opposition (3 October 2008)

By Michael Howie in Scotsman

AN EXPERT on Syrian politics believes any links Jojo Yakob has with Kurdish opposition parties could land him in bigger trouble than his homosexuality if he is returned to his home country. He claims Mr Yakob could be arrested for any ties he might have with Kurdish groups.
Joshua Landis, the co-director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said: “They will be watching him like a hawk.”

Experts doubt Syria has resumed nuke activity (

…. “It’s clearly time for a rethink of [Syria] policy, and I think Rice and others in the administration are trying to shepherd it forward,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria specialist at the University of Oklahoma who publishes the widely read Syria Comment blog. “Rice is definitely open to it – and the whole Department of Defense has been kicking for this for a long time – but she can’t get it past the White House.”….

Syria’s unlikely shepherd (1 Oct 2008)

Asia Times

…”With its Lebanon policy a shambles and its efforts to isolate Syria defied by France, Turkey, and Israel itself, it really doesn’t make sense for the White House to continue stiffing the Syrians,” said Landis. “It’s really just pure stubbornness at this point.” …

Syria’s intelligence community again hit by major car bomb (29 Sept. 2008)

World Tribune – USA

“Two theories are developing on little evidence so far,” Josh Landis, a leading American analyst on Syria, said. “One is that the bombers were targeting Shi’ites. So far we don’t know what the truth is…..”

Going for Broke (September 2008)

By Ian Munroe, Trends Magazine.

….“There are two trends. One’s a slow liberalization of the economy,” says Joshua Landis, co-director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and the creator of Syria Comment, a popular website that covers current events there. “Number two is a Western attempt to isolate Syria, and to strangle it economically…”

Car bomb near Syrian security base kills 17 (27 Sept. 2008)

Reuters by Marwan Mekdessi

“The attack is very disturbing. It’s scary because it reminds every Syrian of the late 1970s and early 1980s when the radical wing of the Muslim Brotherhood was blowing everyone up,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at Oklahoma University…

US may join the peace talks in Turkey (1 Sept. 2008)

By Sami Moubayed, Gulf News

… Everybody is worried about progress on the indirect Syrian-Israeli talks, currently underway in Turkey. According to Syria commentator, Joshua Landis, they have either reached a breakthrough, or a dead end. …

Damascus emerges from isolation (30 August 2008)

Middle East Economic Digest, James Gavin

After being abandoned by its Arab allies and economically isolated by US sanctions, President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has made a remarkable comeback in recent months…. “On one side, Israel is seeing what it can do to isolate Iran, and to find out to what extent Syria will move against Hezbollah,” says Joshua Landis,

Former Aipac Head Leads Push for American-Syrian Rapprochement (28 August 2008)

Forward –

Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, offers another explanation: “Syria wanted to use Dine to open up doors in Washington, and he was supposed to get a meeting between Daoudi and Welch but could not deliver.”

To Landis, the administration’s backtracking on the Welch meeting suggests that “Washington is not ready to become a part of the discussion, which means that the Israel-Syria talks will not be able to reach a decisive phase.”

Syria, Iran warm to Russia as US tensions grow (27 August 2008)

The Associated Press – Sam Ghattas

“The Russian move into Georgia has begun a tectonic shift in the (Mideast) region,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert in the United States. “It has emboldened Syria, Hezbollah and Iran to push harder against Israel and the U.S.”

Analysis: Shifting Middle East alliances (25 August 2008)

United Press International, By CLAUDE SALHANI, UPI Contributing Editor

Russia’s aggressive response in Georgia has unleashed what Joshua Landis, co-director of the Center for Middle East Studies and a specialist on Syrian …

Russian embrace of Syria tightens, but for what purpose? (24 August 2008)

Ha’aretz – By Yoav Stern, Haaretz Correspondent and Agencies

Syria expert Joshua Landis wrote in his blog Syriacomment.com that “Syria’s bad negotiating position is leading it to look for more weapons and to try to grow more teeth before returning to the table with Israel,” adding, “Both Assad and Hezbollah are hoping to get new weapons systems from Russia and greater diplomatic backing.” But despite the preoccupation with weapons, he asserts that all eyes are on the peace process.

Al-Jazeera English Interviewwith Joshua Landis (20 Aug. 2008)

President Bashar al-Assad visits Russia

Assessing stability in Syria (20 Aug. 2008)

ISN – Zurich,Switzerland

Ben Judah is a correspondent for ISN Security Watch

Syrian political expert Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma argues that most western understandings of Syria are still very caricatured. …

Middle East expert Joshua Landis sees U.S. policy in the region at a “crossroads.”

Interview by Daniel Luban

Right Web| Posted August 12, 2008

Landis … describes the Syrian regime as making an unprecedented push to normalize relations with the West. But neoconservative hardliners in Washington continue to resist any engagement with Syria, presenting the possibility that this window of opportunity will be lost…..

Syria is engaging in a major charm offensive. And significantly, they’ve been courting people like [former American Israel Public Affairs Committee president] Thomas Dine to help set up meetings in Washington. This is new! For Syria to reach out to the Israelis not just through the negotiations in Ankara but through the Jewish community in the United States is a potential game-changer in many ways….

‘Murdered Syrian officer knew too much’ (4 Aug. 2008)

Jerusalem Post – Israel

But Syrian expert Joshua Landis, the co-director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said he doubts the veracity of many …

The Syrian bride (31 July 2008)

Ha’aretz – Tel Aviv, Israel

Joshua Landis, editor of the daily news roundup SyriaComment.com, which is read by many Syrian expatriates in the United States, says that Asma Assad is the …

Syrians applaud Bashar’s Paris trip (July 15, 2008)

By Sami Moubayed, GulfNews

Joshua Landis, an expert on Syrian affairs who runs the much-read blog in Washington DC, Syriacomment, told Gulf News: “President Assad’s Lebanon policy has been vindicated. Three years ago, Chirac said Assad didn’t understand the ‘new Middle East.’ Today, Sarkozy is stating, in effect, that Chirac was wrong.”

BBC International News Radio broadcast (July 14, 2008)

Can Syria avoid sanctions with a UN nuclear inspection? (25 June 2008)

Christian Science Monitor – By Julien Barnes-Dacey

“What’s driving Syria right now is an anxiety about becoming a pariah,” says Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma. …”Iran can afford to thumb their nose at the West because they have so much money coming in from oil that will help insulate them from sanctioning,” says Mr. Landis. “Syria doesn’t have a cushion like that.”

