Landis in the News 2016


The New Yorker
The Winners and Losers in the New Syrian Ceasefire
Dec 30, 2016

“The importance of this is not whether it’s a ceasefire that holds. It’s that Turkey has signed on with Russia, and ultimately Assad, to close the door on the rebellion,” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, told me on Friday. “Turkey is trying to get back to normal. It wants a way out of its downward spiral. It’s a brutal world out there and Turkey is saying, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I gave you six years. It’s too much of a load to carry.’ ” Turkey has absorbed almost three million Syrian refugees.

Canadian TV
Dec 29, 2016

BBC 4 World News program
Dec 29, 2016

CBS National Radio news
Dec 29, 2016

PBS
Dec 29, 2016

Soldier of Fortune
“Turkey’s Syria Intervention,”
Dec 26, 2016

“Turkey’s Syria Intervention,” by Joshua Landis Professor, IAS
Director of the Center of Middle East Studies

PRI
Aleppo’s propaganda battle wages on
Dec 21, 2016

The US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, said Aleppo joins the ranks of Srebrenica and Rwanda as emblematic of evil.

But the government of Bashar al-Assad, together with its Russian and Iranian allies, tells a very different story. Of a battle of liberation against Islamic “terrorists.”
They argue that the world has been played by a slick rebel PR machine, controlled by jihadis.
There are elements of truth in both narratives.
“It’s a very complex picture,” says Joshua Landis, director of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. There is no black and white.
There were about 10,000 armed rebels in Aleppo, according to the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, and about one-third of them were jihadis, close to al-Qaeda.

KPCC AirTalk
Debating President Obama’s Syria policy and how it might change under Trump
Dec 20, 2016

What does the future of U.S. policy in Syria look like under a President Trump? What have we learned about the efficacy of the Obama Administration’s policy? Should the U.S. intervene in Syria or would that create more problems than it would solve?
Guests:
Phil Ewing, national security editor, NPR; he tweets @philewing
Joshua Landis, professor of international and area studies and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma; Landis’ blog is SyriaComment.com
Jessica Ashooh, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Middle East Strategy Task Force; she was a senior policy planning analyst in the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a participant in the Geneva II peace talks

Les Crises
L’Amérique n’a fait que prolonger la guerre civile en Syrie et déstabiliser la région, par Joshua Landis
Dec 19, 2016

Joshua Landis est un universitaire américain, expert de la Syrie, intervenant sur CNN, BBC, Charlie Rose…
Il défend plutôt la vision du gouvernement syrien. Donc à prendre comme toujours avec recul.

wbur NPR
Assessing The Successes And Failures Of Obama’s Approach To Syria
Dec 19, 2016

Here & Now’s Robin Young looks back at Obama’s Syria policy — and what might have been done differently — with Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis), director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

DW
Turkey and Russia walk Syria tightrope
Dec 16, 2016

“Turkey is concerned about the Kurds,” said Joshua Landis, an expert on Syria and Director of the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “Turkey’s commitment to the rebels is negotiable. That is the belief of the Syrian government.”
The Syrian Kurds are an expendable actor only important to Moscow in so far as they can be used to leverage its national interests. Backed by the United States, the Syrian Kurds are also viewed as a tool of Washington’s influence in the Middle East. Turkey and Syria will always be more important to Russia than a Kurdish experiment in self-governance opposed by both Ankara and Damascus.

Financial Times
The battle for Aleppo: ‘It felt like the last goodbye’
Dec 16, 2016

The Assad regime’s victory in Aleppo has the potential to transform both the conflict in Syria and the balance of power in the region. “I believe what we will see after the battle of Aleppo is the imposition of a new security architecture in the northern Middle East for the next several decades,” says Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma. “It includes Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, all with pro-Iranian regimes and some Russian influence.”
The US still retains a formidable military presence in the region and has close — though increasingly testy — alliances with Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations. But Russia’s intervention over the past year has grabbed the attention of every other nation in the Middle East, many of whom will now see Moscow as a more important regional player and potentially as a secondary supplier of arms after the US.

Newsweek
Donald Trump’s Syrian Civil War Paradox
Dec 16, 2016

This is not how the U.S. had hoped the war would end—Washington once hoped that moderate rebels would take over a democratic, post-Assad Syria. That didn’t happen, and much of the Sunni-dominated opposition has largely morphed into a bewildering array of radical jihadi groups. Now, the White House has run out of options to challenge Assad, and for all its condemnation of the regime’s assault on Aleppo, the Obama administration has also done nothing to stop it. “Essentially, U.S. policy has become to acquiescence in Assad’s retaking of Syria,” says Joshua Landis, the head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “It’s clear that the Obama administration has decided that it cannot risk dislodging Assad from Damascus. The rebels are too Islamist, too radical.”

AFP
With iron will and key allies, Syria’s Assad defies expectations
Dec 15, 2016

“Assad advisers maintained from the beginning that they were confident of success so long as the United States Air Force did not bomb Damascus or get involved in the war,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
Even at the regime’s worst moment, when his forces were driven in March 2015 from Idlib province, “Assad and his advisers brushed off their defeats as limited”, Landis said.
“They always projected a strong sense of self-assurance in their ultimate victory.”
Patience was vital, analysts said, with Assad — no matter how isolated from the West — willing to hold out for as long as it took to put down the rebellion.

Huffington Post
As He Slaughters Civilians In Aleppo, Bashar Assad Prepares To Make Nice With Donald Trump
Dec 14, 2016

Combined with the president-elect’s talk of strengthened ties with Moscow, his criticism of the humanitarian norms the Syrian regime regularly violates and his fascination with undemocratic strongmen, this kind of thinking suggests a rosier future for Assad. The Syrian ruler has long disliked Washington’s talk of promoting democracy and human rights abroad, noted Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma. With Trump’s election, “Assad is hopeful, more hopeful than he has been in the past, because he can see that that ideology … its due date seems to be arriving,” Landis said.

PBS News Hour
The fall of Aleppo is a turning point. What’s next for Syria’s war?
Dec 13, 2016

HARI SREENIVASAN:
Joshua Landis, what about ISIS and al-Qaida that almost seem forgotten in this giant proxy war? What happens? Is ISIS taking advantage of this opportunity, as Margaret Warner reported?
JOSHUA LANDIS:
Yes, ISIS did.
We saw that, as Syrian troops went to Aleppo, ISIS took Palmyra. But ISIS’ days are numbered. The Trump administration has said that they’re going to concentrate on ISIS and they’re going to work with Russia. Now, we don’t know whether they really will work with Russia or not, but it’s clear that ISIS is going to be pounded.

