Landis in the News 2015


The Washington Times
Obama yields to Russia and Iran, puts Assad ouster on back burner
December 21, 2015
by Guy Taylor

The calculation that the White House has made is that working with Assad is less bad than the alternative of going to war with Russia over Assad, or of sending in a large number of American troops to fight the Islamic State on the ground,” says Joshua Landis, who heads the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

International Business Times
UN security Council unanimously adopts resolution to conclude long-standing civil war in Syria
December 19, 2015
by Debleena Sarkar

“It is very good that the U.S. and Russia are trying to work together even if they have very different outcomes in mind,” Bloomberg quoted Joshua Landis, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, as saying. “Up until now, both sides have believed that an escalation in fighting could help turn the balance of power in their favor and bring their opponents to their knees.”

Geneva Centre for Security Policy
Is there a solution in Syria with Assad?
December 16, 2015

Dr Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma, took position in favour of a negotiated ceasefire with Bashar al-Assad that would keep him in power. His counterpart, Dr Randa Slim, Director of the Initiative for Track II Dialogues at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC and Adjunct Research Fellow at the New America Foundation, argued that Syria has no future with Assad staying in power.

ABC RN (Australia’s NPR/BBC)
Lessons from WWII for the Middle East today
December 16, 2015
Presenter Andrew West

American academic Joshua Landis likens what’s happening in the Middle East today to what occurred in Europe during and after World War II, where many nations became, through violence and genocide, ethnically homogenous.
In Iraq, the Christian population has fallen from around 1.5 million at the time of the Western-backed invasion in 2003 to just 400,000 today. They’re barely clinging to survival in a land they’ve called home for 2,000 years. What future is there for the Middle East with religious nationalism in charge?

AVE MARIA RADIO
Special Coverage from Rome-Christian Persecution:A Global Tragedy
December 15, 2015
by Al Kresta

Foreign Policy
Will an al Qaeda Ally Be a Peacemaker in Syria?
December 4, 2015
by Colum Lynch, John Hudson

At the same time, the armed group signed up to a coalition — dubbed Jaish al-Fatah, or the Army of Conquest — that included fighters from al-Nusra Front and other extremist Islamic factions seeking to topple the Syrian regime.
“They are very tight with al-Nusra,” said Joshua Landis, the director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies.

ABC RN
Is Syrian settlement possible?
December 2, 2015
by Keri Phillips

‘They have a long swathe of territory that runs right along the Syrian/Turkish border for hundreds of miles, from the Iraq border, where of course there’s Iraqi Kurdistan, right along this Turkish border to Kobani’, says Joshua Landis, head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
‘Then there’s another blob of Kurdish territory, Afrin, all the way out to the west. The Kurds would like to sew together all those Kurdish majority regions in a long strip that would almost divide Turkey from Syria.’

Newsweek
Putin’s Bloody Logic in Syria
November 24, 2015
by Owen Matthews

Russia’s—and the regime’s—military strategy hinges on pushing that assault further. “This is all about Aleppo,” says Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and former U.S. government adviser. “Russia is trying to help Assad gain as much territory to create a state that makes sense—that has to include Aleppo, a major port, and Idlib.… The Syrian leadership plans to take Aleppo in three months and in a year consolidate all of northwest Syria.”

DU Center for Middle East Studies
Debating Syria’s Future-Landis, Ghadbian, Whitson, GelvinPanel discussion held in Denver at the Annual Meeting of the Middle East Studies Association
November 23, 2015

Voice of America
Джошуа Лэндис: «Американцы и россияне не договорятся о будущем Сирии»
November 20, 2015
by Алекс Григорьев

Джошуа Лэндис: Соединенные Штаты не доверяют России, не хотят Асада и пытаются работать с сирийской оппозицией. Они продолжают настаивать, что Асад должен уйти, как и многие его приближенные, и что необходим переходный период. Но Россию и Иран это не устраивает. Возникает вопрос: насколько далеко они могут зайти в деле уничтожения террористов, до тех пор, пока нет политического процесса, который их всех устраивает? И я не знаю ответа на этот вопрос.

Deutsche Welle
US faces limited military options against ‘IS’
November 18, 2015
by Spencer Kimball

Prior to the attacks in Paris, a small portion of the border had been left open so arms could flow to rebels fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s government, according to Joshua Landis, an expert on Syria and US foreign policy at the University of Oklahoma. Devastating attacks in Paris – as well as Beirut and Ankara – have changed the Turkish and American calculus, Landis said. “What America is deciding do is to stop arming rebels and keep the Saudis and Qataris from arming them too and starve all those rebels of arms,” Landis, who is also the editor of Syria Comment, told DW. “That’s what’s ultimately going to stop ISIS and al Qaeda,” he said, using an alternative acronym for “Islamic State.” “They can only thrive if there’s open borders.”

Principia News
ISIS and Islamic Extremism: Where Did It Come From and How Do We Respond?
November 16, 2015
by Janessa Gans Wilder

These factors, in combination, turned the Fertile Crescent into fertile ground for an insurgency. Joshua Landis, author of the popular Syria Comment blog and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, summed up the situation this way when we spoke recently: “This giant Sunni sea [of people in the Fertile Crescent] is caught between two very Shiite regimes—feeling bereft, unrepresented, unjustly treated, and badly governed. Plus they have no water or resources. It’s a very skimpy environment to be fending for yourself in. It’s no wonder ISIS conquered the whole thing in one summer.”

Sputnik International
US Intensifies Proxy War in Syria to Counter Russia’s Direct Approach
November 06, 2015

University of Oklahoma Professor Joshua Landis told Sputnik that Russia is directly attacking rebel factions and Islamist groups based in western Syria as the US military indirectly arms forces on the opposite side of the country.
“The ‘moderate’ militias that are being absorbed by Nusra are in the West of the country and Russia is shooting at them,” Landis said. “Militias that the United States… is arming are in the East of Syria and [are] supposed to be working with the Kurds to fight ISIS [Islamic State].”

RT
US in stupor, doesn’t know what to do or even what it wants in Syria-MidEast studies academic
by Sophie Shevardnadze
November 06, 2015

I think the U.S. wants to hear what everybody says, and everybody knows that Iran is fundamentally important. They have thousands of troops in Syria, they are funding the Syrians to the tune of billions of dollars: there’s much controversy over how many billions, we don’t know; and Hezbollah is in Syria, at Iran’s urging, to a certain degree – and so, Iran is a key player. You cannot get any kind of peace agreement that would stick without Iran buying in – and I think U.S. understands that. And, in some ways, Russia, and the involvement of Russia in Syria has given cover to Secretary of State Kerry and President Obama to begin to revise some of their stance in the past.

Foreign Policy
Syria Crisis Tests Newfound Détente Between Washington and Tehran
by Colum Lynch
November 4, 2015

The fate of the Syrian people will be determined on the ground, according to Joshua Landis, a Syria specialist who heads the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Last month, Russia launched a full-fledged military campaign to sway the balance of power in Assad’s favor. The United States and its allies, meanwhile, continue near-daily airstrikes and have been plowing more money and arms into the region, including U.S.-made Tow missiles that have been used to take out Assad regime tanks.