Syrian leaders in upbeat mood despite IAEA visit (20 June 2008)

Reuters by Alistair Lyon, Beirut

Syria, whose troops left Lebanon in 2005, was delighted by last month’s Qatari-brokered deal among rival Lebanese leaders which translated a military victory won by Hezbollah and other Syrian allies against U.S.-backed factions into political gains.

“The Syrians were thrilled to see them wiping away the facade of U.S. power,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at Oklahoma University. “It was clearly very sobering for the Americans, who are trying to figure out where to go from here.”

Thaw Between Syria and Israel Puts Hezbollah on Front Burner (19 June 2008)

By Nathan Guttman in the Forward – New York, NY, USA

“Syria is bending over backward right now to be accommodating to Israel and France by pushing Hamas to compromise and by pushing the Lebanese opposition to moderate their demands,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria scholar at Oklahoma University. Syria and Israel are finding common ground on the issue of Hezbollah, Landis added, but while Israel would like Damascus to break altogether with the terrorist group, Syria believes it can encourage Hezbollah to focus on politics.

Gulf States Newsletter: Independent Analysis and Political Risk (13 June 2008)

ISSN 0953-5411 Volume 32 • Issue 831

…. Respected Syria watcher Joshua Landis, author of the blog Syria Comment, had this to say:“For two years we have been hearing stories that the Assad family is at daggers drawn and ready to kill one another. Never were they true in the past … [But] we have not seen any sign of Asef Shawkat in months. Also, several people I trust tell me that Asef is no longer the head of military intelligence – at least that part of the story seems true.”

Upbeat in Syria (June 6th 2008)

Economist Intelligence Unit

Why President Bashar Assad is feeling cock-a-hoop

…..Mr Assad said that when the Doha talks seemed to be on the brink of collapse, the ruler of Qatar called on Syria to provide some suggestions. “The ideas we provided were the exact same ideas we provided the French last year when they were mediating”, Mr Assad said, according to a transcript provided on the Syria Comment blog. “However, the French then did not comprehend or did not implement the ideas correctly.” He attributed this failing on the part of the French government to the mistaken assumption that Syria could speak and act on behalf of its allies in Lebanon, whereas in fact Syria was merely interested in furnishing practical solutions…..

Syria Defiant on Ties With Iran 5 June 2008

Institute for War and Peace Reporting – London, England

Joshua Landis, co-director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at Oklahoma University, said the new agreement “clearly complicates” the peace process, but would not jeopardise the negotiations.

“The only reason that Israel is talking to Syria today is because Syria is Iran’s ally,” he said. “Israel is talking peace because they’re frightened of Syria, they’re frightened of Hezbollah and they’re frightened of Iran.”

Landis said that apart from a desire to curb ties between Damascus and Tehran, Israel was also interested in talking to the Syrians about securing its northern borders with Lebanon from attack by the Syrian- and Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia. He also noted that Israel wants the Syrians to reduce their support for the Palestinian group Hamas.

If Syria can deliver on some of these demands and make the Israelis feel more secure, Tel Aviv might be willing to back down on the issue of ties with Iran.

Analysts note that the security pact is a continuation of the long-established Iranian-Syrian axis and therefore cannot have come as a surprise to either Israel or the US.

The alliance took off in 1980, when Syria backed Iran against Iraq when those two countries embarked on their eight-year war.

Landis predicted that Syria would maintain a strong relationship with Iran as it continued to be isolated internationally. “As long as everyone is trying to boycott Syria and isolate it, it’s going to keep its friends,” Landis said. “And Iran is a friend.”

International News Net July 02, 2008 (More info)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SobF5tg0MmI

video

INN WORLD REPORT-Joshua Landis PT. 1

INN WORLD REPORT-Joshua Landis PT. 2

International News Net speaks with Prof. Joshua Landis about the recent Israeli bombing of Syrian territory. Professor Landis is the Director of the Center for Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma and Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies in the School of International and Area Studies. (more)

Canadian Broadcasting Corp. Sunday edition. Aug. 20, 2006: Half hour talk show on

Here is note from producer. —–Original Message—– From: Jane Farrow [mailto:Jane_Farrow@CBC.CA]

Sent: Monday, August 21, 2006 6:37 PM

To: Landis, Joshua M.

Subject: RE: CBC interview again?

joshua, well, you did fantastic. the interview was wonderful. lots of great response to it, I am so happy it all turned out so well. you and Afshin have great rapport together… I hope we can do something wiht you again soon…. you are ‘radio paydirt’ (a great yakker) and really interesting material. Jane Jane Farrow, producer The Sunday Edition, CBC Radio One Ph:   416-205-2606

On the sidelines of a cease-fire, an increasingly defiant Syria Christian Science Monitor – Boston, MA, USA …

“In essence, what we see going on in Lebanon is a classic struggle for an important sphere of influence,” says Joshua Landis, a historian of Syria and director … Texas Radio talk in show – August 25, 2006

Who won and who lost in Lebanon? New Anatolian – Ankara, Turkey … Salhani have a different approach: “Assad’s message, according to a Syrian blogger identified only as ‘Fadi’ and posted on Joshua Landis’Syriacomment.com, was …

BBC World News Tonight – August 30, 2006 Explaining what Kofi Anan is doing during his visits to Lebanon, Israel and Syria

Bordering on Chaos August 31, 2006 Council on Foreign Relations – New York, New York, USA … Syria, as Joshua Landistells CFR.org’s Bernard Gwertzman, has forged a new dialogue and repaired relations after two decades of mutual distrust. …

Iraq’s Meddlesome Neighbors August 31, 2006 Council on Foreign Relations – New York,New York,USA …

Joshua Landis, an independent expert on Syria, emphasizes on his blog SyriaComment.com that Syria is neither Sunni nor Baathist but Alawite, an offshoot of … Julian Marshall interviews Joshua Landis September 1, 2006

A Divide Deepens in Arab World, LA Times, July 17, 2006

By Kim Murphy

…They have promised, ‘America will protect us if we stand against Syria,’ ” said Joshua Landis, a Middle East expert and professor at the University of Oklahoma. Now Israel is “blowing the hell out of them, and America isn’t taking one step to protect them,” Landis said. “The whole Arab world is going to look and see that Hariri has been sacrificed on the altar of Israeli power. For the Arabs, this just rips the face of democracy right off.”