Middle East Eye
New UN chief says Syria peace is top concern
Dec 12, 2016

Joshua Landis, a University of Oklahoma scholar, said Guterres’s appointment comes at a turning point in the six-year-old conflict that has claimed more than 400,000 lives and uprooted more than half of Syria’s 22 million people.
“It’s a good time to have a new director in the UN, because the world is coming around to the idea that al-Assad will win this battle, either imminently or in one or two years’ time,” Landis, an expert on Syria, told Middle East Eye.

wbur On Point
The Future Of Assad, Syria And The Region
Dec 8, 2016

The suffering in Syria has been deep and long. Rebels and civilians dug in in Aleppo have captured the horrified attention of the world. But Bashar al-Assad, the ruler whose excesses sparked the rebellion, appears to be on the verge of retaking Aleppo and maybe on his way to winning – if you can say that – the civil war. This was not Washington’s plan. Or the rebels’. It is Russia’s. And Iran’s. This hour On Point, if Assad wins. We’re looking at Syria, the region, the big powers, the people. — Tom Ashbrook
Joshua Landis was a guest on this show.

NPR
For Aleppo Residents Under Siege, A Risky Journey To Relative Safety
Dec 2, 2016

JOSHUA LANDIS: The days for the rebels in Aleppo are numbered. The regime has amassed over 50,000 soldiers from all the different militias and the army and so forth. They have overwhelming force. It’s a matter of time.

PRI
Can the rebellion in Syria survive?
Nov 28, 2016

Aleppo is the last major urban center with a significant rebel presence. The rebel-held portion of the city has been isolated and cut off from outside help since summer. Affairs there now seem to have come to a crisis.

The rebels are short of ammunition and men. Civilians are desperately short of food and fuel. Attempts to relieve the city from outside have all failed.
Many fear Aleppo could soon fall.
“Yes, I believe [it could fall] in the next month or two.” says Josh Landis, director of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
“The Syrian regime says by New Year,” says Landis. “Perhaps that’s optimistic. But it’s surrounded. They can’t get reinforcements. They can’t get new arms. It’s only a matter of time.”

Al-Jazeera
Nov 28, 2016

Army.mil
Azerbaijan ambassador visits Oklahoma, looks to strengthen partnerships
Nov 18, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY, Ok. — Ambassador of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States, Elin Suleymanov, and his team made their way through the Oklahoma City this week, visiting with top Oklahoma leaders and energy research engineers in order to establish relationships and strengthen partnerships that mutually benefit both nations.

Suleymanov met with Dr. Carol Jones, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering professor with Oklahoma State University, Maj. Gen. Robbie Asher, adjutant general for Oklahoma, Todd Lamb, lieutenant governor for Oklahoma, professors from the University of Oklahoma’s energy department, Senator James Lankford and research engineers with General Electric’s (GE) Global Research as part of the State Partnership Program (SPP). The visit focused primarily on issues each face, ways to strengthen relationships and their hopes for the future.

SYRIA:direct
Joshua Landis on Syria and Trump’s election: ‘America has prolonged the civil war, only destabilized the region’
Nov 14, 2016

With two months left in Obama’s presidency, Syria Direct turned to Joshua Landis, Director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center of Middle Eastern Studies and author of the blog Syria Comment, to make sense of it all.
Here, the lightly edited conversation is the first installment in a series of reaction interviews with analysts, academics, and diplomats around the implications of a Trump presidency for US-Syria policy. Can Trump really be worse than the current administration on Syria? Will Trump hand Syria over to Putin? Does he even have that power, or is it already done? Landis, for one, offers a sharp, candid assessment of America’s unyielding and unrealistic vision in Syria and the Middle East writ large.
“President Obama and Hillary Clinton decided that Assad was going to fall and that they could carry out regime change smoothly in Syria without too much damage,” Landis tells Syria Direct’s Justin Schuster. “This was a terrible mistake.”

Rudaw
US balancing act between Syrian Kurds and Turkey cannot last
Nov 11, 2016

The US is delicately trying to balance its long-term strategic relationship with Turkey and its current ad-hoc relationship against ISIS with Syrian Kurdish forces opposed by Ankara as the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launch their offensive against the extremist group in Raqqa, according to observations from analysts.

“The United States needs Turkey as an ally and does not want to force it into Russian President Vladimir Putin’s embrace by supporting the [Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party, PYD] too aggressively,” Professor Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, told Rudaw English.

This, Landis explained, has seen the US devise a plan to capture Raqqa in two phases.

Ενα βήμα πριν την κατάρρευση του χαλιφάτου-PDF
Nov 6, 2016

CNN
The next US president faces a world of trouble
Nov 5, 2016

Josh Landis, who heads the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said Syria will be a difficult test for the incoming president.
“We have to make some hard choices about who we are going to support in Syria,” he said. “If we support the Kurds, we alienate the Turks. If we support the Turks and rebels, we have to escalate with Russia and pull the rug out underneath the Kurds.”

FP
The Blob Is Back: The Revenge of the Syria Hawks
Nov 1, 2016

Some critics of a military solution in Syria see the crisis from an entirely different perspective: They believe the Obama administration did not move fast enough to cut off allied support for the rebels who are linked to extremists — including the Islamic State and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham — a dynamic that prolonged the war in Syria.
“Escalation has failed to win this proxy war. It has only prolonged it and increased the death toll,” said Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Red Dirt Report
Yemen’s civil war another Syria-style conflict in gestation
Oct 21, 2016

NORMAN, Okla. – At the time where the civil wars in Syria and Iraq are at the forefront of the international scene, Waleed F. Mahdi, a native of Yemen and assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma, talked on Yemen’s own civil conflict at the Sam Noble Museum this past Monday along with the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and OU Prof. Joshua Landis.

Klassekampen
– USA bør la Assad vinne
Oct 19, 2016

– Hvis du ser på det kaldhjertet, så ser du etableringen av en russisk interessesfære som går sammen med en sjia-akse av iransk innflytelse som går gjennom Irak og Syria til Libanon. Opprettelsen av den sekteriske sjia-regjeringen i Bagdad har skapt denne sjia-aksen. Iran ser overlevelsen av et sjia-regime i Damaskus som avgjørende, for uten en sjia-makt i Damaskus vil ikke Hizbollah klare å få inn forsyninger, som de nå får landveien fra Damaskus. Så iranerne er fast bestemt på å vinne denne krigen. Det blir en ny sikkerhetsarkitektur i regionen, der Iran og Russland får mer innflytelse over den nordre aksen, fra Iran via Irak og Syria til Libanon. Og det er veldig lite USA kan gjøre med det, sier Landis.