PBS Newshour
Will U.S. military and diplomatic efforts help resolve the Syrian war?
by Judy Woodruff
October 30, 2015

They have had a lot of criticism, President Obama’s had a lot of criticism, not only internally, because 50 intelligence people said that his administration was trying to gin up a success against ISIS, and it wasn’t having a success against ISIS. So I think he’s responding to the internal criticism he’s had in the United States, but also in the region.
Saudi Arabia and others are saying Russia’s moved into the region because Obama’s got a very light footprint, and that there’s a power vacuum, and, therefore, Russia is going to come in and displace the United States.

Think Progress
Why Don’t Syrian Peace Talks Include Any Syrians?
by Justin Salhani
October 30, 2015

“Nobody is ready to talk to each other on the ground,” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert who writes the blog Syria Comment, told ThinkProgress. “To the extent that this is a proxy war, the Russians and the Americans need to sort this out first and then it can go down stream.”
“The mantra for both sides is that there has to be a political solution,” Landis said. “The trouble is that they mean something completely different by that.”

Think Progress
Why Don’t Syrian Peace Talks Include Any Syrians?
by Justin Salhani
October 30, 2015

“Nobody is ready to talk to each other on the ground,” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert who writes the blog Syria Comment, told ThinkProgress. “To the extent that this is a proxy war, the Russians and the Americans need to sort this out first and then it can go down stream.”
“The mantra for both sides is that there has to be a political solution,” Landis said. “The trouble is that they mean something completely different by that.”

El Periódico INTERNACIONAL
EEUU prepara operaciones en tierra en Siria e Irak
by RICARDO MIR DE FRANCIA
October 29, 2015

«Los iraquís habían empezado a pedir ayuda a Rusia al considerar que Washington no está haciendo lo suficiente», afirma el director del Centro para Estudios de Oriente Próximo de la Universidad de Oklahoma, Joshua Landis, para explicar los cambios anunciados por Carter. «Lo mismo piensa también parte del Congreso y muchos de los candidatos a la presidencia».

The Star
There’s no going home for the thousands of migrants fleeing Syria for the E.U.
by Olivia Ward
October 28, 2015

The massive movement of people is reminiscent of “the great sorting out” of the Second World War, says Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma. But the West is slow to come to terms with the stark reality that two of the Middle East’s once iron-clad states have crumbled.“America is trying to talk a language that doesn’t exist anymore — Iraqi and Syrian ‘nationalism’ and ‘power-sharing.’ This is a giant battle for who will own the land. For minorities it’s a zero-sum game.”

Poetins ingrijpen in Syrië biedt hoop
by Pieter Hotse Smit
October 24, 2015

Joshua Landis, universitair hoofddocent Midden-Oostenstudies, Oklahoma University ‘Voor de VS is het goed dat Rusland zich in het Syrische ‘moeras’ begeeft. Ze denken: laat de Russen maar verdrinken, daar worden wij relatief sterker van. Hun eigen strategie – het trainen en bewapenen van gematigde rebellen – was allang failliet.

The Washington Post
Assad’s March on Aleppo Raises Fears of New Refugee Exodus
by Donna Abu-Nasr
October 19, 2015

“Syria is the four cities: if you own them, you own Syria,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “I suspect that the government believes that if they can own the four cities and win over the urban population, the countryside will eventually have to fall in line.”

BBC News
Russian firepower ups the stakes in Syria
by Jonathan Marcus
October 15, 2015

The US is stepping up ammunition deliveries to groups that it backs, though as Syria analyst Joshua Landis notes, “the real question is whether the US is committed to helping Syrian rebels win – which seems doubtful”. He adds: “[US President Barack] Obama has already said he doesn’t want to fight Russia over Syria, but he could help the Saudis escalate arms deliveries.”
Mr Landis points out that stepping up arms supplies carries no guarantee as to whose hands the weaponry actually falls into.

AFP
Russia’s air war in Syria a game-changer for US: experts
by Thomas Watkins
October 14, 2015

Part of the reason for Washington’s reluctance in Syria, argues Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, is that it has no credible alternative to Assad — or IS — to champion.
“The trouble is that America doesn’t have a partner,” he said.

The National
‘UAE model of pluralism’ praised by US professor
by Thamer Al Subaihi
October 12, 2015

“The Middle East is in the midst of an enlightenment struggle and many people are turning against this kind of sectarianism because they are seeing how it is tearing their world apart,” said Joshua Landis, associate professor and director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, on Monday during his first visit to Abu Dhabi.
Dr Landis was in the capital as a guest speaker at a Lunchtime Lecture Series talk organised by New York University Abu Dhabi’s Arab Crossroads Programme.

Hurriyet Daily News
It’s not what it looks like
by VERDA ÖZER
October 10, 2015

According to Landis, the U.S. stopped supplying weapons or training to all militias in Syria right after the “moderate” militias were overrun by al-Nusra at the end of July and all their U.S.-supplied weapons were confiscated by the group.
He says that another reason of this policy shift is that the U.S. doesn’t want to “own” particular rebel groups. This is because in response to Russia, the rebels are now all trying to coordinate, including al-Nusra. “So the U.S. cannot separate the moderates from the extremists anymore and would be accused of supporting terrorism,” he says.

Islamic Commentary
Do Russia and the U.S. Have Any Common Ground in Syria?
by Robin Young
October 08, 2015

In Brussels today, NATO defense ministers urged Russia to stop backing Syrian President Bashar Assad. At the same time, Syria’s top general praised the Russians for their airstrikes, saying they have cleared the way for the new ground offensive that Syrian troops have mounted to eliminate terrorists – a term the Syrian government uses to refer to all armed opposition to Assad.
Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies and an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss the evolving situation.

ABC Radio National
US and Russia bristle over Syria conflict
by Fran Kelly
October 07, 2015

Syrian state television says that Russian warplanes have bombed Islamic State targets in and around the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.
Moscow began bombing Syria a week ago and maintains its airstrikes aim to defeat terrorist groups like Islamic State.
But Russia’s definition of a terrorist group also encompasses some that are allies of the United States.
Josh Landis is the Director of the Centre for Middle East Studies and Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies.
He joins RN Breakfast from Oklahoma.

Al Jazeera
Russia’s Syria strikes reveal incoherence in US policy
by Michael Pizzi
October 01, 2015

If protecting Assad’s regime was the goal, limiting strikes to ISIL would make little strategic sense. Moscow includes all anti-Assad armed groups as “terrorists” bent on dismantling the Syrian state. “Putin isn’t going to pick and choose between them, he’s not going to partition Syria between Jaysh al-Fatah and Assad,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma. “In a sense, Russia is setting up a division of labor: The Americans are holding down ISIS, and Russia will go after Al-Qaeda and its allies.”

ABC Radio National
Who’s doing what to whom in Syria?
by Tom Switzer
October 01, 2015

This week President Obama and President Putin clashed at the UN. The subject was how to tackle the conflicts in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. They blamed each other for the region’s turmoil. Later, Putin appeared at the U.N. for the first time in a decade. And he flatly disagreed with Obama. For Putin, there`s only one way to end the brutal conflict in Syria and to defeat the Sunni jihadists: Embolden the embattled Assad regime. Meanwhile, the new Turnbull government says the Syrian dictator must be part of any negotiated political solution.
So where to from here?