Crisis May Put Syria Back in Political Mix, LA Times, July 18, 2006

Kim Murphy

…Damascus, urged by the U.S. to use its influence to help end the conflict, appears eager to reassert its claim to be a regional power broker. But the upshot is that Washington has been left in the current crisis with fewer negotiating levers, said Joshua Landis, an expert on Syria and a professor at the University of Oklahoma. The Syrians are “playing a very dangerous game. But until the first bomb starts falling on Damascus, everything’s going Syria’s way,” Landis said. Syria backed Hamas when it was a fledgling Islamic resistance movement, only to see it triumph at the polls this spring and take over the Palestinian government, he said. “Last week when all hell broke loose in Gaza, the [Palestinian administration] was sending negotiators to Damascus to try to get the release of this [captured] Israeli young man,” Landis said. “A year ago, those people would all have been sent to Cairo. “Now Egypt has been replaced by Syria as the major broker in the Arab-Israeli conflict,” he added. “Bashar has outfoxed them.”</blockquote>

Analyzing the Syria-Hezbollah connection, National Public Radio, July 19, 2006
Marketplace – Los Angeles,CA,USA

Host Kai Ryssdal talks with Joshua Landis, who studies Syrian politics and economy at the University of Oklahoma. Host …
JOSHUA LANDIS: Syria’s benefit of having Hezbollah is it gives them a front on the Arab-Israeli conflict and in the last year what we’ve see is that Syria has come up holding all the cards on the Arab-Israeli conflict. A year ago they had almost no cards, but Syria hung onto Hamas and the more radical Palestinian groups as America put pressure on Syria as America said you’ve got to kick these guys out, we want to eliminate them. But what happened is that Hamas won the elections in Israel last year and become the Palestinian Authority. So Bashar was proven a very smart calculator and his investment paid off in spades…

As Diplomatic Steps Begin, Assad’s Choices Could Fan Or Defuse Regional Violence, Wall Street Journal, July 18, 2006

By KARBY LEGGETT in Jerusalem, MARIAM FAM in Damascus, Syria and NEIL KING JR. in Washington, Page A1
…some analysts have begun speculating that the U.S. may seek to throw Syria a lifeline. Under one scenario, the U.S. would end Syria’s international isolation and possibly offer it some kind of aid package, in return for cutting ties with> Iran and ending support for Hezbollah and Hamas. “There is no military solution to the current problem, unless you kill every single Hezbollah and Hamas member. So reality for the U.S. is there is no end game unless you sit down and talk with the bad guys,” says Joshua Landis, a professor at Oklahoma University and a expert on Syria politics. “And so the choice is between Damascus or Tehran.”
.

In Syria, Providing a Voice for Moderate Islam

NPR

Listen to this story... by Deborah Amos

Morning Edition, August 3, 2005 · Syria remains a secular country but the capital is showing signs of transformation. Slighted political parties that call for Islamic modernism and the advancement of technology are only a few of the changes. Landis says the Muslim Brotherhood declared Alawites apostates, non-Muslims, in the 1980s, a position they have not officially changed. ..

video

INN WORLD REPORT-Joshua Landis PT. 1

INN WORLD REPORT-Joshua Landis PT. 2

International News Net speaks with Prof. Joshua Landis about the recent Israeli bombing of Syrian territory. Professor Landis is the Director of the Center for Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma and Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies in the School of International and Area Studies. (more)
.
Open Democracy – London,UK
In an interview with the Council on Foreign Relations, Syria expert Joshua Landis said that the return of the Golan Heights in exchange for Syria’s ending …

Council on Foreign Relations
By Joshua Landis

Interviewer: Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor

“We have to be highly suspicious of this kind of news,” said Syria expert Joshua Landis, co-director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “It’s a Saudi paper; it has an extremely anti-Syrian view… It’s not reliable in that sense. They may be getting this from the Syrian opposition or from the Lebanese….

Joshua Landis, who writes the blog Syria Comment and is regarded as a leading Syria specialist, says a prospective Syria-Israel peace agreement is “very feasible” but is skeptical whether it can be achieved quickly. For there to be a deal, Landis says, Israel would have to return all of the Golan Heights, and Syria would have to rein in Hezbollah and stop aiding Hamas. Landis adds that it will be a “bitter pill” for Syria to stop supporting militant Palestinian groups….

Something happening in Damascus? 14 April 2008

Middle East Times – Editorial – Cairo, Egypt

Professor Joshua Landis’ respected and usually well informed blog site, Syria Comment, has published the following, part of what he calls an “intelligence …

Syria risks more isolation over Lebanon 1 April 2008

Reuters South Africa – Johannesburg, South Africa

“Tough times are ahead for Syria,” Joshua Landis, a Syria specialist at the University of Oklahoma, told Reuters. “Syria thinks it can persevere another year and then it will be a new day. But the U.S. Treasury is laying landmines that Syria will find it difficult to negotiate,” he added.

Landis said Syria could find it tougher to play for time as Washington already expanded sanctions on Damascus and Arab states siding with Lebanon’s government showed no willingness to welcome Syria back to what they regard as the Arab mainstream.

News From the Israeli and Palestinian Front:

1 April 2008
The Moderate Voice – USA
Joshua Landis, an expert on Syrian politics, writes that Israel is not serious about pursuing a peace agreement with Syria, despite the recent rumors. …

Mideast rift upstages Arab League summit

28 March 2008
Christian Science Monitor – By Julien Barnes-Dacey, Boston,MA,USA
“Syria thinks that being stubborn will pay off and that the US effort in Lebanon will collapse,” says Joshua Landis, a Syrian expert at the University of Oklahoma.

He compares the situation to the long Lebanese civil war in the 1980s. After the Americans and other regional players withdrew, Syria was the last country standing. …

Arab Leaders, Angry at Syrian President, Threaten Boycott of 8 March 2008

New York Times – by Robert Worth, United States

“I think Syria has taken its position: they need to make sure that Lebanon cannot be used against them,” said Prof. Joshua M. Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma. Its strategy, he added, is based in large part on countering the enormous financial power of Saudi Arabia and its allies.

“This is Syria’s game: keep Lebanon paralyzed, and Saudi has to subsidize everything,” Professor Landis said. “That’s going to take billions of dollars, and where does it end? Syria thinks they can outlast them.”