Wilson Center
The United States, Russia and Syria: What Comes Next After Ceasefire Talk Suspension
Oct 11, 2016

Joshua Landis: On the Humanitarian Catastrophe (Listen to this clip)
Jane Harman: Are these people [in Aleppo] in their basements just pawns in a geopolitical play, or does anybody or should anybody really care about them and if somebody really cares about them, in the short term, before they starve, what are some options, meaningful options, other than just talking about it to get some medical and food relief to them?
Josh Landis: You know there are two ways to do that. One is to, the Assad regime way, which is to say: the rebels have to leave and we will let those people out.

Who. What. Why.
Experts: Syrian ‘Black Hole’ Deepens As US Election Approaches
Oct 8, 2016

Joshua Landis, a prominent Syria expert in the US (a professor at the University of Oklahoma and the administrator of the Syria Comment blog), echoed Mizin’s caution, but said the West may be slowly coming to terms with a possible Assad victory, at least in the major Syrian urban centers. Here is a transcript of his comments

Aljazeera
Why Bashar al-Assad is still in power
Oct 4, 2016

As Joshua Landis, head of Middle Eastern studies at Oklahoma University, noted: “The poor and rural people were being cut off. Their standards of living collapsed … We can see the results of this because the 2011 uprising had really been an uprising of the rural areas, which had been shunted aside.”

Aljazeera English
Oct 3, 2016

RTV Russian tv
Oct 3, 2016

ABC
Syria expert Joshua Landis discusses assault on Aleppo
Sep 29, 2016

Joshua Landis, director of The Centre For Middle East Studies at The University Of Oklahoma, joins Hayden Cooper to discuss the ferocious assault by Russian and Syrian forces on the city of Aleppo.

TACC
“Вмешательство России помогло в борьбе с ИГ”: американские эксперты о роли ВКС РФ в Сирии
Sep 29, 2016

Президент Асад и (правительственная) Сирийская арабская армия восстановили контроль над большей частью Дамаскского региона, отбили Пальмиру и центральные пустынные районы Сирии, а также внесли перелом в борьбу против повстанцев в Алеппо и Латакии. Теперь, судя по всему, будет развиваться борьба за восточную часть Алеппо.

The Intercept
U.S. and EU Sanctions Are Punishing Ordinary Syrians and Crippling Aid Work, U.N. Report Reveals
Sep 28, 2016

“Sanctions have a terrible effect on the people more than the regime and Washington knows this from Iraq,” argues Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “But there’s pressure in Washington to do something and sanctions look like you’re doing something,” he added.

Australian Broadcasting Channel National News
Sep 27, 2016

Alhurra “Open Discussion” TV show
Sep 26, 2016

Huffington Post
Hillary Clinton Leaves Her Controversial ISIS-Fighting Strategy Out Of Monday’s Debate
Sep 26, 2016

The Obama administration has generally focused its actions in Syria on combating the threat of the so-called Islamic State, al Qaeda and other jihadist factions operating in the country. Obama officially maintains that the U.S. is seeking President Bashar Assad’s ouster, but through inaction, the U.S. is effectively allowing the Syrian government to retake the country from the rebel groups that oppose it.
“Obama has figured Syria is not in America’s main interest and he’ll let Russia have it,” said Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies.

AlAraby Channel from Qatar-TV show
Sep 25, 2016

AlArabiy TV Channel
Sep 22, 2016

Ripon Commonwealth Press
Editorial: Syria challenges Clinton, Trump and U.S.
Sep 21, 2016

Ripon residents had an opportunity last week to better understand those issues, thanks to Ripon College’s Center for Politics and the People. It hosted Professor Joshua Landis, one of the world’s leading experts on Syria and a good friend of Ripon President Zach Messitte, who moderated the event featuring his former University of Oklahoma colleague.

Pacfic Radio- “Background Briefing” with Ian Masters
Sep 20, 2016

France 24 TV show
Sep 20, 2016

BBC News Hour
Sep 20, 2016

MilitaryTimes
U.S. military commanders are ‘pissed off’ about the mission creep in Syria
Sep 18, 2016

The agreement forged by Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart could, for the first time, broaden the American-led air campaign’s target list to include al Nusra, the notorious al Qaida-linked group that is a major actor in the multi-sided Syrian civil war. Until now, the two-year-old U.S. air campaign in Syria has been limited to ISIS.

“This could be massive mission creep,” said Josh Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “The military is pissed off because they’re being asked to do two jobs now. They were asked to do one job, which is kill ISIS. Now John Kerry is asking them to do another job, which is cooperate with Russia and kill al Nusra.”

CNN newshour
Sep 17, 2016

Aljazeera English
Sep 17, 2016

Russian TV
Sep 17, 2016

BBC newshour
Sep 17, 2016

MilitaryTimes
U.S. troops are now advising Turkish ground forces fighting ISIS in Syria
Sep 16, 2016

While the number of U.S. troops involved is minimal, putting American forces alongside Turkish troops on the ground may give the U.S. significantly more influence in the outcome of the 5-year-old Syrian civil war, said Josh Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
“This is an opportunity to sit with important Turkish military leaders as they make decisions about which militants they are going to ally with and promote to take over regions,” Landis said in an interview Friday.

Russian TV RTV Newshour
Sep 16, 2016

Aljazeera Arabic talk show on the Syrian Ceasefire.
Sep 16, 2016

Turkey TV on the Ceasefire
Sep 16, 2016

The New Yorker
Even Peace May Not Save Syria
Sep 16, 2016

“The C.I.A. still estimates that there are fifteen hundred opposition militias,” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, told me this week. “Some are part of bigger coalitions, but if they don’t like orders they just don’t obey them.”
Landis went on, “The government has the same issues. It is getting weaker. It is defaulting to strongmen in villages, who form their own militias. They are allowed to run their own roadblocks and extort money in exchange for protecting their regions. They’re like mafias. They have become their own powers.”

The Wall Street Journal
Syrian Government Sieges Drive Out Sunni Population
Sep 13, 2016

The Syrian government is pressing a systematic effort to alter the country’s demographics and tighten President Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power, United Nations officials and opposition figures said.