Voice of America
White House: Russia Endangering Itself With Syrian Airstrikes
by Pamela Docking & Carla Babb
October 01, 2015

“It’s not very clear how far it can go in this process,” said Landis, an associate professor in the School of International and Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He said Washington has been trying to balance two separate interests. “On one hand, it insists on the values of human rights, democracy and getting rid of dictators … but on the other hand there is this interest of rooting out ISIS from Syria,” and for that the U.S. may need to work with the Russians and Assad.

Peut-il y avoir un gouvernement de transition en Syrie?
by Caroline HAYEK
September 29, 2015

Même son de cloche chez le directeur du Center for Middle East Studies et professeur à l’Université d’Oklahoma, Joshua Landis, interrogé par L’Orient-Le Jour, qui estime qu’il n’y aura pas de gouvernement de transition en Syrie. « Si transition il y a, le flou règne sur qui la composera. Si Daech est détruit, et que le régime d’Assad reconquiert l’Est syrien, ce qui est clairement l’objectif de Poutine, ce sera très difficile de se débarrasser d’Assad », argumente l’expert.

NPR
Support For Syrian Regime Critical In Fight Against ISIS, Putin Says At U.N.
by Robert Siegel
September 28, 2015

Without Syria, Russia really doesn’t have a foothold in the Central states of the Middle East. That’s a beachhead on the Arab-Israeli conflict, which is very important to him. It’s a major base in Tartus for refitting Russian ships. And it’s put him at the center of international politics for the last several years, whether it’s the two Geneva Conferences on Syria, the chemical weapons issue. And today, his big headliner at the U.N. is about Syria.

Los Angeles Times
Analysis: With Syria policy in tatters, Obama may relax stance on Assad
by Patrick J. McDonnell
September 27, 2015

“The U.S. policy of arming ‘moderate’ rebels to take on both ISIS and Assad … has failed entirely,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, using a common acronym for Islamic State. “All the major militias in Syria are allied either with ISIS or Al Qaeda in Syria. At this point, no Western power wants Assad to fall and these militias to take Damascus, a city of 5 million people. It would be a disaster for the West.”

Voice of America
Monitor: Truce Takes Effect in Key Syrian Battle Zones
by Edward Yeranian
September 25, 2015

Despite government insistence it will fight to “liberate” all of the country, some analysts, like Joshua Landis, who heads the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, argue the situation appears “to be heading for a de facto partition” of the country, although he believes both the US and Russia will “studiously avoid mention of such an ill-fated word, which would be illegal according to international law and reviled by 70% of Syrians.”

Defense News
Was Syrian Train-and-Equip Effort Always a ‘Mission Impossible’?
by Joe Could
September 21, 2015

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies, said the train-and-equip program was divorced from the ground truth in Syria, that the US has no moderate militants with whom it can work, and that the dominant forces there are either with the Assad regime or al-Qaida-affiliated groups. “The train and equip is a unicorn, it’s mythology, and it’s been preserved because it’s an important talking point for the administration,” Landis said.

The National
US and Russia willing to hold talks on Syrian conflict
September 18, 2015
by Josh Wood

Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center of Middle East Studies, said Russia likely decided to get more involved in the conflict to protect an increasingly weak Syrian government.

VQR A National Journal of Literature & Discussion
What the Kurds Want
September 18, 2015
by Jenna Krajeski

“The relationship between the Damascenes and the Kurds from the beginning was, ‘We can strong-arm them,’ which is what every Syrian government has done since,” Joshua Landis, the director of the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told me. “They were kept at the mercy of the government, their status totally insecure. So why wouldn’t they try to get independence?”

Sputnik News
US Should Reconfigure Program to Train-Equip ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels
September 18, 2015

“The United States should scrap its train-and-equip program,” University of Oklahoma Professor and renowned expert on Syria Joshua Landis told Sputnik on Friday. “The US strategy to develop a ‘moderate’ Free Syrian Army presence in Syria has failed.”

ZEIT ONLINE
“Europa muss sich die Hände schmutzig machen”
September 15, 2015
by Paul Middelhoff

Joshua Landis: Putin hat eine klare Botschaft für die Weltgemeinschaft: Er wird nicht zulassen, dass der Westen das Regime von Baschar al-Assad weiter schwächt. Präsident Assad hat im vergangenen Jahr harte Rückschläge hinnehmen müssen. Die Provinzhauptstädte Idlib und Palmyra hat er verloren, heute sind nur noch 25 Prozent des syrischen Staatsgebiets unter seiner Kontrolle. Deshalb gerät nun auch Russland unter Druck. Putin will vermeiden, dass seine Position in Syrien bröckelt, wenn sein Verbündeter Assad fällt.

Al Jazeera
US: Opening the door to thousands of Syrians
September 13, 2015
by James Reinl

Joshua Landis, a Syria analyst at the University of Oklahoma, warned that many Syrian refugees would struggle to reach the high bar set by the US’ anti-terrorism security checks. The US has a bad track record on refugees, he added.
“Washington keeps on promising that the pathway is being greased, but it takes time for the wheels of our massive bureaucracy to process them, along with all the security vetting that comes with it,” he said.
“It was the same with Iraq, very few refugees made it here in the early years of the conflict.”

The Jerusalem Post
Analysis: Syrian conflict worsens as outside states raise involvement
September 11, 2015
by Ariel Ben Solomon

“Russia is upping the ante in Syria in an attempt to convince the West to reverse its stand that Assad must go,” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday. Putin insists that the Assad regime be part of any future plans for a resolution to the Syrian conflict.
“The Russian effort is unlikely to succeed,” Landis continued, noting US President Barack Obama’s insistence that Assad step aside.

Sputnik News
Assad or No Assad? US Hates Syrian Leader but Now Scared to Overthrow Him
September 10, 2015

“In Syria, all is not lost yet, but only if countries involved will open their eyes and take back their demands, which they themselves know, are useless and impractical. Now, it’s like the theater of the absurd, they continue to adhere to these demands, while the crisis is getting worse and worse every day,” Joshua Landis, an expert on Syria, told La Repubblica.

Think Progress
Security Concerns, Islamophobia Preventing U.S. From Pitching In On Syrian Refugee Crisis
September 9, 2015
by Justin Salhani

“Part of it is the wheels of policy turn very slowly in U.S.,” Joshua Landis, editor of Syria Comment and Head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told ThinkProgress. “Very few [Iraqis resettled] in the first year of the invasion of Iraq. Since then the number of Iraqis seeking asylum has been much higher and going up.”

NPR All Things Considered
As Civil War Rages On, ‘Life In Syria Has Crumbled’
September 7, 2015
by Audie Cornish

JOSHUA LANDIS: Life in Syria has really crumbled. Syrians of every color are trying to get out of their country. It’s very expensive to get to Europe. They’re spending thousands of dollars to pay people to guide them, to get boats. So it’s not the poorest of the poor. And their children are getting older, and as they get older, they’re going to move towards military age. And nobody in Syria wants their kids to go into that military.

Turkish Weekly
Noted blogger on Mideast advises US: Intervene less, not more
September 5, 2015

One way of understanding what is happening there is to look at Central Europe a half century ago, Landis said. “During World War II there was a great sorting out,” he said. “Poland was 64 percent Polish before World War II; by the end of World War II, it was 100 percent Polish. Czechoslovakia had 32 percent minorities; all of them are gone. This is true right down Central Europe.” Landis said a great sorting out is taking place in the Middle East now as fighters united by a fervent transnational Islamic identity expel Christians, Jews and other minorities and seize territory from traditional rulers.