US Takes Aim at Shadowy Syrian Businessman 26 February 2008

Forward – New York, NY,USA

“There will undoubtedly be many Syrians who take some satisfaction from this move, but many will also be anxious because the U.S. has penetrated a new level of sovereignty,” said Joshua Landis, an expert on Syrian who teaches at the University of Oklahoma. “This is a big blow to Syria, and means an entirely new level of bad blood between the two countries,” Landis said.

Sanctions on Businessman Target Syria’s Inner Sanctum

22 Febrary 2008
U.S. Action Alleges Corruption
By Robin Wright

Washington Post 2008; A18

“Once you hit Rami Makhluf, you’re at war with Syria,” said Joshua M. Landis, a former Fulbright scholar in Syria who teaches at the University of Oklahoma. “When you sanction Rami Makhluf, you’re also sanctioning all the people who deal with him, including the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country.”

“A lot of people think of Makhluf as a highway robber, and in some ways he is. But he is also one of the few people who can work through the system to get things done,” said Landis, referring to Rami Makhluf. “All kinds of banks and people and foreign investors who want to join in Syria’s development are going to think twice and think ‘What’s going to happen to me?’

Banning Facebook in Syria (18 February 2008)

BBC Arabic Radio

BY Louay Ismail

Hezbollah Commander, Wanted by US, Killed in Syria 13 February 2008

Bloomberg – USA

“There seems to be a steady attempt to push Syria, and right now the United States and the West has very little leverage over Syria, and I think this is frustrating everybody in Washington as they see Syria asserting its authority in Lebanon,” said Josh Landis, a specialist on Syria and director of the Center for Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “They’ve run out of tools and the only thing Bush can say now is that he’s going to get a fully funded investigation” into Hariri’s assassination.

Killing of top Hezbollah operative may be costly for Syria,

14 February 2008
By HAMZA HENDAWI, Herald Tribune
al-Qaida has not made a concerted effort to act in Syria, not because of the strength of its security services, but because of Damascus’ anti-Western stance, according to Syria expert Joshua Landis.

“It’s not just because the police are good. Syria’s been given a pass by al-Qaida and others because of its anti-American position, but Americans and the West don’t want to admit that because they don’t want to admit that there’s a cause and effect,” said Landis, director of the Center for Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He also maintains a widely read blog on Syria.

Al-Jazeera – English TV: 13 Febraury 2008

Evening News: 5 minute clip about the Mughniyah assassination.

by Taylor Long, NOW, Lebanon
Dr. Joshua Landis, a Syrian specialist at the University of Oklahoma and the publisher of “Syria Comment,” agreed that Jumblatt has served in recent years as “the spearhead of the Syrian-Lebanese opposition nexus.”

Landis’s logic is that March 14 had been strategic about its detachment. “The Syrian opposition is extremely weak and vulnerable,” he pointed out. “Anyone responsible knows that to freight opposition figures with too much responsibility is to send them to prison.” The US has reportedly tried to mobilize the Syrian opposition through the International Republican Institute (IRI), much as it did in 2004 and 2005 during Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. Those who met with IRI representatives, however, were subsequently interrogated by the Syrian authorities, and several were expelled from the country. March 14 leaders like Saad Hariri, it seems, did not want to make the same mistake. “If Hariri reaches out to Syrian opposition people, they will be arrested and imprisoned,” said Landis. “Many Syrians would blame Hariri and not their own government for their arrest. Perhaps only Jumblatt is willing to go down this road. He has nothing to lose with Syria.”

Landis’s logic is that March 14 had been strategic about its detachment. “The Syrian opposition is extremely weak and vulnerable,” he pointed out. “Anyone responsible knows that to freight opposition figures with too much responsibility is to send them to prison.” The US has reportedly tried to mobilize the Syrian opposition through the International Republican Institute (IRI), much as it did in 2004 and 2005 during Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. Those who met with IRI representatives, however, were subsequently interrogated by the Syrian authorities, and several were expelled from the country. March 14 leaders like Saad Hariri, it seems, did not want to make the same mistake. “If Hariri reaches out to Syrian opposition people, they will be arrested and imprisoned,” said Landis. “Many Syrians would blame Hariri and not their own government for their arrest. Perhaps only Jumblatt is willing to go down this road. He has nothing to lose with Syria.”

Once-Socialist Damascus Displays New Wealth, Glitz

February 6, 2008
by Deborah Amos on NPR’s “All things Considered”
Listen Now [5 min 9 sec]

Josh Landis, an American academic who specializes in Syria, says China is Syria’s model: Keep a tight lid on political opposition, open the economy and try to manage the growing income gap. “The big question for the Syrian government is, can it keep a lid on it? Can they get the trickledown fast enough so that people don’t give up hope, so the rising expectations don’t explode in their hands?” Landis says.

US Officials To Meet With Arch Foes – Iran and Syria December 11, 2007

Infolive.tv – Jerusalem,Israel

Joshua Landis, a leading Syria expert, who publishes “Syria Comment” was quoted in a recent article saying, ” Syria is key to the peace process. If you keep the door closed on Syria, many people believe the peace process can go nowhere.” Syrians he said are willing to do a deal, despite Iran’s objections….

Is the Syria-Iran Alliance Beginning to Crack?

December 11, 2007
theTrumpet.com – Edmond,OK,USA
Joshua Landis, a Syria specialist at the University of Oklahoma, said this week that the leadership crisis in Lebanon may have been one reason Syria chose …

Landis: Syria Key to Middle East Peace Process December 4, 2007

Council on Foreign Relations – New York, NY, USA

Interview with Bernard Gwertzman

Joshua Landis, a leading Syria expert, who publishes “Syria Comment,” says Syria’s surprise attendance at last week’s Annapolis peace conference came after …

Is the U.S. now ready for talks with Syria? December 3, 2007

Christian Science Monitor by Nicholas Blanford

“Syria is being brought back in, including by Washington, and Syria is trying to dress itself up and get on Israel’s dance card” to get the Golan Heights back, says Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, and author of the widely read “Syria Comment” blog. …

Deal signals a thaw in US-Syrian relations

Nov. 28, 2007
Globe and Mail – Canada
Joshua Landis, co-director of the Centre for Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma and a Syria expert, said that the sudden acceptance by all sides of …

Syria upbeat on chance to reopen Golan issue

Nov. 27, 2007
Reuters – USA
Joshua Landis, a Syria specialist at the University of Oklahoma, said Syria had shown flexibility by attending the Annapolis conference. …