L’Orient Le Jour
Syrie : les tractations diplomatiques américano-russes s’accélèrent
Sep 3, 2016

Joshua Landis, directeur du Center for Middle East Studies et professeur à l’Université de l’Oklahoma, contacté par L’Orient-Le Jour, estime cette information peu crédible. « Je ne crois pas qu’Erdogan acceptera un jour de rencontrer Assad, même si on ne sait jamais ce qui peut se passer », affirme l’expert, précisant que ce sont les Russes qui jouent le rôle de messagers entre Ankara et Damas. Le régime a notamment été averti du lancement de l’opération « Bouclier de l’Euphrate » via son allié russe. En attendant, hier, le Premier ministre turc a assuré que son pays cherchait à normaliser ses relations avec l’Égypte et la Syrie. « Nous avons normalisé nos relations avec la Russie et Israël. À présent, si Dieu le veut, la Turquie a pris une initiative sérieuse pour normaliser ses relations avec l’Égypte et la Syrie », a déclaré Binali Yildirim dans un discours télévisé.

The Progressive
Yet Another Country Invades Syria—Why?
Sep 2, 2016

The United States refused to politically recognize the PYD, and earlier this year acceded to Turkey’s shelling the very YPG fighters that the U.S. was arming.
With the recent invasion, the U.S. has aligned itself even more closely with Turkey. During a visit to that country at the end of August, Vice President Joe Biden warned the Kurds to pull back their fighters east of the Euphrates, although they currently hold towns to the west. As Biden put it:
“The Kurds have been stabbed in the back,” Professor Joshua Landis told The Progressive. Landis is director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Kurds sacrificed hundreds of lives and worked hard to develop Syrian Arab allies, says Landis. “Then they’ve been told to get out of Dodge.”

Aljazeera English news
Aug 30, 2016

RTV Crosstalk – the leading weekly discussion of the news.
Aug 30, 2016

Vice News
The US is pissing off everyone in northern Syria
Aug 30, 2016

According to Ford, the Obama administration feared it would violate international law if it armed forces that would in turn attack the government of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. And the Kurds didn’t want to fight Assad, they wanted to fight the Islamic State — with the understanding that they could expand their own territory in the process.
And expand they did. The Kurds grew their territory by 50 percent as they drove off IS militants with help from US air support and advisors. They also lost hundreds of fighters in the process.
So it must have come as a shock to the Kurds when, just a few weeks after they fought a bloody battle to evict IS from the town of Manbij at America’s request, Biden showed up in Turkey and said the Kurds would need to withdraw from the town in order to accommodate the Turks, says Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Hurriyet
Türkiye Kaderini Eline Almalı
Aug 29, 2016

Ancak ne var ki bu cephe de çatışma riskinden azade değil. ABD’de Suriye’yi en yakından takip eden uzmanlardan, Ortadoğu Araştırmaları Merkezi Başkanı Joshua Landis’le konuşuyorum. Landis’e göre, “Türkiye ve Rusya, belli bir bölgeye girilmemesi üzerinde anlaşmış görünüyor.” Bahsettiği, Esad kontrolündeki bölgeler.

Aljazeera English
Aug 28, 2016

Aljazeera English
Aug 25, 2016

Rudaw
Would Turkey favor Assad on its borders over the PYD?
Aug 25, 2016

Professor Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, doesn’t rule out the possibility that Turkey might be looking into transforming Turkish relations with Iran and Russia in hopes they will move against the PYD.

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that he will not accept normal relations with Damascus so long as Assad is at the helm. All the same, it is clear that Erdogan and his new Prime Minister are looking for ways to transform his relations with Iran and Russia in order to place greater pressure on the Kurds and stop their advance along Syria’s border with Turkey,” Landis told Rudaw English.

Lobe Log
Does Fighting in Hasakah Signal a Diplomatic Realignment on Syria?
Aug 24, 2016

As the University of Oklahoma’s Joshua Landis, who publishes the blog Syria Comment, told me, “Assad used a minority strategy in the east of Syria in order to frustrate rebel insurgents there, helping to arm the Kurds and cooperating with them so that the Kurds would fight effectively against the rebels. This led to an alliance of convenience between the PYD and the Syrian government. Part of that alliance was the understanding that the Syrian government could remain in Hasakah and other places and retain its authority in some areas without being attacked.”

Aljazeera English
Aug 24, 2016

Bloomberg
Turkish Incursion Could Prove Game Changer in Syrian War
Aug 24, 2016

Turkey’s incursion into Syria reflects a shift away from its insistence that President Bashar al-Assad be removed from power in any settlement there and may start to close the gap between the international coalitions that have helped keep the country’s civil war raging, analysts and diplomats say.
In recent months, Turkey has indicated a readiness to accept a transitional role for Assad in any political solution, something Unal Cevikoz, a retired senior Turkish diplomat, called a major change.

The New York Times
Under Pressure Over Aleppo Siege, Russia Hints at Seeking Deal With U.S.
Aug 15, 2016

Russian news agencies also quoted Defense Minister Sergei K. Shoigu as saying that Russia and the United States were close to an agreement on a joint fight against the Islamic State in Aleppo. Such an agreement, he said, could help “bring peace to this long-suffering land and help people return to their homes.”
American officials had no immediate comment on his remarks, and it was unclear how such a joint effort could be undertaken.
Political analysts of the Syrian conflict said they were skeptical. “I cannot see where the Russians and Americans will find common ground on Aleppo,” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma and the author of the Syria Comment blog, wrote in an email. “Perhaps the Russians are simply playing for time and trying to deflect possible Western or regional backlash?”

Talk Media News
American anti-war group heaps praise on Assad
Aug 9, 2016

The seven-member delegation to Syria was led by the U.S. Peace Council, a group founded in 1979 as an “anti-imperialist organization committed to peace, economic and social justice.” The formerly Soviet-backed council has long called for the dismantling of the NATO alliance and condemned Ukraine’s 2014 Euromaidan revolution as a coup d’etat.
But an independent analyst warned that the group was fed a bill of goods by the Syrian regime.
“These groups that are going to go to talk to Assad, obvious Assad is trying to play them, and get some news and get his story out,” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma who was not affiliated with the delegation, said.

Foreign Policy
UN Nears Deal on Humanitarian Pause in Aleppo — But What Comes Next?
Aug 4, 2016

Experts said any breakthrough in the talks may be due to a cold calculation on the part of Moscow that if civilians are evacuated from the area, pro-Assad forces can ramp up their bombing campaign in Aleppo and takeover the entire city — a strategic stronghold of the opposition.
“Assad would prefer for the rebels to leave and the Syrian army to occupy east Aleppo. But if the rebels will not leave and prefer to fight on, he will want the people out so he can bomb the city at will without lots of civilian casualties,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma.