Voice of America
Noted Blogger on Mideast Advises US: Intervene Less, Not More
September 04, 2015
by Greg Flakus

Landis said the United States is obligated to help Iraq fight IS because the uprising is a result of the U.S. intervention in that nation, but the goal is far from clear. His advice to policymakers is to intervene less, not more.
“I guess it is a plea for modesty and a bit of a sense that America really cannot control this region,” he said.
“Instead of arming various groups,” Landis added, “try to keep the various factions from being armed. Convince the Iranians and the Saudis not to send in arms. We shouldn’t be doing it ourselves and facilitating it, because the more arms you throw in, the bloodier these civil wars become.”

PRI
The Gulf countries are doing virtually nothing to help with the Syrian refugee crisis
September 3, 2015
by Shirin Jaafari

According to Joshua Landis, the Arab states are doing very little. In fact, he says they don’t have any policy refugees. They simply don’t allow them in.
“If you try and sneak in and you’re caught, you be immediately thrown out of the country,” he says.
Landis, who’s the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, explains that there are several reasons why Gulf states haven’t been very welcoming.

RT
‘Revolution, civil war unlikely in Lebanon’
September 2, 2015

This is a country of 4.5 million people. In time those millions plus Syrian refugees are going to change the religious balance of Lebanon away from this third/third/third which is underpinning the parliament in a status quo. I think many of them will try to go to Europe, because there are no jobs in Lebanon; they are treated terribly in Lebanon; the Lebanese have gotten tired of welcoming them with open arms. After four and a half years the country is exhausted. Many will try to go to Europe, especially if Europe moves forward with an accommodating policy.

The National
Why Russia won’t remove Assad from power
August 29, 2015
by Anton Issa

“Nobody is on the same page, there is zero agreement on who should win and what should be exchanged,” Joshua Landis, Syria expert and director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told The National.

Al Jazeera America
Amid regional tectonic shifts, new push for Syria peace emerges
by Michael Pizzi
August 19, 2015

“At first, everybody could say the alternative to Assad was their own faction. The U.S. said it would be the moderates,” said Joshua Landis, a leading expert on Syria at the University of Oklahoma. “Today you can’t say those things. All the major winners on the ground today are Salafist-jihadists. That causes a real anxiety, especially now that Assad is looking weak.” “America has set destroying or containing ISIS as the core goal in the region. And our military leaders are trying to organize a foreign policy based on that goal,” Landis said, using another acronym for ISIL. “So our other goals — overturning Assad, creating democracy in Syria, power-sharing in Iraq — they’ve taken a second seat to destroying ISIS.”

L’Orient-Le Jour
Pour un expert, le plan de paix onusien pour la Syrie « n’a aucune chance d’aboutir »
by Samia MEDAWAR
August 19, 2015

« Que peuvent faire l’Onu, ou de Mistura, après tant d’échecs, et alors que la communauté internationale et la Syrie sont si déchirés », se demande Joshua Landis, directeur du Center for Middle East Studies et professeur à l’Université d’Oklahoma. « De Mistura ne pose aucune précondition dans son initiative. Le fait que cette dernière soit si vague, si floue, si obscure prouve qu’elle ne veut strictement rien dire. C’est en cela qu’elle est si intéressante : personne ne perd ou ne gagne (dans ce plan) », assène le chercheur.

Carnegie Endowment For International Peace
Syria in Crisis: Grim Expert Assessments of Syria’s Peace Process
by Aron Lund
August 03, 2015

“Assad has made it patently clear that he will not make important reforms to his political system and will fight to the end. He can be compelled to shrink the area he controls, but cannot be compelled to compromise or step aside. In his latest speech he emphasized that the war is one of existence. There is every reason to believe that his assessment is correct—at least for the officers that police his security state and perhaps even for the Alawite community that has fought so hard for him.” Joshua Landis is the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and runs the blog Syria Comment.

Middle East Eye
US moves to quash reports on Syria trainees captured by al-Nusraby Mary Atkinson
July 30, 2015

“The US is clearly strictly focused on counter-terrorism, not nation building,” says Joshua Landis, editor of Syria Comment and director of the University of Oklahoma’s Centre for Middle East Studies.
“President Obama has tried to maintain a very narrow policy [in Syria], though many military leaders have criticised him, saying that it’s impossible to stop IS until you destroy IS.In some ways, though, the farce of the train and equip programme will only confirm that Obama was right to say the US should not get sucked into the quagmire in Syria.”

L’Orient-Le Jour
Après l’accord sur le nucléaire, l’Iran en – relative – position de force en Syrie
by Anthony Samrani
July 29, 2015

« L’Iran pourrait se satisfaire d’une division de la Syrie, mais Assad continue de s’opposer à cela. Même s’il a reconnu ses défaites, ses propos laissent penser qu’il continue de croire qu’il finira par récupérer le territoire syrien. Il garde l’espoir en vie et s’oppose à tout compromis », analyse Joshua Landis, directeur du Centre pour les études sur le Moyen-Orient et professeur à l’université d’Oklahoma.

Dabiq
THE ALLIES OF AL-QĀ’IDAH IN SHĀM: PART III
Issue #10

“Has [Zahran] changed his views? ‘That is a very good question,’ said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma who’s written about Alloush. Alloush and his staff ‘are getting much more savvy,’ he said, based on Twitter conversations he’s had with the commander’s spokesman.”
“‘Everybody is aware now that the regime is very weak and on the way to collapse,’ said Bassam Barabandi, a former Syrian diplomat who lives in Washington. ‘And every major player wants to be acceptable to the West and to the international community.’”
“‘Zahran wants to be on the winning side,’ he said.”

Washington Times
Russian, Iranian loyalty to Bashar Assad tested as Syria approaches ‘tipping point’
by Guy Taylor
June 29, 2015

“I just don’t think there’s about to be a recalculation by the Russians and the Iranians,” said Joshua Landis, a longtime Syria analyst who heads the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “They’re going to hang on and hope Assad gets through this without collapsing so they’ll have a piece of the pie at whatever negotiating table may one day come to the fore. “The standard American goal is they would like to reach some kind of balance where Assad feels the need to negotiate and leave Syria, but he’s not going to leave. It’s just not going to happen,” said Mr. Landis. “The trouble is that there are so many moving parts to this war and the U.S. has almost no leverage at this point.”

The National
To stem ISIL advance, US must clarify Syria strategy
by Anton Issa
June 24, 2015

One key setback in the US air campaign is the lack of partners on the ground to provide intelligence to strike at ISIL beyond the frontlines, said Joshua Landis, Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma. “The most prolific bombing is in front of various military campaigns, where they have spotters calling in airstrikes on ISIL positions,” he said. But the campaign lacks intelligence on targets from deep inside ISIL-held territory, Mr Landis added.

The Globe and Mail
Syrian class divisions growing during civil war, helping Assad regime
by Mark Mackinnon
June 23, 2015

“The class division is huge and becomes more important every day,” Joshua Landis, director of the centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told The Globe and Mail. He said many middle-class and upper-class Syrians are supporting the regime out of fear of what might come after it. “The lower class is with the rebels, and those who are better off are terrified of these people coming in and taking over their cities because the first thing they’ll do is come into their homes and take their cars and televisions.”