Landis on the BBC World Service Newshour

November 26th, 2007
Explaining why Syria is going to Annapolis
The Radio clip is about 4 minutes long: Syria to attend peace conference

Syria has accepted an invitation by the USA to attend the Middle East conference in Annapolis. Syria said it would only take part if the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights was discussed. So why the change? Joshua Landis is the director of the Centre for Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Syrian envoy decries lack of diplomacy October 20, 2007

NewsOK.com (subscription) – Oklahoma City,OK,USA

AP Video Syrian ambassador Imad Moustapha (right), joins a panel discussion Wednesday with University of Oklahoma faculty Josh Landis

Syrian ambassador denies nuclear arms ambitions Oct. 18, 2007

Tuttle Times – Tuttle,OK,USA

“US-Syrian Relations: Cooperation or Conflict” was moderated by Dr. Joshua Landis, co-director for the Center for Peace Studies, and Dr. Zach P. Messitte, …

SYRIA: Rights Groups Fly By Ever Darker Night Oct. 18, 2007

IPS – Italy

“They never had any legal NGOs [non-government organisations]”, commented Joshua Landis, the co-director of the University of Oklahoma’s Centre for Peace …

Syria: internal politics after the re-election of Bashar Assad Sept. 26, 2007

Equilibri.net (subscription) – Italy

Certainly, as is confirmed by Joshua Landis, analyst and expert in Syrian affairs that “Syrians have still not completely accepted this regime” and much

Sol Salbe: Israel’s Syria Incursion Sept. 22, 2007

Scoop.co.nz – New Zealand

Larry Derfner touched on the subject in a Jerusalem Post column (reproduced in Josh Landis Blog): “For once, Israelis seem to believe that Syria is telling

Shots in the dark over Syria’s skies

Sept. 21, 2007
Asia Times Online by Sami Moubayed
Joshua Landis, a professor at Oklahoma University who is an expert on Syrian affairs and runs Syriacomment.com, said: “Bolton represents the crowd that is …

Stewart Ain And Larry Cohler Esses, Sept. 20, 2007

Jewish Week by Stewart Ain And Larry Cohler Esses

In fact, University of Oklahoma Syria specialist Joshua Landis says everything he knows about Syria tells him war remains highly unlikely.

Neocons Tie N. Korea to Israeli Strike on Syria Sept. 19, 2007

International Press Service, by Khody Akhavi

“Bolton represents the crowd that is very distressed that the U.S. has declared defeat in North Korea by trusting the North Koreans. They would like to scuttle that agreement,” wrote Syria expert Josh Landis, on his widely-read blog, www.syriacomment.com.”While doing it, anything they can dredge up to boost the notion of weapons transfers between Korea and Syria and Iran will be icing on the cake. Israeli planes were trying to get the goods,” he wrote.

“Bolton represents the crowd that is very distressed that the U.S. has declared defeat in North Korea by trusting the North Koreans. They would like to scuttle that agreement,” wrote Syria expert Josh Landis, on his widely-read blog, www.syriacomment.com.

“While doing it, anything they can dredge up to boost the notion of weapons transfers between Korea and Syria and Iran will be icing on the cake. Israeli planes were trying to get the goods,” he wrote.

Jordan, Syria Reach Their Limit of Iraqi Refugees Sept. 17, 2007

The Globe and Mail, By Mark McKinnon – Canada

… horrors kept a lid on sectarian violence – Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and part-time resident of Damascus who teaches at the University of Oklahoma, …

Did Israel Destroy Iranian-Syrian Missile Production Facilities?

Sept. 14, 2007
Iran Press Service – Paris,France
… could be used to produce material for nuclear weapons”, Joshua Landis, the author of the interesting blog “Syria Comment”, reported on Thursday. …

Israeli National TV:

Sept 12, 2007
Interviewed on Evening “International Affairs” Talk Show with Arab Nir.

Sept. 11, 2007
Los Angeles Times – By Jeffrey Fleishman
“Syria has reached a decisive moment in its regional politics,” said Joshua Landis, co-director of the Center of Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “As it becomes clear that the U.S. must begin withdrawing from Iraq . . . Syria must decide what policy it will pursue toward a post-American Iraq. Will it side with Iran in supporting a Shiite government or will it side with Saudi Arabia in supporting the Sunni opposition?”….

Piecing Together What’s Just Happened between Israel and Syria Sept. 7, 2007

Prospects for Peace – New York, NY, USA

Today, Josh Landis has a fascinating post on his well-respected Syria Comment blog entitled “Is Israel Looking for Korean Weapons in Syria?”. …

KPFK- Pacifica Radio for southern California from LA Sept. 6, 2007

Mid-day News. Listen here. Go to 4:30 minutes into the broadcast.

NPRMorning Edition,

August 22, 2007 Listen
“Saddam Hussein not only started a war against Iran, he was supporting anti-Syrian elements — the Muslim Brotherhood — here. So both regimes were threatened. They had to come together and be against Saddam Hussein,” says Josh Landis, co-director of the Center for Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma and assistant professor of Middle Eastern Studies in the School of International and Area Studies.

“It’s a classic balance of power game. When Iraq is strong and threatens both countries, the two neighbors, Syria and Iran, have to come together and protect themselves,” Landis says. The Iran-Syria alliance drifted apart in the 1990s when Saddam was weak, but Landis says that in 2003, Iraq became a threat again.

“As soon as America landed in Iraq in 2003 and said, ‘I am going to blow apart both the Iranian and Syrian regimes and change the entire Middle East,’ the relationship became strong again. And America was threatening both countries, so Iraq was strong,” Landis explains.

“So as soon as the U.S. leaves, Syria is going to want Sunnis to have more power. Iran is going to want Shiites to have more power, and they are going to fall out over this,” Landis says….

Syria To Crackdown Tougher On Web Sites,

August 9, 2007
by Joseph S. Mayton – AHN Middle East Correspondent
Cairo, Egypt (AHN) – The Syrian Ministry of Information has promised that a new media law will be “issued soon,” and that it will include clear restrictions on electronic media. According to reports from the country, the new law will continue to restrict the use of the Internet for disseminating information. Already, Damascus has stopped blogspot from being used in the country and plans on making it difficult for users to have comments pages on their blogs.