Bundeswehr
In der Falle
Aug 1, 2016

Glaubt man dem Nahost-Experten Joshua Landis von der Universität Oklahoma, steckt dahinter Kalkül: „Der syrische Machthaber Baschar al-Assad versucht, die Moral der Rebellen zu brechen. Dazu lässt er auch zivile Einrichtungen wie Krankenhäuser, Schulen oder Bäckereien bombardieren“, so Landis,
der auch die US-Regierung in Syrien-Fragen berät. Zuletzt wurden nach Angaben von UNICEF Ende Juli vier Feldkliniken und eine Blutbank im Ostteil der Stadt bombardiert. Bei weiteren Luftangriffen auf Aleppo wurden am vergangenen Montag syrischen Aktivisten zufolge zwölf Zivilisten getötet.

The National
Al Nusra receives mixed reception from Syrian rebels after split from Al Qaeda
Aug 1, 2016

“The rebels have little choice,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “They can’t split from Nusra, because they’re not going to find an American partner if they do. Their only choice is to try to win on the battlefield. And that means Nusra is key, because Nusra is by far the most effective fighting force out there.”

PRI
Bill Clinton says Hillary can make any world problem better in 30 days. Really? What about Syria?
July 27, 2016

Joshua Landis, director of Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma, has studied Syria for years and lived there before the civil war.
“Well,” says Landis, “it would be very hard to really effect any major change in 30 days. That, I’m afraid, any president could not do.”

OUDaily
Boren suspends study abroad programs in Turkey
Jul 27, 2016

The decision came just as 16 OU students were preparing to leave for their “Journey to Turkey” — the OU in Izmir trip, which was worth six credit hours. Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies, was going to be an instructor for the program

Rudaw
Dealing with ISIS after the demise of the Caliphate
Jul 17, 2016

In Syria ISIS may live to die another day after being forced from its Raqqa stronghold and other parts of northeast and east Syria.

“ISIS will probably remain a military factor in Syria and Iraq even after losing its territory. Many fighters might migrate to other Salafist militias in the region, such as Nusra, but the national idea that ISIS has mapped out of a Sunni Caliphate remains powerful. It has many sympathizers,” Syria-expert Professor Joshua Landis, of the University of Oklahoma, told Rudaw English.

Cumhuriyet
‘Siyasi çözüme karşı kimsenin kozu kalmadı
Jul 16, 2016

ABD’deki Suriye uzmanlarından, Oklahoma Üniversitesi Ortadoğu Bölümü Direktörü Joshua Landis de Cumhuriyet’e şunları söyledi: “Putin Suriye’ye girdiğinde ABD ile işbirliği yapabileceğini umdu. Bu Esad’ı savaşın galibi yapmak demekti ve ABD bu oyunu oynamak istemedi. Putin çekilme kararıyla hem Esad’a ‘her istediğini alamazsın’ hem de ABD’ye ‘bizimle ve Esad’la işbirliği yapmalısın’ dedi.”

12 News Phoenix, AZ
Turkey’s Erdogan pulls through crisis but faces more tests
Jul 16, 2016

Erdogan “comes out strong in the sense that he can purge a lot of enemies,” said Joshua Landis, who heads the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “But ultimately Turkey is very weakened. Economically, it’s going to hammer Turkey. Diplomatically, people are going to treat it with kit gloves. Mostly, foreign investment is going to flee.”

Intelligence-PDF
JUL 8, 2016

“Many minorities in Iraq are now on the verge of disappearance,” notes a new report by the Minority Rights Group NGO. “The Christian population, which before 2003 numbered as many as 1.4 million … since the [Islamic State] advance is now estimated as under 250,000,” it adds. In Syria a grim parallel process is unfolding. “In rebel controlled regions there are almost no more religious minorities,” notes Joshua Landis, who heads the University of Oklahoma’s Center of Middle East Studies.

The Herald
Rochester Hears From Middle East Expert
JUN. 30, 2016
BY BRIANNA HILLIER

American academic and Syria expert Joshua Landis visited Rochester’s Pierce Hall Sunday evening to give a sobering lecture on the effects U.S. policy has had on the Middle East, the future of Syria and Iraq, and the war against ISIS.

Landis is director of the Center for Middle East Studies and an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma. He came to make an argument Sunday evening about identity and nationalism, but more specifically, how these ideas have shaped the Middle East.

Landis began his presentation by making a connection between the conflicts in the Middle East and European history. After World War I, “Europeans went to the map to divide up the Middle East with a ruler,” said Landis, drawing borders with no regards to the people who lived there. He claimed that before these foreign borders were drawn, the Middle East, under the Ottoman Empire, was a multi-ethnic, multireligious state whose people coexisted in relative stability.

Politifact.com
Donald Trump suggests Barack Obama supported ISIS, but that’s a conspiracy theory
June 15, 2016
by Louis Jacobson

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, agreed. “It has never been the policy or stated goal of the Obama administration to arm or assist al-Qaida,” he said.

El PAIS
Kurdos, rebeldes y EE UU impulsan una ofensiva coordinada contra el ISIS en Siria
June 14, 2016
by Natalia Sancha

“El avance de Washington y kurdos hacia Raqa ha obligado a El Asad a desviarse de sus objetivos”, valora al teléfono el especialista norteamericano Joshua Landis. “Ahora a El Asad no le queda más remedio que ir a Raqa y luchar contra el ISIS para evitar que los kurdos o rebeldes se hagan con ella. Y ello, dejando a un segundo plano su principal prioridad: el frente de Alepo y los rebeldes suníes allí afincados”, añade. Un análisis que refrendan fuentes de las milicias libanesas aliadas a Damasco (Hezbolá y el Partido Nacional Socialista Sirio) quienes aseguran que si bien la prioridad para ellos sigue siendo Alepo, “los rusos han impuesto la ofensiva sobre Raqa presionados por la opinión pública y Washington”.

Business World
US-led offensive in Syria aimed at cutting off IS supply route
June 2, 2016

But some are skeptical of the Pentagon’s assurances. They suspect that despite Washington’s touting the role of the Arabs, it is the Kurds who will ultimately retain control. “I doubt that they are in command and they are going to have control over this territory once Kurds will have spent their blood,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

National Post
History of violence: Aleppo has been fought over for millennia and citizens are no closer to escaping war
May 7, 2016
by Michael Petrou

“Aleppo has become the real epicentre of this struggle,” says Joshua Landis, director for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “And it’s likely to remain an open sore.”

WBEZ’s Worldview
The Battle in Aleppo
May 3, 2016
Host Jerome McDonnell

The New York Times
Leader of Syria Rescue Group, Arriving in U.S. for Award, Is Refused Entry
April 20, 2016
by Somini Sengupta and Anne Barnard

Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma at Norman, called the denial of entry “a scandal.”
“The White Helmets are one of the few organizations in Syria that have been above reproach,” he said. “They have tried to observe strict neutrality in order to facilitate their humanitarian work and save lives. To do this they have worked along side all sorts of militias in order to get to victims of the fighting.”

USA TODAY
Syria peace talks set to resume amid new fighting
April 12, 2016
by Oren Dorell

“The cease-fire cut off some very unfinished business around Aleppo, which the regime is trying to retake,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria analyst at the University of Oklahoma. Syrian government troops are trying to retake the entire border with Turkey, which is controlled in various segments by Kurdish militias, Turkey-supported rebels and Islamic State factions, Landis said.
“The Syrian government is more concerned about the areas it hasn’t captured where other Arab militias can get arms and resupplies from Turkey,” he said. “So the cease-fire was going to be broken, it was a matter of when.”

France24 English
‘Islamic State’ Conflict, Syrian army recaptures Palmyra from ‘IS’ Group
March 29, 2016

Recapture of Palmyra: “changed the balance of power in Syria dramatically” Joshua Landis

TRT World
Joshua Landis talks to TRT World about Syria: Fiver years of war
March 18, 2016

To the Point
Russia Draws Down in Syria
March 17, 2016

Vladimir Putin surprised the world when he suddenly started bombing in Syria last September. This week, he surprised the world again when he ordered the “main part” of his military forces out of Syria. The Pentagon says the Russians aren’t going away. Long-range missiles and bombs are still falling, and Russia’s airbase and naval station are permanent fixtures. For the moment, Putin’s surprise move has kept him out of the “quagmire” predicted by President Obama, but his long-range intentions are unclear. His air assaults did enough damage to embolden President Assad to join talks in Geneva, but are Syrians any closer to ending a savage civil war?

China News International
Syria conflict: Kurds to declare federal system
March 17, 2016

Daily Mail
Kurds plan to declare a federal region in northern Syria
March 16, 2016
by Associated Press

Joshua Landis, director of Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma, said the federalist project has logic to it, but is doomed to fail under current conditions.
“The federal system would be the way forward if people would accept it,” Landis said, “But they won’t because they don’t like each other.”

The Globe and Mail
Kurds announce plans to declare federal region in Syria
March 16, 2016
by Zeina Karam and Philip Issa

Joshua Landis, director of Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma, said the federalist project has logic to it, but is doomed to fail under current conditions.
“The federal system would be the way forward if people would accept it,” Landis said, “But they won’t because they don’t like each other.”

The Washington Post
In the Syria chess game, did Putin outwit Obama?
March 16, 2016
by Ishaan Tharoor

“Assad’s people were very confident only a week ago that Russia was going to take them all the way, help them reconquer all of Syria,” Syria expert Joshua Landis told NPR. “In a sense, Russia’s saying, we don’t have to do that; we’re not necessarily going to do that.”

PRI
Mission Accomplished? Russia Withdraws from Syria
March 15, 2016

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, joins The Takeaway to discuss what Putin’s announcement means for the situation in Syria.

CNN
Putin: Russian troops out of Syria
March 15, 2016

CNNi talks to Middle East expert Joshua Landis of the Uni. of Oklahoma about the message Russian Pres. Putin is sending by ordering its troops out of Syria.

Zero Hedge
“We Can Always Come Back”: Video Shows Beginning Of Russia’s Withdrawal From Syria
March 15, 2016
by Tyler Durden

“Putin is a wily guy. He is showing he’s a statesman. Russia is also sending a message to Assad who has been sounding too confident.” That’s from Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma, and a frequent commentator on Syria’s five-year conflict.

Foreign Policy
Russian Withdrawal Could Set Stage for Assad’s Exit
March 14, 2016
by Paul Mcleary

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said that until the past week, he had been in touch with officials close to the Assad regime in Damascus who expressed “a constant drumbeat of confidence that they’re going to take back every inch of Syrian soil, and Russia is their partner.” But those communications abruptly fell off earlier this month. “No one was answering the phones in Damascus. That leads me to believe they were thrown for a loop.”

Los Angles Times
As Syrian peace talks near, Bashar Assad’s future remains a sticking point
March 14, 2016
by Patrick J. McDonnell

“Expecting Syrians to come to terms among themselves is not productive,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma. “The ideological, political differences between them are too great.”

NPR
Russian President Vladimir Putin To Withdraw Majority Of Troops From Syria
March 14, 2016
Host Robert Siegel, All Things Considered

Vladimir Putin says he’s withdrawing the main part of Russia’s troop deployment to Syria. What do you think he means by that?
LANDIS: Well, it’s not quite clear, but I – but he’s sending, in a sense, three messages, it seems to me. One, he’s establishing that he’s a statesman. He wants peace. He’s willing to meet America halfway. He’s also letting the people know at Russia – at home, mission accomplished.

PRI
Here’s why the partial truce in Syria has astounded even the experts
March 1, 2016
by Joyce Hackel

“This is essentially a deal that was made between America and Russia, and is being pushed on the Syrians. And so far it’s working,” Landis says.

The WorldPost
A partnership of the Huffington Post and Berggruen Institute
The Terror Group That Could Ruin Syria’s Ceasefire Isn’t ISIS
February 27, 2016
by Charlotte Alfred

The WorldPost spoke to Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and editor of the blog Syria Comment, about the dilemmas that Nusra Front poses for the truce deal — and for peace in Syria.

El Pais
Islamistas sirios, entre Occidente y Al Qaeda
February 24, 2016
by ANDRÉS MOURENZA

“En Siria hay muchos moderados, pero si quieres ganar la guerra sólo tienes dos opciones: ir con el régimen o con los salafistas”, sostiene Joshua Landis, experto en el país árabe.

Here & Now
Syrian Government And Opposition Agree To Ceasefire
February 23, 2016
Host Jeremy Hobson

After nearly five years of civil war and more than 250,000 deaths, the warring parties in Syria say they will abide by a ceasefire that is scheduled to take effect Saturday.
The United Nations says it will be a challenge to enforce the truce. That’s because the Syrian battlefield is complicated by the presence of ISIS and the al-Qaida group, al-Nusra.
Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, about the prospects for peace.

Sputnik News
Turkey Fears Alienating US by Restricting Access to Incirlik Airbase
February 20, 2016

University of Oklahoma Center for Middle East Studies Director Joshua Landis told Sputnik that if Turkey were to follow through on threats to limit access to Incirlik it would put the United States in a very precarious position.
“Incirlik remains crucial to US efforts to fight the Islamic State [Daesh],” Landis suggested. “The United States has been building an airport in northern Syria, but it is small and would not be able to repair sophisticated jets.”
Landis, who is also the editor of Syria Comment, observed that Washington is trying not to get in between the PYD and Ankara in their dispute because they both are vital US allies.

Foreign Policy
In Spat Between Turks and Kurds, U.S. Remains on the Sidelines
February 18, 2016
by John Hudson, Dan De Luce

Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, said Washington was in a “very bad predicament here because the U.S.’s only dependable ally in Syria is the Kurds.” He added that YPG fighters have helped reclaim significant amounts of territory from ISIS.

The Globe and Mail
Ankara bombing underscores border fears as Turkey pushes for buffer zone
February 17, 2016
by Victor Kotsev

“Saudi [Arabia] and Turkey are likely engaged in great theatre,” Joshua Landis, a prominent Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, said in an e-mail. “Both powers, which have ambitions to lead the Sunni world, must demonstrate to their people and beyond that they are defending the Sunni rebels and not standing idly by as they are defeated by Russia and its allies.”

Los Angeles Times
Backed by Russian air power, Syria’s army builds on gains
January 18, 2016
by Nabih Bulos
“Assad is winning. Russian air power [has] changed the entire dynamic of what’s going on, and it just gives the Syrian army an incredible boost,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, in a phone interview.
ABC
‘I don’t see any way that Assad is not going to win this’: Analyst
February 17, 2016
by Eleanor Hall

“After all, the Syrian Government – the economy has been collapsing – the Syrian Government does not have the money to feed its own people. And it would I’m sure be very interested in having tons of international aid but it will want to direct to whom it goes.” Joshua Landis

Kent Presents
Understanding Islamic Extremism
February 26, 2016

Michael Kramer, Joshua Landis and Chase Robinson parse out the facts of Islamic extremism and ISIS.

NZZ am Sonntag
Syrien «Der Westen ist spektakulär gescheitert»
February 16, 2016
by von Anna Trechsel

Der amerikanische Syrien-Experte und Nahost-Professor Joshua Landis rechnet im Interview damit, dass der syrische Diktator Bashar al-Asad den Bürgerkrieg gewinnt – dank der Unterstützung Russlands.

The Washington Times
Syria cease-fire would help Assad, allies secure control of Aleppo
February 14, 2016
by Guy Taylor

Joshua Landis, who heads the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, argues that the cease-fire is “necessary for Russia to finesse international outrage at the terrible human cost of its advances around Aleppo.”

Sputnik
Erdogan’s Gamble in Syria Goes Bust
February 13, 2016

“Turkey is furious because it placed a big bet on backing the rebels,” Landis said. “It thought it had America behind it in destroying Assad. It looks today that Assad may reconquer the country and establish his authority. The Kurds then would then have a backer in Syria and a large degree of autonomy, and that would put Turkey in a terrible position.”

Who. What. Why.
Confused by the bloody war in Syria? Here’s the whowhatwhy.
February 12, 2016
by Victor Kotsev

“That’s the same strategy that was used around [the capital] Damascus for the entire campaign, to close off the border with Lebanon,” says Joshua Landis, one of the top Syria experts in the West who teaches at the University of Oklahoma. “It began in 2012 with the conquest of [the town of ] Qusayr… and they sealed the border with Lebanon, which really protected Damascus. And they’ve got to do the same thing with Turkey.”

The Diane Rehm Show
The Latest on the Military, Political and Humanitarian Crises in Syria
February 11, 2016

Russia continues airstrikes in Syria. Secretary Kerry meets with world leaders in an attempt to resolve the country’s five-year civil war. A panel joins Diane to discuss the latest on the military, political and humanitarian crises facing Syria. Joshua Landis and Ambassador James Jeffrey get heated over whether U.S. should use overwhelming force in Syria or not.

The Take Away
Syria: Time to Favor a Dictator over Democracy?
February 11, 2016
by John Hockenberry

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 500 people—including 89 civilians—have been killed since the Russian-backed offensive on Aleppo province began earlier this month. Tens of thousands of people have left the area and have headed to the Turkish border, which has been sealed shut.
Is the U.S. letting Russia take the lead on Syria? And what does this mean for the Syrian rebels? For answers, we turn to Joshua Landis, director for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

PRI
Erdogan feels the US left Turkey in the lurch with Syrian conflict
February 11, 2016
by Kenny Sokan

“Turkey wants the United States to come in strong on Syria, stop the Russians and stop the refugee flow that’s pouring out of Aleppo,” says Josh Landis, director of the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “Turkey feels like it’s been left holding the bag both by the United States and Europe. … America looks like it’s bowing out. It’s going to let Russia try to clean up Syria or at least have its way in Syria.”

RT
Syrian quagmire
February 3, 2016

The talks have started, but where will they go? Ending Syria’s civil war is a daunting endeavor. There are too many parties with conflicting agendas. Outside powers have been fueling this war for years. Can the same powers end it?
CrossTalking with Joshua Landis, Richard Murphy, and Andrew Cockburn.

WBUR On Point with Tom Ashbrook
Peace Talks For Syria
February 3, 2016

Guests: Joshua Landis, Noah Bonsey and Patrick McDonnell
After all kinds of pressure from Washington and beyond, peace talks over the Syrian civil war are finally underway in Geneva. Maybe. Participants can’t even agree over whether they’ve started. The odds of a negotiated solution seem almost nil. But the talks are a good window through which to look at Syria and the clashing interests behind a war that has destroyed a country, spawned ISIS, flooded Europe and set the world on edge. This hour On Point, war and peace and Syria.

Foreign Policy
In Confidential Memo, U.N. Says It Can’t Enforce a Syrian Peace Deal
January 29, 2016
by Colum Lynch

Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, predicted that government forces will negotiate directly with the fighters on the battlefield. But in Geneva, he added, it’s likely Damascus will denounce the opposition as terrorists. “They will do the Trump thing and tell you how bad you are,” he said.

RT
Official Syrian opposition to join Geneva 3 peace talks after about-face – UN mediator
January 29, 2016

Joshua Landis, Director of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma commented on the complexities of the new round of talks, which will see de Mistura shuttling between different groups and factions.
There will be at least four groups sitting in four different rooms: “Women and civil society group, there is another group that the Russians put together, which includes Haytham Manna who is the co-president of the Syria Democratic Council and it represents the Kurds to a certain degree … and then there is the Syrian opposition that Riyadh has put together, and there will be Assad’s team in the fourth room,” Landis told RT.

Al Arabiya
Diplomatic Avenue: The US relationship with the Syrian opposition
January 29, 2016
by Talal al-Haj

Diplomatic Avenue is beamed live every month from Al Arabiya’s studios in the United Nations. Presented by Talal al-Haj, the show features interviews with high-level diplomats and decision makers, with video reports focusing on recent diplomatic developments and pressing issues. The program casts a critical eye over the work of the U.N. and its agencies, not only on the political front, but also on the humanitarian, cultural and scientific levels. The show gives its audience an insight into what goes on within the halls and corridors of the U.N., with a special emphasis on issues that matter to the Arab and Islamic worlds.

TRT World
The Newsmakers: Syria Peace Talks and Refugee Volunteers
January 28, 2016

Renewed efforts to solve Syria’s war through talks. But is it possible to get all the players round the negotiating table?
Also on today’s programme… What role do civilian volunteers play in the refugee crisis effort? We have a special report from Lesbos. Joshua Landis and Mohammad Alabdallah debate.

IRIN
Syrian peace talks lost in a fog of war
January 28, 2016
by Annie Slemrod

“Assad is not going because he wants to negotiate, and not because he thinks the opposition can deliver [on unity],” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told IRIN. “He’s going because his major sponsor, Russia, has told him to.”

TRT World
The Newsmakers: Syria Peace Talks and Refugee Volunteers
January 28, 2016

Renewed efforts to solve Syria’s war through talks. But is it possible to get all the players round the negotiating table?

Sputnik News
Syrian Kurds Should Attend Peace Talks Amid Dispute Over Terrorist Label
January 27, 2016

“The Syrian Kurds make-up 10 percent of the population of Syria and should be included,” University of Oklahoma Center for Middle East Studies Director Joshua Landis told Sputnik on Tuesday. “Claiming that they are terrorists is not an excuse for excluding them.”
Landis added that considering members of the Syrian opposition and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government have exchanged terrorist allegations to no effect, and there should not be an exception when it comes to the Kurds.

Rudaw
The Kurds and the Great Sorting Out
January 26, 2016
by Paul Iddon

Professor Joshua Landis is an expert foremost on Syria. Having followed the Middle East for decades now his input on the current crisis is frequently cited and solicited. He has devised a broad theory to try and summarize what is happening across the region which he calls ‘the great sorting out’. Hence, as with Europe over the course of the century past different underlying ethno-sectarian tensions reached boiling point at a time of war and the regions different ethno-sectarian groups are being reorganized on more homogenous grounds. While this doesn’t necessarily mean Iraq and Syria will permanently break-up Landis’s precedent is a dire one.

NPR
Pentagon Gets ISIS Metaphor Wrong, Critics Say
January 26, 2016
Host David Welna, Morning Edition

JOSHUA LANDIS: It makes it seem like we’re going to be able to apply our modern techniques of warfare in the same way that you would going into the hospital to fight some kind of skin cancer or something like that. It isn’t going to be so easy.

Voice of America
Challenges Could Derail Syria Talks
January 26, 2016
by Mohamed Elshinnawi

But Landis argues there is no good will to ensure any optimistic outcomes of the talks, even if all parties attended.
“I believe the upcoming Geneva talks will be in vain as the previous efforts were, simply because neither side is willing to compromise.” Landis said, “It is quite clear that Russia and Assad believe that they can achieve a conquest in the battlefield and the Syrian opposition groups still believe they can take Damascus by force.”

Hürriyet
Türkiye’yi Sıkıştıran Denklem
January 25, 2016
by Verda Özer

DW
Syrian talks jeopardized by dispute over participants
January 24, 2016

“Everybody is making these very maximalist demands, it doesn’t look good,” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, told DW.

Financial Times
Vladimir Putin asked Bashar al-Assad to step down
January 22, 2016
by Sam Jones in London, Erika Solomon in Beirut and Kathrin Hille in Kazan

The disappearance of Abdelaziz al-Kheir, an Alawite dissident, was a striking example, said Joshua Landis, a Syria analyst from Oklahoma State University.
Mr Al-Kheir, a leading member of the National Co-ordinating Body, a political grouping dedicated to negotiating with Mr Assad to achieve democratic change, was from a prominent family in Mr Assad’s home town, said Mr Landis.

Foreign Affairs
Assad Has It His Way
January 19, 2016
by Joshua Landis and Steven Simon

Most important to Assad has been the attitude of the United States. U.S. President Barack Obama’s first reaction to Russia’s entry into the war on September 30 was to state, “We’re not going to make Syria into a proxy war between the U.S. and Russia.” This was consistent with the administration’s long-standing reluctance to go beyond its current support for a small number of armed groups opposed to the Assad regime. Moscow has had a long and important relationship with Damascus; Washington has not.

The American Interest
“Asad is Winning”
January 19, 2016

Noted Syria expert Joshua Landis put it more bluntly in an interview with the LA Times: “Assad is winning. Russian air power [has] changed the entire dynamic of what’s going on, and it just gives the Syrian army an incredible boost. […] What I’m hearing from Damascus is that it has taken time to digest the new technology, for the Russians to get well situated, get the intelligence they require and know what they’re doing.”

Los Angeles Times
Backed by Russian air power, Syria’s army builds on gains
January 18, 2016
by Nabih Bulos

“Assad is winning. Russian air power [has] changed the entire dynamic of what’s going on, and it just gives the Syrian army an incredible boost,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, in a phone interview.

INTERNACIONAL EL PAÍS
El ISIS trata de tomar el control total del mayor enclave sirio del Éufrates
January 18, 2016
by NATALIE SANCHA

Aferrado a su oasis en territorio del califato que reina en el noreste del país, Bachar el Asad está determinado a mantenerla. “Deir al Zor prueba tanto que el ISIS está debilitado como que El Asad no se va a centrar solo en las metrópolis de su feudo sino que piensa mantener su control sobre esta capital de provincia”, explica en una entrevista a este diario el experto norteamericano Joshua Landis.

Ripubblica
Joshua Landis: “Il Califfo perde consensi e si vendica sui civili inermi”
January 18, 2016
by FRANCISCO CAFERRI
Financial Times
Russia helps shift balance against rebels in southern Syria
January 7, 2016
by Erika Solomon in Beirut and John Reed in Jerusalem

Interfaith Voices
How Middle East Governments are Exploiting an Ancient Religious Divide
January 6, 2016

The Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Shia theocracy of Iran have evolved into the de-facto religious superpowers of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia’s recent execution of a prominent Shia cleric sparked a new round of tension between the two rival countries. We talk with a Middle East expert to help us understand the roots of this conflict and what the latest fallout means for the region.


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