Foreign Policy
Trapped Between Assad, Israel, and al Qaeda
by Nour Samaha
June 22, 2015

The Israeli idea of a Druze autonomous state is not a new one. For Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at Oklahoma University, it would not be unusual for Israel to try to court the Druze in Syria’s south. “Israel has a vested interest in the whole southern region and would like to have some kind of buffer zone,” he said. “There is a long history of Israel fishing in Syria’s troubled waters and seeing if the Druze are amenable to some kind of little protectorate.”

KCBX Central Coast Public Radio
How The Kurds Are Succeeding In Iraq
by Editor
June 20, 2015

“The Iraqi forces are a mess, and the U.S. is very worried about these Shiite militias. They are supported by Iran. The United States does not like the disunity. It doesn’t want to help the Shiite militias serve as a military. It doesn’t believe that they’re much better than ISIS. So, the United States has hung back in Iraq in a way that it has not with the Kurds. It has developed a close relationship with the Kurds. The Kurds are very united. And once they realized the Kurds were plucky fighters, they were organized, they were very grateful to the Americans, this relationship blossomed.” Joshua Landis

Financial Times
ISIS imposes fuel blockade on rebel-held northern Syria
by Erika Solomon in Beirut
June 18, 2015

“Isis is sitting on top of this oil and Americans won’t bomb it, because all these people are dependent on it,” said Syria analyst Joshua Landis. “Everyone would starve to death because it’s the only source of wealth in Syria and Iraq.”

The Wall Street Journal
Islamic State Suicide Car Bombers Attack Syrian Government Checkpoints
by Mohammed Nour Al Akraa and Karen Leigh
June 5, 2015

Islamic State “will be trying to consolidate their holding over the entire east,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at Oklahoma University. “Hasakeh’s a mixed city with Arabs and Kurds, and it’s been a site of constant friction because these are two different populations that have very different ambitions for the region.” Mr. Landis said.

L’Orient-Le Jour Assad devra choisir : sauver Damas ou sauver Alep?
by Lina KENNOUCHE
June 03, 2015

Ce constat est confirmé par Joshua Landis, directeur du Centre pour les études sur le Moyen-Orient et professeur à l’Université d’Oklahoma. Selon lui, la menace directe provient du fait que, d’un côté, les effectifs sont de plus en plus réduits pour les forces loyalistes, de l’autre, les groupes armés sont « aujourd’hui de plus en plus organisés, reçoivent une aide logistique importante et des fournitures en armes de plus en plus sophistiquées. L’avantage dont disposait le régime en raison de sa force de frappe aérienne s’efface, puisqu’il a désormais face à lui des groupes équipés en canons dont la capacité destructrice permet de s’attaquer à des bâtiments dans lesquels s’abritent les soldats de l’armée loyaliste au cours des guérillas urbaines ».

Voice of America
Intense Airstrikes Over Syria’s Aleppo Region
by Edward Yeranian
June 02, 2015

Joshua Landis, who heads the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, noted that rebel infighting has intensified as opposing factions vie for control of Aleppo. “An unstated truce,” he said, “between the Jabhat al-Nusra, the Free Syrian Army and [Islamic State] that has held for almost a year is now breaking down.” “It would make more sense,” he said, “for Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State to cooperate and go after Damascus, the seat of [President Bashar al-] Assad’s power, but the temptations of Aleppo are too strong.” “For this reason,” he argues, “the Assad regime may survive more years.”

My East-West
DAESH: Que força é esta que renasce das cinzas?
by Margarita Santos Lopes
May 30, 2015

“O regime está assustado e a recuar, procurando mais linhas defensivas”, salienta Landis, professor na Universidade de Oklahoma e casado com uma síria alauita – a minoria a que pertence Assad. “É demasiado cedo para saber se é o princípio do fim – embora alguns vaticinem isto. Até aparecer um governo que administre a vasta região agora ocupada, o ISIS irá perseverar. O governo de Bashar al-Assad não conseguirá reconquistar o Leste da Síria – isto é uma certeza!”

Elmundo
Bashar Asad ya no se ve capaz de mantener una Siria unida
by LLUÍS MIQUEL HURTADO
May 25, 2015

«El ataque de Lataquia evidencia qué significó perder Yisr al Sugur, a [sólo] 72 Km» concluye, en un email a EL MUNDO, Joshua Landis, director del Centro de Estudios de Oriente Próximo de la Universidad de Oklahoma.

The Daily Beast
ISIS and the New ‘Army of Conquest’ in Syria Are Headed for a Showdown
by Jamie Dettmer
May 23, 2015

The smart move for ISIS would be to consolidate, smooth out the front lines and oust the isolated government forces left in Deir ez Zour. This is what Joshua Landis, who runs the Syria Comment blog and is a professor at the University of Oklahoma, suspects ISIS will do. “Deir is presumed to be next big push,” he tweeted in the hours after the fall of Palmyra.

Politiken
Vesten bomber, men IS fortsætter frem
by Marcus Rubin and Jonathan Tybjerg
May 19, 2015

»Der er ingen tvivl om, at erobringen af Ramadi er en stor sejr for Islamisk Stat – en meget stor sejr«, siger Joshua Landis, der er leder af Mellemøstcentret på Oklahoma University og har forsket i IS.

The Australian
Saudis funding Sunni army in Syria to thwart Iran and topple Assad
by Tom Coghlan & Hugh Tomlinson
May 14, 2015

“King Salman has changed the tenor of the Middle East,” said Professor Joshua Landis, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of ­Oklahoma. “He’s willing to go to war. ­Saudis never go to war. That has changed everything.”

The Middle East Times
Saudis fund Sunni army to curb Iran and topple Assad by Tom Coghlan, Hugh Tomlinson, Michael Evans and Ahmad Dawood
May 13, 2015
Al Monitor The Turkey-Saudi axis against Damascus by Cengiz Çandar
May 12, 2015

The loss of Jisr al-Shughur, a district of Idlib, is even more important. Joshua Landis, a Syria expert in the United States, said: “This was a big loss. It is of immense strategic value — much more so than Idlib, which was surrounded by a sea of opposition-controlled territory. Jisr guards the Ghab valley, the back door to Hama; it also stands at the entrance to Latakia, which is some 45 miles [72 kilometers] away. It is right along the Turkish border and cuts the main road from Latakia to Aleppo. The regime is making a big push to retrieve the city.”

L’Orient-Le Jour Vers une partition « à la yougoslave » de la Syrie ? May 13, 2015

Même son de cloche pour Joshua Landis, directeur du Center for Middle East Studies et professeur à l’Université d’Oklahoma. Le spécialiste n’adhère pourtant pas à la théorie selon laquelle Ali Mamlouk aurait engagé des discussions secrètes avec l’opposition et/ou les services de renseignements turcs. « Il n’y a pas d’opposition à proprement dite à laquelle il peut s’adresser, et il y avait des rumeurs la semaine dernière selon lesquelles Mamlouk était hospitalisé. D’ailleurs, certaines sources ont affirmé que Ali Mamlouk s’est rendu à son travail cette semaine comme d’habitude (…) l’Iran a toujours fait partie intégrante de la vie politique syrienne de toute façon. »

Middle East Eye ANALYSIS: A change of fortune for Assad government? by Alex MacDonald May 12, 2015

“Over the last 10 years one’s heard nothing but stories about how regime principals are at daggers drawn with each other, the brother-in-law’s trying to kill this one or they’re all just about to have a palace coup,” Landis told Middle East Eye.