“It is hard to believe that Syria would want to close down all websites with comment sections. Already all Blogspot blogs have been blocked in Syria. They can still be read through Bloglines or any other RSS feed, but the comment sections are not so easily accessed,” Joshua Landis, Co-director at the Center of Peace Studies, University of Oklahoma, wrote on his blog….

Analysis: All quiet on the Mideast front? July 24, 2007

United Press International – USA by Claude Salhani

The next few months could be “fateful” for Syria, according to the country’s president, Bashar Assad, as quoted by the usually very well informed Internet blog, SyriaComment.com…

“The situation is likely to get worse before it gets better,” writes Joshua Landis, co-director of the Center for Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma, publisher of the SyriaComment blog, who is currently visiting Syria. The next few months “will be a waiting game and the hatches have all been battened down,” writes Landis.

Regional Powerplays and Shifting Sectarian Dynamics in Iraq, 7/2/2007

Global Politician, By Timothy Brown – Brooklyn,NY,USA

Joshua Landis, a leading expert on Syrian affairs, says “Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent meeting with Syrian foreign minister, Walid Moualem, at the conference on Iraq held at Sharm-el Sheik has…complicated Saudi Arabia’s efforts to draw Syria away from Iranian influence.”9 Saudi Arabia…is looking to bring Syria back into an Arab consensus, and to contain Iranian influence in the Arab world by breaking Syria’s isolation and trying to woo it away from Iran. The Harari court stands in the way of that process.10 Severing the Iran-Syria nexus has vast strategic implications for the region because as Joshua Landis further states that “In order to contain Iran, Saudi Arabia understands that it needs Arab unity, and most important in that Arab unity is Syria, because Iran’s reach into the Arab world is through Syria. Hezbollah is armed through Syria. The arms come largely from Iran, but arms cannot be sent through airports, or by ships, because Israeli intelligence will stop them. Therefore the only way to get arms into Lebanon is over the mountains and through the valleys of the border of Syria.” The Saudi assertion is that continuing to isolate Syria only allows them to side with Iran; however, any Saudi-Syrian talks would be divergent of the policy of its main ally, the United States….

Smiles in Damascus and Tehran June 21, 2007

Council on Foreign Relations – New York, NY,USA

Iran is seeking a stronger foothold in the Middle East, and as Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma points out in this interview with Bernard … “Iran’s reach into the Arab world is through Syria.”

Mideast surprise: Changes are astir

June 17, 2007
San Francisco Chronicle
“Countries like Egypt took steps forward,” said Joshua Landis, an assistant professor of history at the University of Oklahoma. “But soon these countries …

KCBS Radio San Francisco,

April 7. 2007
Pelosi Visit to Damascus
KCRW, Southern California Public Radio,

April 5, 2007
To the Point: Joshua Landis and Michael Young discuss Pelosi visit
Click here to listen

Tough Week for Bush’s Middle East Strategy,” by Jim Lobe, April 2, 2007

Inter Press Service.

“King Abdullah has come to the conclusion that only Arab unity can restore the regional balance of power [that has been] so skewed in Iran’s favor by the destruction of Saddam’s Arabist regime,” wrote Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at University of Oklahoma, on his blog. “To do this, Saudi Arabia must reach an accommodation with Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas; it cannot destroy them, as the U.S. recommends.”

Les tensions avec Ryad mettent Washington en difficulté au Proche-Orient difficulté au Proche-Orient difficulté au Proche-Orient April 2, 2007

L’Orient-Le Jour, editorial:

“Selon Joshua Landis, un expert du Center of Peace Studies de l’Université de l’Oklahoma, en qualifiant d’« illégitime » la présence de troupes américaines en Irak, le roi Abdallah s’est posé comme le champion d’un nouveau panarabisme, destiné à contenir la montée de l’influence de l’Iran dans la région. Le roi est déjà parvenu à la conclusion que le plan du président George W. Bush en Irak était voué à l’échec et cherche à éloigner la Syrie de l’Iran pour ramener le régime de Damas dans le giron arabe, explique cet expert. « Le roi Abdallah a annoncé qu’il cherchait à adopter une nouvelle politique irakienne, une politique destinée à une nouvelle phase postaméricaine en Irak et une politique qui doit être coordonnée avec la Syrie », ajoute-t-il, rappelant que le souverain saoudien a eu deux entretiens avec le président syrien Bachar el-Assad en marge du sommet de Ryad.”

Syria, War, and Diplomacy,” 5 February 2007

Radio: ‘Weekday’ with Steve Scher,’ KUOW 94.9 Puget Sound Public Radio, 9:00 to 10:00 am.

….”Today we’ll talk to Imad Moustapha, the Syrian Ambassador to the United States, and Joshua Landis, a leading Syria expert.”

National Public Radio affiliate in Seattle, KUOW. Listen here.

Joshua Landis to ‘Al-Seyassa:’ Bush will not Heed Baker and Hamilton’s Advise,”

1 February 2007
Al-Seyassa, Kuwait, (39th Year) Issue No (13736)
Article in Arabic

Outside View: Golan, key to peace

Jan. 5, 2007
United Press International, Claude Salhani
… “SyriaComment.com, Joshua Landis` respected and authoritative blog, reports that the Syrian government-run daily newspaper Ath-Thawra…”

Fox News TV: Dec. 30, 2006.

Secret US plan to overthrow Syrian gov’t – Report Dec. 21, 2006

Aljazeera.com – London,UK

… US invasion of Iraq, which Syria opposed, the Bush Administration has been looking for ways to squeeze the government in Damascus,” says Joshua Landis, a Syria …

Report: US looking to topple Assad Dec. 21, 2006

Ynetnews – Israel

… Joshua Landis, a Syria expert who is co-director of the Center for Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma told TIME that the proposal “is really just an …

Syria in Bush’s Crosshairs

Dec. 20, 2006
TIME – USA by ADAM ZAGORIN
… invasion of Iraq, which Syria opposed, the Bush Administration has been looking for ways to squeeze the government in Damascus,” notes Joshua Landis, a Syria …

Should Bush talk to Syria? Interview with Joshua Landis Dec. 16, 2006

Aljazeera.net – Qatar, Adla Massoud in New York

… But Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and co-director of the Center for Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma , believes the Bush administration will simply not budge on the issue. A senior Fulbright scholar in Syria in 2005 and operator of a Website called SyriaComment.com, Landis says the current view among the neoconservatives in Washington is that Syria is ruled by an “evil” dictatorship….