Anadolu Agency Security cooperation, Iran to dominate US-GCC summit by Michael Hernandez May 12, 2015

“This meeting has focused a spotlight on the Iran question,” said Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “They’re going to beat the drums and the Republican Party is going to line up behind them, and some Democrats are too. It’s an effort to make a mark for the future in the presidential campaign, to shore up some support, and to show that they’re a force that can’t be dismissed.”

The Jerusalem Post Assad puts intelligence chief under house arrest for planning coup May 11, 2015

“Reports of President Assad giving his top Alawites orders to flee Damascus are undoubtedly wishful thinking and activist fancy,” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told The Jerusalem Post. “The regime lost an important provincial capital that was surrounded by opposition militias,” said Landis. “Morale has been damaged, but the regime is neither giving up the ghost nor preparing to abandon Damascus for some coastal Alawite enclave.”

The Guardian House arrest reports add to mystery surrounding fate of Syrian security chief by Ian Black May 11, 2015

“The narrative about the top Sunnis in the regime getting cold feet about working with Persians seems too neat and too manufactured,” said veteran Syria-watcher Joshua Landis. “Of course, if the wheels are falling off the regime, people will try to find a way out, but it is much more likely that they will simply defect, rather than try to pull off a coup and then negotiate a deal for the regime. I am sceptical of the notion that Assad regime principals, such as Ali Mamlouk, believe that they have better options than sticking with Assad, the Iranians and the hand they have been dealt. I am sure none of them particularly like the hand they have, but reshuffling the deck now would likely bring a swift and certain end.”

Voice of America
In Syria, Reports of Friction Inside Assad Regime
by Edward Yeranian
May 11, 2015

Syria expert Joshua Landis, who heads the Middle East Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma, says he believes that accusations of a “coup” attempt by Ali Mamlouk, as well as trying to negotiate with the Syrian opposition or friction over ties with Iran, are not plausible: “Off the cuff, the allegations seem far-fetched. What would Ali Mamlouk be doing talking to the opposition? The only way the opposition wants to see or talk to Ali Mamlouk is dead. And who is he going to talk to in the opposition because the opposition is hundreds of different militias,” says he. Landis also says allegations that Mamlouk had second thoughts about support from Iran were “ludicrous.”

Hurriyet Daily News Is Turkey sending troops to Syria? by Verda Özer May 9, 2015

An important security source in Ankara acknowledged that the recent rapprochement between Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar is strengthening the Syrian opposition. “Before, different countries were following different policies in the field, undermining each other’s efforts. Now a partnership has emerged,” he said on the phone. The reply of Joshua Landis, who is the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and a leading expert of the Syrian crisis in the U.S., verifies this allegation. “These three countries have decided to fund Ahrar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam and are willing to close their eyes to al-Nusra’s partnership with them. They probably argue that these groups will become dominant and push al-Nusra aside in the end,” Landis said.

The Daily Star
Turkey, Saudi Arabia set aside differences to act against Assad
by Desmond Butler
May 08, 2015

“It’s a different world now in Syria, because the Saudi pocketbook has opened and the Americans can’t tell them not to do it,” said Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “It’s quite clear that Salman has prioritized efforts against Iran over those against the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Associated Press APNewsBreak: Turkey, Saudi in pact to help anti-Assad rebels by Desmond Butler May 07, 2015

“It’s a different world now in Syria, because the Saudi pocketbook has opened and the Americans can’t tell them not to do it,” said Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “It’s quite clear that Salman has prioritized efforts against Iran over those against the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Voice of America US Facing Dilemmas in Supporting Fragmented Syrian Opposition by Cecily Hilleary May 06, 2015

“When we removed dictators in Iraq and Libya, we simply facilitated the rise of Al Qaida, and that’s why we have supported dictators throughout the Middle East for forty years — because we don’t want Islamists to take over,” Joshua M. Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma told VOA last year.

dpa.international Analysis: As Geneva peace discussions start, Syrian regime suddenly looks weak By Weedah Hamza and Pol O Gradaigh, dpa May 05, 2015

Saudi monarch King Salman, who inherited the Saudi Arabian throne in January, “has prioritized weakening Iran over weakening the Muslim Brotherhood, reversing the strategic goals of his predecessor,” Syria analyst Joshua Landis told Foreign Policy magazine.

World Politics Review
Syria’s Assad Looks Weaker as Currency Slides and Army Fractures
by Frederick Deknatel
May 04, 2015

Hafez al-Assad, Bashar’s father, “established a regime model that the son has hewed to almost precisely, with family at the top, at the most sensitive positions, and then people of known loyalty down the chain, including the wider Alawite community and other minorities, and crosscutting alliances with Sunnis,” Landis told me. “If Assad were to leave, the entire Alawite power structure would collapse, because it’s based on loyalty to the man. The Alawites are no more capable of uniting and finding a democratic agreement amongst themselves than are the Sunni rebels who have been notoriously fragmented and authoritarian and elitist.” “They are at least 12 or 13 Alawite generals, all of whom would want power if Assad were to step aside,” Landis added. “And they would end up fighting each other, just as they did before [Hafez] Assad took power and killed all of his rivals.”

CNN Analysis: Syria’s al-Assad regime in trouble by Nick Paton Walsh May 03, 2015

Joshua Landis, associate professor in the School of International and Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said the change in regional postures was a result of the new King of Saudi Arabia, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, deciding that Iran was a more pressing challenge to his state than the House of Saud’s other long-term foe, the Muslim Brotherhood. “This allows him to coordinate with Turkey and Qatar taking down Assad, even if it means arming Nusra and other Islamist forces,” he said. Landis said he believes the U.S. has “acquiesced” to this new position.

The Jerusalem Post Assad hanging on, suspicion surrounds report he told Alewites to flee capital by Ariel Ben Solomon May 03, 2015

“Reports of President Assad giving his top Alawites orders to flee Damascus are undoubtedly wishful thinking and activist fancy,” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. “The regime lost an important provincial capital that was surrounded by opposition militias,” said Landis adding. “Morale has been damaged, but the regime is neither giving up the ghost nor preparing to abandon Damascus for some coastal Alawite enclave.”

Voice of America In Syria, Fluid Loyalties Complicate US Efforts by Cecily Hilleary May 2, 2015

Syria has been reduced to what Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies calls “a Darwinian jungle” in which hundreds of small militias have been absorbed into larger, more powerful ones. “And they span the ideological spectrum from al-Qaida all the way to much more secular outfits that want democracy and are looking towards the West for help,” Landis said.

Middle East Monitor Saudi Arabia is helping al-Qaeda invade Syria by Asa Winstanley April 30, 2015

Joshua Landis, editor of the widely-read Syria Comment blog, and Director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies told Middle East Eye this week that with this new assault, we are seeing “the King Salman effect,” referring to the new ruler of Saudi Arabia, after King Abdullah died in January. “The Saudi king has changed the priority of the kingdom. Under the previous king, the Muslim Brotherhood was the main enemy, not Iran,” Landis said. While Abdullah lived, his obsessive animus against the Brotherhood meant that it was hard to coordinate a joint war with other anti-Assad regimes who were more friendly to the Brotherhood, such as Qatar and Turkey. “But today, King Salman has clearly changed Saudi Arabia’s priorities, so that Iran and getting Iran is the most important thing and has prioritised it above attacking the Brotherhood,” said Landis.

The Christian Century Cover Story: A violent sorting out Interview by Richard A. Kauffman April 30, 2015

With World War II there was a great sorting out in Europe. Poland was 64 percent Polish before the war, but by the end of the war it was almost 100 percent Polish. Six million Jews had already been killed in this region. Thirteen million Germans were ethnically cleansed from Central Europe in just two years, between 1945 and 1947. A third of Czechoslovakia was made up of minorities, but by the end of the war the minorities were all gone. That’s the pattern in Ukraine and Hungary, too. In Yugoslavia, Tito acted as a little emperor, and he held his mosaic together with coercion, but as soon as he was swept away the nation exploded into a very brutal ethnic war and was chopped into seven countries. The same sorting out of ethnic groups has been and is happening in the Middle East. Half of Israeli citizens are Jews who came from the Middle East, where every major capital had a large Jewish neighborhood before World War I or before World War II. These Jews were caught between the hammer and anvil of Arab nationalism and Zionism. And almost every one of those Jewish neighborhoods is gone. There are a few Jews left in Morocco, Istanbul, and Iran, but the Jews in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Egypt are gone.

Voice of America Syria’s Regime Suffers Significant Military Setbacks, Analysts Say by Cecily Hilleary April 29, 2015

“For now, Assad is still strong,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “Assad also has advantages over the opposition — a central command, which other parties don’t have, and an air force,” he said.

Middle East Eye ANALYSIS: Syrian rebel successes in Idlib could be game changer by Alex MacDonald April 27, 2015

The key Ghab Valley – which stretches between Hama in the south and Alawite-majority regions in the west – is now vulnerable to infiltration, said Joshua Landis, editor of Syria Comment and director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies. “If they can penetrate into those villages, they’ll be able to surround Hama,” Landis said. Hama, he said, “has extraordinarily symbolic value, because its where the Assads pounded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1982 and killed so many people – and if they can take it, that will be a major morale booster.”

The Daily Star Pro-regime Syrians back army but dodge draft by Maya Gebeily April 20, 2015

Faced with a “war of attrition … the government must use considerable coercion” to replenish its ranks, said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “The rebels speak about being able to outlast the Alawites and kill their young men. They probably can if the war goes on long enough,” Landis said.

Expressen Experterna om Bashar al-Assads intervjusvar Interview April 19, 2015 Middle East Eye ANALYSIS: Hillary Clinton a ‘wolf in wolf’s clothing’ for Mideast? by James Reinl April 14, 2015

According to Joshua Landis, a regional expert from Oklahoma University, “She didn’t learn any lessons from Iraq.” Clinton’s interventionist tendencies and preference for old-fashioned Arab autocrats in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere would make her a “status quo” commander-in-chief. “Even though she says she regretted it, she’s gone off and made the exact same miscalculations a second time,” Landis told MEE.

The Daily Star U.S. plans for anti-ISIS training draw skepticism by Desmond Butler April 11, 2015

Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said that U.S. officials argue that the conflict in Syria need not be a choice between Islamists on the one side and the Syrian government on the other. They suggest there is a third way with a moderate insurgent force – but he said such rebels have such a small constituency on the ground that they would have no chance without massive support. “We are talking about arming the 2 percent,” he said.

Associated Press US Plans for anti-Islamic State training drawing skepticism by Desmond Butler April 10, 2015

Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said that U.S. officials argue that the conflict in Syria need not be a choice between Islamists on the one side and the Syrian government on the other. They suggest there is a third way with a moderate insurgent force — but he said such rebels have such a small constituency on the ground that they would have no chance without massive support. “We are talking about arming the two percent,” he said.

The Telegraph Online In Syria’s war, Alawites pay heavy price for loyalty to Bashar al-Assad by Ruth Sherlock April 07, 2015

In their fiefdoms, the war lords are increasingly independent. The militia leaders feel able to refuse orders from commanders sent from Damascus, according to Joshua Landis, a professor of history at the University of Oklahoma who has regular contact with Syrian members of the sect.

RT CrossTalk The Middle East in flames: With the Saudi-led assault on Yemen this region just got a whole lot more complicated and dangerous. CrossTalking with Joshua Landis, Bill Law, and Joseph Kechichian. April 6, 2015 Internacional Los chiíes reciben con alivio el avance diplomático iraní by NATALIA SANCHA April 03, 2015

El presidente estadounidense Barack “Obama parece haber cerrado un acuerdo con el monarca saudí por el que éste debe aceptar que Estados Unidos apoye a los chiíes en Irak contra el Estado Islámico (EI) suní. Lo que entraña matar a suníes. Y ello a cambio de que Riad pueda bombardear a los chiíes Huthis en la península Arábiga, en Yemen”, opina en una conversación telefónica Joshua Landis, director del Centro de Estudios sobre Oriente Próximo de la Universidad de Oklahoma.

Daily Mail Exclusive: Syrian girl who broke millions of hearts in ‘surrender’ picture fled to ‘safe’ city-only for it to be taken by brutal Al Qaeda by Flora Drury April 02, 2015

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at University of Oklahoma, was also certain Damascus would not give up without a fight. He told Bloomberg: ‘Assad will likely bomb Idlib so that its captors find little peace in their new prize.’

Deutsche Welle Palestinian armed groups reject IS in Gaza April 02, 2015

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at Oklahoma University, explained that Netanyahu “wants to paint his Palestinian enemy as America’s enemy, equating the two” at a time when US-Israel relations are troubled.

Voice of America Islamic State Militants Seize Part of Damascus’ Yarmouk Refugee Camp by Edward Yeranian April 1, 2015

University of Oklahoma Middle East Program Director Joshua Landis tells VOA the government set-back in Yarmouk could be significant in that it follows other major government setbacks. “The importance of Yarmouk is that it raises the question of whether the end of the regime is getting closer,” he said. “Now, we are far away from that, but we have had the conquest of Busrat-al-Sham in the south, of Idlib in the north and the rebels have been making a number of inroads, recently, so to hear that ISIS and Nusra are getting into Yarmouk camp on the outskirts of Damascus is a reason for caution about the strength of the regime.” Landis also points out a bus carrying pro-government women fighters was ambushed by rebel forces outside of Damascus, killing and wounding dozens. He argues “the battle is becoming more and more desperate for the regime,” which is “recruiting women on a larger and larger scale,” as well as using foreign militiamen from both Lebanon and Iraq.

Bloomberg Syrian Islamist Rebels Deal Blow to Assad Capturing Idlib by Nafeesa Syeed March 29, 2015

“Assad will likely bomb Idlib so that its captors find little peace in their new prize,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at University of Oklahoma.

Voice of America Opinion: A Fourth Arab Country Melts Down by Barbara Slavin March 25, 2015

No one knows at this point whether Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen will hold together, remain unified in name only or splinter into ethnic and tribal fiefdoms. Middle East scholar Joshua Landis has compared the region to Central Europe, where there was a “great sorting out” of linguistic and ethnic groups between World Wars I and II.