Should the US engage Syria?

by Joshua Landis

Published by Civility, a publication of the “Foreign Policy Centre” in Britain

December, 2006

Go-it-alone strategy a gamble that failed.

Dec. 12, 06
Globe and Mail – Canada, ALAN FREEMAN
…In 2003, going into Iraq, the U.S. made this massive gamble that the Middle East was ready for the fourth wave of democracy,” like Eastern Europe in the late 1980s, said Joshua Landis, co-director of the Center for Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

The theory was that by toppling Saddam Hussein, populations in Iraq’s neighbours, such as Syria, would rise up and overthrow their dictatorial regimes as well. The gamble clearly failed. But the Middle East, with its ethnic and tribal divisions, was not ready to embrace democracy — “The nation state in the Middle East is not fully cooked,” Mr. Landis said…

Lebanon: regional dynamics and internal tensions, Nov. 26, 2006

Times of Malta, by Leo Brincat, Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Council of Europe Rapporteur for Lebanon.

… According to an American expert, Joshua Landis, the drawn-out Iraq conflict has fed an image of declining US influence in Lebanon, and this has led Hizbollah to try to weaken, if not overthrow, the Siniora government. US power in the aftermath of the Iraq invasion enabled it to pry Lebanon away from Syria’s sphere of influence, but now as America’s authority starts to drain out of the region because of the Iraq debacle, Syria and its allies in Lebanon are trying to capitalise on a weakened America…

The Case For Engaging Syria,” by Joshua Landis, November 17, 2006

Brookings Institute,

Should The United States Engage Syria? A Saban Center Policy Forum Debate

Memo #10,

“Syria’s obstructionist behavior derives largely from the fact that the United States has historically allied itself with Syria’s enemies. Rapprochement with Syria would change this context. Moreover, Syria’s undefined international borders, as opposed to the Ba’thist state’s ideology, is what fuels radicalism in Syria. An intrinsic component of a United States-Syrian rapprochement, then, would be a concerted US effort to press Israel to conclude a peace agreement with Syria and end the Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights.”…..

Lebanon Struggles to Maintain Stability After Assassination, Nov. 22, 2006

PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer

… Joshua Landis suggests both sides playing hands where the United States doesn’t hold very many good cards, doesn’t have very many good …

Agence France Press,
An early casualty may be the idea of dialogue with U.S. foes Damascus and Tehran. “It is going to be much harder,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and co-director of Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma. …

Lebanon “certainly was the sort of crown jewel in the administration’s Middle East portfolio, but they are going to have to regroup,” said Schenker who served Bush as a Pentagon Middle East advisor.
Bilal Saab said the failure of the Saniora government would be a “setback for the Bush administration.”
“The Americans believe that this government is capable of advancing U.S. interests — the flourishing of democracy in the region — and they see Lebanon an example of democracy taking its way,” he said.
Landis was blunter. “Lebanon is the last success story. If it falls, it is the end,” he said. “The U.S. is going to use Lebanon as a battering ram,” against Syria and Iran, Landis said. Syria meanwhile, “feels the tide is running out on America’s imperial authority in the Middle East.”(AFP)
International Herald Tribune, By Sally Buzbee,
… since. “In some ways you can read this as upping the ante,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma. Most …

Khaleej Times – Dubai,United Arab Emirates
… “It is going to be much harder,” said Joshua Landis…

Voice of America – USA, By Gary Thomas, 22 November 2006
… Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and co-director of the Center for Peace Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says Gemayel’s killing could have been done by …

San Francisco Chronicle – CA, USA
Washington’s in paralysis. They don’t know what their policy will be,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma. Given the fears that Iraq may collapse into complete chaos, said Landis, “Iraq and the neighbors cannot afford to wait two, three, four months for Washington to figure out who’s on first, who’s on second and what their Iraq policy is. So they’re driving the situation right now.”

While it’s unlikely the White House is prepared to begin those talks without preconditions, such as Iran abandoning its nuclear program or Syria doing more to secure its borders, some analysts warn that America stands to lose even more if it simply stands by while Iran and Syria sit down with Iraq to discuss that tattered nation’s future.

“You don’t want that. America wants to be leading this policy and working together with these people,” he said. “If this meeting doesn’t happen, the next one will, unless America gets on the phone and talks to both of these capitals and says we’re going to work something out with you.”

Envisioning US Talks With Iran and Syria, Nov. 19, 2006

New York Times, Michael Slackman,

… “Syria is quite realistic, if proud and stubborn,” said Joshua Landis, an assistant professor of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma.“It will accept serious American offers and insist that the problems be dealt with comprehensively.”

Curbing the Crisis in Lebanon, 17 November 2006

Voice of America,

… Cooperating with the United States also carries dangers. “Syria and Iran both believe that the U.S. is tilting at windmills and will not lend their leverage to a venture which they see as doomed,” said Joshua Landis, a University of Oklahoma specialist who recently spent a year as a Fulbright scholar in Damascus….

Will Syria change its tune? Nov. 7, 2006

Edmond Sun – OK,USA

… One of the most knowledgeable people regarding Syria is Professor Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma, who serves as co-director of the Center For …

Landis: Iraq War Sapping US Influence in Lebanon

Nov. 3, 2006
Council on Foreign Relations – New York,New York,USA

Interviewee:
Joshua Landis, Co-director, Center of Peace Studies, University of Oklahoma
Interviewer:
Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor

Joshua Landis, an expert on Syria and Lebanon, says the drawn-out Iraq conflict has fed an image of declining US influence in Lebanon, and this has led …

BBC World News

November 1, 2006
Landisinterviewed with Imad Mustapha, Syrian Ambassador in Washington and Advisor to Lebanese Prime Minister about US accusation of a Syrian plot to destabilize Lebanon’s democratic government. Listen here.

Asia Times Online – Kowloon,Hong Kong

… But there remains an obstinate, if misguided, logic to US policy, as summarized by Syria expert Dr Joshua Landis: “The resistance to opening the door to …

David Brooks (Mis)Uses Israeli History to Involve the US in a October 6, 2006

New York Observer – New York,NY,USA by Philip Weiss

… One of the most creative thinkers about the Middle East, Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma, makes the point that many states in the Middle East …

Let’s Make a Deal: It’s time to talk to Syria. Sept. 15, 2006

Slate By Fred Kaplan

… “Joshua Landis,” whose blog, Syria Comment, is the most informative clearinghouse of analysis on the country, thinks that Assad wants better relations with the United States; that he turned to Iran in part because he needed to turn somewhere and had no alternative…

Wisconson Public Radio interview: Listen to interview

Thursday, September 14, 2006 at 9:30 AM. Four men attacked the U.S. Embassy in Syria on Tuesday, killing one and wounding thirteen.

Kathleen Dunn and her guest examine what this says about the U.S. being targeted overseas.

Guest: – Joshua M. Landis, co-director, Center for Peace Studies, International Programs Center. Assistant professor of Middle Eastern studies, School of International and Area

Attack on US embassy foiled Sept 13, 2006

Globe and Mail – Canada

… The Syrian regime will be “deeply embarrassed” by the attack and hugely relieved that it was thwarted, said Joshua Landis, an expert on Syria who recently …

Council on Foreign Relations – New York,New York,USA

… a national dialogue between political leaders failed in the spring, the country’s leadership just stopped working, says Joshua M. Landis, assistant professor …

BBC Newshour (begins at 14:25 min) September 1, 2006

BBC World News Tonight: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/networks/radio4/aod.shtml?radio4/worldtonight_fri active for a week

The Fight Over Iraq September 5, 2006 Council on Foreign Relations

… Syria, as Joshua Landistells Gwertzman, has forged a new dialogue and repaired relations after two decades of mutual distrust. …

BBC’s The World Today Sept 12, 2006 BBC Link

Syria seen as linchpin in Lebanon

San Francisco Chronicle – CA, USA

… Syria “is the doorman, and it gives Hezbollah diplomatic cover in the region,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma. …

Syria, Traditional Refuge for Displaced Arabs, Is Strained by …

New York Times – United States

… But Joshua Landis, an expert on Syrian history at the University of Oklahoma, said he expected Syria to remain the last refuge for citizens of other Arab …

What drives Hezbollah?

Minnesota Public Radio – Saint Paul, MN, USA

… Lebanon. Joshua Landis: Assistant professor of Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma. He writes the blog, Syria Comment. …

Syria stands to gain from Lebanon’s pain

Guardian Unlimited – UK

… “The Syrian opposition will be silenced by growing dislike of the United States,” Damascus-based commentator Joshua Landis wrote in his blog. …

Is Hizbullah winning by losing?

Christian Science Monitor – Boston, MA, USA

… “A month ago there was considerable attention being paid to Assad’s crackdown on the opposition,” wrote Damascus-based commentator Joshua Landis in his blog. …

Rice Faces Crisis of Her Own as Middle East Diplomacy Falters

Bloomberg – USA

Joshua M. Landis, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Oklahoma and a specialist on Syria, which occupied Lebanon until last year, said …

Syria holds key to lasting peace in Lebanon: analysts Khaleej Times – Dubai, United Arab Emirates (AFP)

Analyst Joshua Landis, an expert on Syria, said Damascus wanted a hand in any truce between the warring parties so as to show that it still holds sway in …

http://www.elaph.com/ElaphWeb/Politics/2006/8/166572.htm

الى ذلك رأى محللون انه لا يمكن التوصل الى تسوية دائمة للأزمة في لبنان في غياب الدعم الدبلوماسي لسورية التي ما زالت تتمتع بنفوذ كبير في لبنان عن طريق حزب الله. وقال الباحث

الأميركي جوشوا لانديس المتخصص في الشؤون السورية ان دمشق تريد هدنة بين الاطراف المتناحرة بواسطتها لتثبت انها ما زالت تلعب دورا محوريا في لبنان رغم انسحاب قواتها من هذا البلد في نيسان(ابريل) 2005 بعد ان مارست نفوذا سياسيا وعسكريا فيه لسنوات طويلة. واضاف لانديس في حديث لوكالة فرانس برس ان “الولايات المتحدة طردت سورية من لبنان. ولإبقاء نفوذها في لبنان دعمت حزب الله”، معتبرا ان سورية “ستملأ نوعا ما الفراغ من خلال ثقلها الدبلوماسي اذا ما اصبحت طرفا في التوصل الى هدنة”. وراى لانديس ان ارسال قوات اجنبية دون موافقة حزب الله، أي دون موافقة دمشق، سيكون “ضرباً من الجنون”. واضاف “ستتعرض (هذه القوات) لهجمات بالعزيمة نفسها التي ابداها حزب الله لدى مهاجمته القوات الأميركية والفرنسية والاسرائيلية التي حاولت اعادة تنظيم لبنان دون موافقة حافظ الاسد” الرئيس السوري الراحل.

Secretary Rice Faces Her Biggest Test Yet New York Sun – New York,NY,USA

… A specialist on Syria, which occupied Lebanon until last year, and a professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Oklahoma, Joshua Landis, said Ms. …

Analysis: Assad on the warpath United Press International

… Assad`s message, according to a Syrian blogger identified only as ‘Fadi’ and posted on Joshua Landis` Syriacomment.com, was simple: ‘Our camp won, yours lost …

Rising from the rubble ITP.net – Dubai,United Arab Emirates … s ability to continue sending rockets into Israel after a month of Israeli air strikes proves that Syria’s clients have teeth,” Joshua Landis, a Syria …

PBS – Charlie Rose Show – Friday, Aug 11, 2006

Charlie Rose invited me to speak on his show with Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha in a 25 minute Segment of his show. A DISCUSSION ABOUT SYRIA AND THE NATION’S ROLE: IN THE MIDDLE EAST CRISIS WITH IMAD MOUSTAPHA, Syria’s Ambassador to the United States JOSHUA LANDIS, University of Oklahoma CLICK HERE TO WATCH FRIDAY’S SHOW

Is peace possible?

Yes. Hafez Assad wanted to finish this deal in the 1990s when President Clinton led peace negotiations. He went to Geneva to meet with Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak, but, as Clinton writes in his memoir, Barak got cold feet. It was a few months before elections, and Barak didn’t think he could get Israel to give back the Golan Heights. As happened with Egypt in 1979, Israel didn’t want to give up the Sinai, but Jimmy Carter closed the deal by providing Israel with gobs of money. If there could be peace with Israel—and everybody in Damascus is talking about it, as is Syria’s ambassador to the U.S., Imad Moustapha—that would help lift the strict sanctions against Syria. America now has a chance to bring Syria away from anti-Western alliances that it has needed to fight the Arab-Israeli conflict.