New Republic One Group Has Proven It Can Beat ISIS. So Why Isn’t the U.S. Doing More to Help Them? By Joel Gillin March 20, 2015

“Many U.S. military analysts warn not to arm up the Peshmerga too much or Kirkuk and other hotspots of mixed ethnicity will be overrun by Kurds, causing greater problems down the road. The same logic goes for Syria,” Landis said. “The Kurds can take back Kurdish regions, such as Kobani, which ISIS took over, but they should not be used to extend Kurdish rule beyond the traditional Kurdish towns.”

The National US fuels questions on its Syria strategy March 19, 2015

“American policy for the past four years has been to contain the violence in Syria, and that’s what we’re doing today,” said Joshua Landis, director of the centre for Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma. “That’s the least politically damaging for Obama and the least expensive.”

The Daily Star Kerry comments mark lack of policy by Marlin Dick March 17, 2015

Joshua Landis, head of the Middle East Center at the University of Oklahoma, told The Daily Star that while Kerry’s remarks were quickly walked back by the State Department, the U.S. continued to face a serious problem with its Syria policy. “Their moderate rebel groups have been destroyed in the north of Syria and are weak in the south,” Landis said. “The U.S. has no partners in Syria, except the Kurds in the north, who are small in numbers and opposed by our allies, the Turks. They cannot take on ISIS except for around Kurdish enclaves.”

My Journal Courier Syrian conflict like many other wars, speaker says by Samantha McDaniel-Ogletree March 17, 2015

The closely watched Syrian conflict is unique in many ways, though it also is following a pattern of wars from throughout history — including the U.S. Civil War. That’s according to Middle East expert Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies and an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma. He visited Illinois College on Monday to provide a fundamental background into the overseas conflict. He said the war is about separating religious territories.

Voice of America War Has Left Syria in the Dark, Images Show by Idrees Ali March 12, 2015

“It shows how terribly destroyed Syria is and how poor it is,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

The Oklahoman University of Oklahoma professor has his eyes on Islamic State by Adam Kemp March 10, 2015

Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies, has become a go-to source for many around the world when it comes to issues in Syria and other parts of the region.

Al Jazeera This week marks four year since start of uprising in Syria by Sara Hassan March 09, 2015

Landis said, “The effort to build the rebel movement into a cohesive and unified front has failed almost entirely.” Initially, the United States funded armed groups to weaken Assad’s regime, many members of which have now joined groups like ISIL. “America has really turned,” said Landis, “almost 180 degrees from being an enemy of Assad, sanctioning and weakening him, to today bombing many of his opponents and in a sense adopting Assad as a strategic ally, even though they will not work with him directly.”

ABC.net Should the West intervene in Syria’s civil war? March 05, 2015

Two of the world’s leading experts on Syria, Joshua Landis and Kenneth Pollack, discuss the prospect for this artificial state and ethnically divided society.

AlJazeera English People & Power-Western Jihadis in Syria March 04, 2015 ABC A primer on the complex war in Syria by Tom Switzer March 04, 2015

Listen to the full episode of Between the Lines to hear Tom Switzer host a discussion about Syria with Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution and Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma.

Press TV Republicans support Netanyahu speech to win American Jew’s support: Analyst March 02, 2015

“In many ways, the Republicans are trying to win the Jewish vote and Jewish backing,” Joshua Landis, associate professor and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told Press TV on Sunday. Landis made the remarks while commenting on a speech by Senator Lindsey Graham at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference on Sunday.

The New York Times Unpaid, Unarmed Lifesavers in Syria Nicholas Kristof February 14, 2015

“They have been doing extraordinary work in a terrible situation,” notes Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma in Norman.

Foreign Policy In Syria, the Enemy of an Enemy Is Still an Enemy by Colum Lynch February 12, 2015

Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said that early hopes that the rise of the Islamic State could bring the moderate opposition together with regime elements have largely been dashed. That hope, he said, was “founded on the misconception built into all our peace-making efforts: That we can get an interim regime that is based on a political solution. It’s not going to happen. Assad has made it very clear he is perfectly happy to rule over a smaller part of Syria than to make any compromises. He has a system in place that works for him.”

Here & Now Assad: Syria Getting Word From U.S.-Led Coalition About Airstrikes by Robin Young February 10, 2015

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, discusses the Syrian president’s BBC interview with Here & Now’s Robin Young.

The McCain Institute for International Leadership Syria: Should the United States Save Syria? January 30, 2015

A distinguished group of debaters tackle the topic during a live debate.

Middle East Eye Analysis: Obama speech signals retreat from Mideast by James Reinl January 21, 2015

“This speech was about the middle class, not the Middle East,” Joshua Landis, a University of Oklahoma professor, told Middle East Eye. “Obama’s narrative was one of strength at home, leading by example and being part of international coalitions. “He was at pains to avoid talking about the Middle East – and that’s smart.”

PRI Oil prices have collapsed, but oil-rich ISIS says it’s still in the black Producer Shirin Jaafari January 05, 2015

“Most of the projections back in September were that ISIS was making between one and three million dollars a day,” says Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at Oklahoma University. “[That] adds up to about a billion dollars in a year — and here it is, two billion. Double that.”

Australian Broadcasting Company-ABC Syrian conflict claims 76,000 lives in 2014 host Jonathan Green January 5, 2015 dpa-International Syrian opposition alliance elects new leader close to Turkey January 05, 2015

According to Syria analyst Joshua Landis of the University of Oklahoma, non-jihadist rebels control only about 5 per cent of Syrian territory. Even those forces include many hardline Islamists who do not recognize the National Coalition.

The Telegraph
Dispatch: Syria rebels ‘burned down churches and destroyed Christian graves’ by Ruth Sherlock, Kessab January 3, 2015

Joshua Landis, an expert on the conflict, estimates that non-Islamist rebels now control less than 5 per cent of Syria, with the rest of the country divided between the regime, Isil or Jabhat al-Nusra.

CNN What (not) to look forward to in 2015: ISIS, life on Mars, Europe’s mood by Tim Lister January 1, 2015

Joshua Landis, a longtime Syria watcher at the University of Oklahoma, says “The Somalia-izaton of the country is inevitable so long as the international community degrades all centers of power in Syria and the opposition fails to unite.”

EL PAÍS El Asad se afianza en Siria beneficiado por el auge yihadista by Natalia Sancha January 1, 2015

“Siria entra en una guerra de desgaste donde ningún actor interno es suficientemente fuerte para ganar. Se anticipa una guerra perpetua. El régimen de El Asad cuenta con un núcleo reducido y brutal que no va a dejar que nadie, ni Rusia ni EE UU, imponga un líder alternativo. Su mayor baza es la del discurso sectario para mantener la unidad de su Gobierno. Los militares y alauíes saben que de dividirse, la oposición suní se unirá para reemplazarles. Tenemos por delante una década de inestabilidad”, pronostica Joshua Landis, director del Centro de Estudios sobre Oriente Próximo de la Universidad de Oklahoma, en una entrevista telefónica.

WCVB Boston’s News Leader What Lies ahead in 2015? ISIS, Crimea, oil prices, hot topics of 2014 In the News: