Landis in the News 2017

Roundtable: Has Bashar al-Assad won the war in Syria?
Dec 22, 2017

In the beginning it was all about bringing down the president – but now talk of removing Syria’s leader Bashar al-Assad appears to have gone quiet. At a cost of hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of dollars, could he be thinking he’s won?
More than six years of the Syrian civil war have changed the country – and the region – forever. Even if President Assad remains in power, he’ll be ruling a very different society; a nation divided. In the face of monumental violence and huge international pressure – what – or indeed who, has managed to keep him from being toppled? How secure does he now look?
At the Roundtable was Joshua Landis, a Middle East and Syrian affairs specialist and the Director of the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma; Ibrahim Olabi, the founder and Executive Director of the Syrian Legal Development Programme; and Omar Imady, a senior fellow at the Centre for Syrian Studies at the University of St Andrews.

The Real News network
Putin’s Syria ‘Victory’ Won’t End the Proxy War
Dec 14, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared victory in Syria and says he’s withdrawing troops, but the proxy fight there remains and could ramp up in neighboring Lebanon, says Syria expert and scholar Joshua Landis

Erdogan ‘open to working with Assad’ against Syrian-Kurds
Dec 6, 2017

“Turkey has largely stopped arming the Syria rebel factions and has moved away from its early position that Assad must go,” Professor Joshua Landis told The New Arab.
“Erdogan has brought Turkey into Russia’s orbit in order to counter the US decision to help Syria’s Kurds train, arm and finance its YPG forces,” he added. “In order to limit the growth of Kurdish power in Syria, Turkey will have to cooperate with Assad and Russia.”

BBC Morning World News Program
Dec 1, 2017

BBC News
Russia in Syria: ‘Victory’ in war but can Moscow win the peace?
Nov 27, 2017

As Prof Joshua Landis, a Syrian expert at the University of Oklahoma, told me: “There remain a number of militias that have not given up and continue to win foreign backing, but they are almost uniquely arranged along the border with Turkey.
“They will continue to give Assad a hard time, until he crushes them or comes to terms with Turkey about their disposition.
“Otherwise,” he argues, “the opposition has been largely dismantled. It is possible that secret cells will try to carry on with strikes on government buildings and explosions in crowded markets, but the Assad government demonstrated considerable skill and ruthlessness in rolling up such terror organisations before the uprising broke out.”
Russia has achieved this “victory” – if you want to call it that – by the simple exercise of realpolitik with little concern about what its many critics would call the morality of its actions.

Syria: Putin, Erdogan, Rouhani hold talks as opposition gathers in Saudi Arabia
Nov 22, 2017

Joshua Landis, a Syrian expert and head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told DW that Putin wanted to send a message that Russia and Iran had largely defeated IS and foreign backed opposition forces.
“There remains much for them to do in order to consolidate their success, but they are seeking recognition of their position in the hope that world opinion will accept their victory as an ineluctable fact and cease to oppose them by sponsoring opposition members, arming militants and imposing new sanctions,” he said.

Esad denklemde mi?
Nov 22, 2017

Bu yüzden geçen hafta gündeme bomba gibi düşen DEAŞ’la YPG’nin yaptığı anlaşma, Şam rejimini küplere bindirmiş durumda. Hatırlarsanız, YPG’nin yüzlerce DEAŞ’lıyı Rakka’dan tahliye ettiği ortaya çıkmıştı. Hem de Amerikan jetlerinin gözetiminde. ABD’de Suriye’yi en yakın takip eden isimlerden, Ortadoğu Araştırmaları Merkezi Başkanı Joshua Landis’e göre: “Esad, bunun PYD’nin Rakka’da savaşmak yerine Suriye’nin doğusundaki petrol kaynaklarını ele geçirmesi için yapıldığını biliyor.” Landis bu nedenle önümüzdeki dönem Washington
ile Şam arasında tansiyonun
ciddi şekilde
yükselmesini bekliyor.

Kirli pazarlık
Nov 18, 2017

Suudi Arabistan Orta Doğu’da silahlanma yarışını ‘önde götürüyor’
Nov 16, 2017’ye konuşan ABD’li Orta Doğu uzmanı Joshua Landis, Oklohoma Üniversitesi Ortadoğu Çalışmaları Merkezi Direktörü Joshua Landis Hü’ye “Suudi Arabistan açık bir şekilde daha agresif bir konuma geliyor. Orta Doğu ülkeleri, iç muhalefete daha fazla baskı yapıldığı ve diğer ülkelerdeki isyancı hareketler tetiklenmeye çalışıldığı bir dönemde, İran ve Suudi Arabistan arasındaki savaş riskinin artmasıyla askeri gücü artırmak için tam kapasiteli bir yarışta. İki taraf da daha fazla silah almak için yarışıyor. İsrail de Lübnan ve Suriye’yi tehdit etti. Batı merkezli silah endüstrileri ise oldukça kârlı anlaşmalar imzalama peşinde…” yorumunda bulundu.

Saudi-Iran proxy wars: In pursuit of regional hegemony
Nov 14, 2017

Considering the Saudis’ extended involvement and apparent losses in these conflicts – seen as attempts to curb Iranian influence – the decision to engage Iran in Lebanon may not be wise, according to Joshua Landis, head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and expert on Syria.
Landis believes the contest for military supremacy is already over.
“The Iranians have won the war for military strength in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. There can be little doubt about this,” he told Al Jazeera.

Last ISIS stronghold in Syria, Abu Kamal, totally liberated – Syrian Army
Nov 9, 2017

Abu Kamal’s liberation marks the ultimate end of Islamic State’s territorial ambitions, says Joshua Landis, head of the Middle East Studies Department at the University of Oklahoma.

Stars and Stripes
Final Islamic State defeat brings Syria’s war to key crossroads
Nov 9, 2017

“We’re at the end in the sense that there certainly is not going to be a rebel revolution,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, who has run an influential Syria commentary forum for much of a war now in its seventh year. “There’s a raggedy ending here, with bits and pieces left.”

Syrian army & allies capture last major ISIS held town in Syria
Nov 9, 2017

The liberation of Abu Kamal marks the ultimate end of the territorial ambitions of Islamic State, Joshua Landis, head of the Middle East Studies Department at the University of Oklahoma, told RT. He added that Islamic State has now lost all the major settlements it controlled while being pinned down by the Syrian and Iraqi armies in the border region between the two countries.

“The two armies met up and liberated this last major town [held by Islamic State],” Landis, adding that “this is the end of ISIS as a ‘state’.” He also pointed out that the terrorists are now being prevented from freely moving between Syrian and Iraqi territory, making the fight against them much easier.

Nov 8, 2017

BBC News
What will happen in Syria following IS defeats?
Nov 4, 2017

Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and professor at Oklahoma University, summed it up in simple terms. “Assad has won the Syria war militarily,” he told me. “He has defeated the original uprising or revolution. The rebel groups that remain have been pushed to the margins of Syria.

Syria’s Assad Risks New Conflict by Setting Sights on Kurdish Areas
Nov 1, 2017

The U.S.-led coalition, which has established several military bases in northern Syria, has been helping the SDF shore up control of the recently captured al-Omar oil field in Deir al-Zor province.
“Many people will say that will help them with (political) negotiations, but only if the United States remains with them, otherwise they are going to get clobbered,” said Joshua Landis, an expert on Syria and head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

“I think the Syrian government is going to push on some of these oil wells, in the same way as Iraq just pushed to get Kirkuk oil, and in the same way the Iraqi push is going to embolden the Syrian army,” he said.

Syrian opposition: We still believe in the revolution
Oct 31, 2017

Joshua Landis, a professor at Oklahoma University and editor of the Syria Comment blog, told Al Jazeera that although there have been several international initiatives aimed at bringing the war to an end, “Astana has turned into the real venue for Syria negotiations.
He added the talks in Afghanistan had eclipsed “Geneva in importance”, referring to the separate UN-sponsored negotiations held in the Swiss city.

Landis said Astana has practically replaced “years of fruitless grandstanding in Geneva” achieving tangible results on the ground in the form of “de-escalation zones”, which brought about some reprieve to the affected population.

‘Treating returning ISIS fighters as prisoners will make them go underground’
Oct 30, 2017

There has to be a reintegration program for returning ISIS fighters because if they are treated as terrorists, the chance of identifying and deprogramming them falls dramatically, says Joshua Landis, Center for Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma.
While ISIS continues to lose ground in Syria and Iraq, fears are growing in countries like the UK, that hundreds of its fighters may be heading home. A new report estimates more than 400 British Jihadis could already be back in Britain.

Digital Journal
Assad regime wins ground, but political fights ahead
Oct 30, 2017

Joshua Landis, a professor at the University of Oklahoma, predicted Damascus could also see ties improve with its neighbours.
“They need refugees to go home and trade to return,” he said.
During the conflict, Damascus has leaned heavily on allies Russia and Iran, which are likely to retain powerful influence over the regime, including during the potentially lucrative reconstruction process.

Could battle for Raqqa bring the end of ISIL in Syria?
Oct 15, 2017

So, will the battle for Raqqa mean the end of ISIL in Syria? Presenter: Sami Zeidan Guests: Sami Nader – director of the Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs Sonia Khush – Syria director for Save The Children Joshua Landis – director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma Al Jazeera News

It’s not independence, but Syria’s Kurds entrench self-rule
Oct 9, 2017

“The United States can limit Iran’s freedom of action in the region by becoming a major patron for the Kurds,” while trying to be “polite with Turkey,” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and professor at the University of Oklahoma, said recently to Syria Direct.
Syria’s PYD is ideologically affiliated with the Turkish Kurdish PKK, inspired by its leader Abdullah Ocalan

Aljazeera Inside Story
What are Turkey’s plans for Syria?
Oct 8, 2017

Turkey is launching a major military campaign in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib, just across its border.
It is backing the Free Syrian Army, which moved into the area on Saturday in a fight against the group that controls much of the area – Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham, an alliance of factions spearheaded by a former al-Qaeda affiliate.
Turkey wants to ensure security in the region where some of the most violent conflicts of the Syrian civil war have taken place.
During the talks in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, in May, Russia, Turkey, and Iran signed a deal to establish de-escalation zones in Syria, which included Idlib.
Ankara says it is not sending its forces in just yet, but providing logistical and intelligence support.
But could this be the beginning of more direct involvement in the war? And what will be the cost?
Presenter: Elizabeth Puranam
Metin Gurcan – columnist for Al-Monitor’s Turkey Pulse.
Pavel Felgenhauer – defence analyst and columnist with Novaya Gazeta.
Joshua Landis – professor at the department of International and Area Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

World View: Syria’s War Resumes in Full as ‘De-Escalation’ Agreements Unravel
Oct 6, 2017

Joshua Landis, from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at University of Oklahoma, is an expert on Syria. He was interviewed on the BBC on Thursday, where he gave a chilling analysis of what’s to come. Landis was asked why there’s been a spike in violence in Syria (my transcription):
In the south of Syria, near the Jordanian border, it has largely been controlled. But in the north of Syria, there is intense fighting around Deir az-Zour, major provincial capital, held by ISIS, both pro-US Kurdish forces and the Syrian army are trying to take that city, and trying to take the Euphrates, all the way down to the Iraqi border. And there’s a scramble to destroy ISIS as quickly as they can, and to grab as much territory. This territory has lots of oil wells in it. It’s very important for the future of both the Kurds and Syria. So this is causing a spike in the amount of deaths , because they’re trying to go as quickly as they can, they’re not being very discriminatory.
Then in the west of Syria, the northwest, near the Turkish border, there’s been a lot of fighting and a lot of bombing, by the Syrian air force and the Russian air force, of rebels, largely extremist Muslim rebels. and so this doesn’t entirely put paid to the de-escalation zones, but on the other hand it shows how delicate they are, and that the war is far from over.

Russia and Rojava autonomy
Oct 5, 2017

A war between Damascus and the SDF is in the interests of neither Damascus or Moscow, argues Professor Joshua Landis, a Syrian expert and head of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

“If Syria goes to war against the Kurds who have US backing, it could be ruinous to the government,” Landis told Rudaw English.

“The government’s situation is already facing many challenges,” he added. “Russia has been trying to encourage Damascus to talk to the Kurdish authorities about autonomy for over a year without any success. Russia looks on the Kurds as allies and hopes to head off a war between the two.”

‘ABD Ortadoğu’da hasar kontrolü yapıyor’
Oct 3, 2017

Oklahoma Üniversitesi Uluslararası ve Alan Çalışmaları bölümünden Joshua Landis, Filistin’de yayın yapan Al Quds gazetesi Washington Büro Şefi Said Arikat ve Erbil merkezli Rûdaw’ın Washington Büro Şefi Namo Abdulla bölgedeki krizin ABD’deki yansımalarını farklı açılardan aktardı.

Joshua Landis, Irak’a ilişkin ‘resmi’ Amerikan politikasını şöyle çerçeveliyor: “Bağdat’ta seçeneğimiz yok. Abadi’yi güçlü tutmamız lazım, Türkiye’yle ilişkimizi yok etmek istemiyoruz. Ortadoğu’da daha fazla değil daha az radikal değişiklik istiyoruz. Bu nedenle herkes kibar davranmalı.”

Why is an Islamic State affiliate quietly ruling unchallenged in a corner of Syria’s south?
Sep 28, 2017

“The Syrian government is insistent they’re going to take back every inch of Syria,” says Joshua Landis, head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, and founder of the influential blog Syria Comment.
“[This is] probably true for the south, along the Jordan border, and it is only a matter of time before Syria takes back those regions and destroys whatever Arab militias are remaining in that area.”

Joshua Landis: Syria on track ‘to go back to what we had before’
Sep 28, 2017

The vision of a whole, functioning Syria is a distant one, says Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies. “It’ll take years, many years.”
For now, a decentralized, ad hoc system of local warlords is holding some parts of Syria together. That system is not sustainable. “The warlords get to steal from the people in the form of taxation, but of course it’s not systematic taxation,” Landis tells Syria Direct’s Avery Edelman from Arezzo, Italy, where he is the Faculty-in-Residence at the University of Oklahoma’s Italian Study Center.
If the war is in fact winding down, Syrians will want to rebuild, and they will look to the state to do it. “People will want greater benefits from the central state, they’ll want all kinds of services, whether it’s schools, water, street cleaning, you name it,” says Landis

US-backed Syria militia ‘hit by Russian bombing’
Sep 25, 2017

Professor Joshua Landis, of the University of Oklahoma, said both groups were heading for oil-rich territories. “Both the Syrian army and the SDF are making a play for the Euphrates Valley, where a great deal of Syria’s oil is situated,” he told The New Arab.

“Most wells are just north of the Euphrates. It now seems that the SDF, with US backing, wants that oil.”Control over this oil gives the SDF a source of revenue for its semi-autonomous – and unrecognised – federal democratic polity in the Syrian Kurdish territories, and other territories they’ve captured from IS where they have established military councils, such as Manbij.”

Iraqi Minorities Face Dilemma In Kurdish Independence – Analysis
Sep 25, 2017

After gaining control of much of Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State jihadist movement (IS) and other Sunni extremists committed grave atrocities and international human rights violations against non-Sunni minorities, including perhaps the most extreme crime of all, the genocide that was perpetrated against Yazidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims. As IS is gradually defeated on the battlefield, another fear looms ahead for these persecuted groups.
This article was published at Syria Comment
Sep 13, 2017

L’Orient Le Jour
Axe iranien vs Israël en Syrie : des paroles… sans les actes
Sep 13, 2017

Le numéro 2 du Hezbollah, le cheikh Naïm Qassem, n’est pas entré dans la surenchère dimanche soir lors d’une interview télévisée, déclarant que l’attaque israélienne sur un dépôt d’armes du régime n’était pas une raison de déclencher une guerre contre Israël, et qu’il y avait d’autres moyens de répondre à cette attaque. Il a notamment précisé que la décision d’intervenir était entre les mains du régime et pas entre celles du Hezbollah. Si Damas a, immédiatement après l’attaque, accusé Israël d’en être l’auteur, il s’est toutefois retenu, cette fois-ci, de le menacer sérieusement de représailles. C’est d’ailleurs, là aussi, une constante depuis le désengagement sur le Golan, en 1974. « Damas n’a jamais riposté pour toutes les attaques précédentes perpétrées par Israël, pourquoi le ferait-il aujourd’hui ? » rappelle Joshua Landis, directeur du Centre d’études sur le Moyen-Orient à l’Université d’Oklahoma. « Depuis la guerre de 73, les Syriens ont toujours adopté grosso modo la même attitude qui consiste à riposter verbalement, à dire qu’ils se réservaient le choix de la date et de l’heure de la riposte », rappelle de son côté Karim Émile Bitar, directeur de recherche à l’IRIS et spécialiste du Moyen-Orient. Le régime et ses alliés ne semblent en effet pas prêts à entrer en confrontation directe avec l’armée israélienne. « S’ils ne ripostaient pas dans les années où ils étaient en position de force, ce n’est pas aujourd’hui, où ils sont véritablement affaiblis et dépendants de leurs alliés iranien et russe, qu’ils vont le faire », poursuit M. Bitar.

Concurrent Syrian Army and SDF offensives could destroy ISIS in Syria
Sep 7, 2017

“The SAA has broken through to its enclave, but the real fighting for the ISIS controlled part of the city of Deir has yet to begin,” Professor Joshua Landis, a Syrian expert and head of Middle East Studies at Oklahoma University, told Rudaw English.

“The SAA’s achievement is important,” Landis went on to clarify. “It means that the enclave that has been besieged for almost three years is now relieved. It is also a major sign that ISIS is on the way out and that the Syrian government under President Assad will conquer the remaining Euphrates Valley.”

No force yet poses major threat to ISIS in Deir ez-Zor: analyst
Sep 4, 2017

With ISIS essentially forced from its major strongholds in Iraq and losing its primary stronghold of Raqqa in Syria, the remnants of the group may well make its last stand in eastern Syria’s Deir ez-Zor region.

“I don’t believe ISIS will be able to hold out for another year,” Professor Joshua Landis, a frequently cited expert on Syria and the head of Middle East Studies at Oklahoma University, told Rudaw English. “However it is possible that ISIS leaders may be eyeing Deir ez-Zor as their last major redoubt.”

ABC Radio National
A US-Iran alliance?
Aug 27, 2017

The fight to liberate Sunni regions of Iraq held by Islamic State have brought together the US-backed Iraqi army and Iranian-backed Shia militias, solidifying a de-facto ‘alliance’ between the long-hostile nations.
Across the border in Syria, it is a very different picture, US special forces and their moderate rebel allies have clashed with Iran-backed militias.
How does the US navigate these competing priorities and what happens to the ‘alliance’ when the enemy is defeated?
GUESTS: Professor Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Professor at the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies.

Is Turkey about to Test Trump with New Syria Attack?
Aug 21, 2017

“Everybody is testing Trump, everybody is trying to figure out what his real policy is because nobody believes anything he says,” Joshua Landis, a prominent Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, told WhoWhatWhy. The US president is caught between contradictory goals and promises at home and abroad, Landis and others added, and rival powers are positioning to take advantage of this in order to gain leverage against him.

Aleppo to Mosul: The destruction of cities in Iraq and Syria
July 27, 2017

“The destruction of the Sunni cities of Iraq and Syria underlines the terrible price imposed on the Sunni revolt,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and head of the Middle East Studies department in the University of Oklahoma.

In both Iraq and Syria, disenfranchised Sunnis protested against their respective countries.

In Syria, where the Sunnis are in the majority, it sparked the regime’s infamous crackdown in 2011, resulting in the ongoing war. In Iraq, a general protest movement among Sunnis in 2013 gathered momentum only to be forcibly suppressed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s security forces.

Media Mourn End of CIA Killing Syrians and Strengthening Al Qaeda
Jul 27, 2017

Scholars like Joshua Landis, a leading academic expert on Syria with moderate, middle-of-the-road politics, also welcomed the end to the CIA program, which he uncontroversially noted “benefited spread of radicals like Al Qaeda and ISIS.”
Landis pointed to a largely forgotten 2012 New York Times report (10/14/12) that revealed that “most of the arms shipped” to Syrian rebels by US allies were “going to hard-line Islamic jihadists.” “Washington knew this by mid-2012. Took five more years to shut down flow,” commented Landis, who directs the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

The Tribune
US’ Afghanistan strategy
Jul 24, 2017

Trump’s decision was first reported last week by The Washington Post, but it is more than a month old and kept confidential presumably because of its sensitivity. Indeed, the decision signifies a parting of ways between the US and its regional allies, especially Israel and Saudi Arabia. More importantly, it “signals the death knell for Western efforts to roll back Iranian and Russian power in the Levant,” to quote Prof Joshua Landis who heads the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and is one of America’s highly regarded authorities on the Syrian question.
As Landis put it, “The cut-off of CIA funding for Syria’s rebels is the raggedy ending of America’s failed regime change policy in Syria and the region at large…

NATO Ally Turkey Strains Ties With The U. S., Germany, and the UK
Jul 23, 2017

“Erdogan has declared many times that he views the US arming of the YPG a hostile act by the United States. This is one more indication that he opposes US policy,” Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told The Globe Post.
Trump Ends Syrian Regime Change Campaign
July 21, 2017

The headline in the Washington Post said it all: “Trump ends covert CIA program to arm anti-Assad rebels in Syria, a move sought by Moscow.” The madness that has infected what passes for journalism today could not be more starkly dramatized: everything is seen through the distorting lens of Russophobia. It doesn’t matter that that the program had failed to achieve its ostensible goal, and that the US-vetted rebels had for the most part defected to al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, and ISIS. Atrocities committed by the “moderate” rebels go unmentioned. That real experts on the region like Joshua Landis hailed the move as a step toward a peaceful settlement is ignored. The only thing that matters is that, as one unnamed “current official” cited in the article puts it, “Putin won in Syria.”

Voice of America
Syrian Rebels Say Jihadists Likely Beneficiaries of US Halt to Arms Supply
July 20, 2017

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, agrees the move may well mark the end of the rebellion. “The cutoff of CIA funding for Syria’s rebels is the raggedy ending of America’s failed regime-change policy in Syria and the region at large,” he told VOA.

The Guardian
Donald Trump drops CIA programme in Syria ‘in bid to improve Russia ties’
Jul 19, 2017

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said: “It’s a victory for Assad, Iran and Putin, all of which carried the day. But it’s also a victory for America: in this case I do believe Trump is pursuing the correct policy.
“Trying to destroy Russia in Syria is a fool’s errand because Russia is helping to pursue al-Qaida and Isis there. Since when is destroying extremism a bad thing? Just because Russia is for it doesn’t automatically make it bad.”
Landis said that it had become clear that the rebels will not win, the US has no leverage over Assad – and a large percentage of the arms are falling into the hands of extremists.

Albawaba News
Analysis: What Does the Future Hold For Syria’s Kurds?
July 12, 2017

The question many analysts assessing Rojava’s prospects for meaningful autonomy invariably come to is the ability of the Syrian Kurds to defend and consolidate their territory.

“An autonomous Rojava seems quite probable if the US continues to arm and back its Kurdish allies in Syria,” said Professor Joshua Landis, the head of Middle East Studies at Oklahoma University.

“Much depends on the United States,” he told The New Arab. “The Syrian Kurds are plucky fighters who have made the most of their situation and won the hearts and minds of the West. All the same, they do not have an air force and are surrounded by powerful enemies. Should America’s support falter, the military balance of power would reverse itself quickly.”
Landis points out that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “has stated many times that he will not allow an autonomous Kurdish state to emerge along its southern border”.

“Assad has also told the Kurds of Syria to ‘forget’ about autonomy, not to mention independence,” Landis concluded.

Radio Free Europe
Interview: Its ‘Aura’ Dented By Lost Foothold, Islamic State Still Poses Threat
July 10, 2017

In an interview with RFE/RL, Joshua Landis, a professor of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Oklahoma and author of the widely read blog Syria Comment, talks about how the loss of Raqqa and Mosul might transform IS. But Landis says it would be folly to assume this is the end of the militant group.

Business Mirror
Putin’s endgame in Syria gains traction after deal with Trump
Jul 9, 2017

They also show how the situation on the ground has transformed over the last year. Syria’s second city, Aleppo, fell back under regime control and the US-led campaign to drive Islamic State (IS) from its self-declared caliphate advanced dramatically.
That has left the US with a decision to make on what to do once IS is defeated. It can wrestle with Iran, Russia and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for control of recaptured areas of Syria. Or it can declare mission accomplished, agree to oversee the security of zones near the borders with its core allies, Israel and Jordan, and leave most of Syria to Assad, said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

With a new banknote, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tells everyone he’s here to stay
Jul 3, 2017

Syria released a new banknote featuring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s portrait over the weekend, and there are already several theories as to what this might mean for the ongoing civil war between Assad’s government and domestic opposition forces.
Some experts, such as Joshua Landis, a Syria scholar from the University of Oklahoma, believe the introduction of Assad’s face on Syrian currency for the first time in his 17-year rule is a not-so-subtle assertion of his strength over the country.

La derrota del ISIS desata una carrera por sus feudos
Jul 1, 2017

La caída del califato suní fundado hace ahora tres años a caballo entre Irak y Siria se aproxima. Eso no significa que el ISIS vaya a desaparecer de la noche a la mañana, pero difícilmente esas siglas servirán ya para denominar a un Estado Islámico sin territorio ni súbditos.
“Mosul ha sido mucho más importante que Raqa para el ISIS, lo que explica que haya convertido su defensa [desde octubre de 2016] en la batalla central”, destaca el profesor estadounidense Joshua Landis, analista experto en Oriente Próximo. “Es improbable que el asedio de Raqa dure tanto tiempo. El Estado Islámico está agotado y ha perdido a sus mejores combatientes en el frente de Mosul”.

The New Yorker
Trump Doubles Down in Syria’s Intensifying Proxy War
Jun 28, 2017

“We’re lost,” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, told me. “We don’t know what we’re doing.”
For six years, the Obama Administration deliberately limited U.S. intervention in the multiple conflicts playing out on Syrian battlefields. It stayed on the sidelines of the bigger civil war between dissident militias and the Assad regime, providing small-scale arms and training to the few pro-Western rebels—an initiative that has since atrophied. U.S. intervention expanded with the rise of ISIS, in 2014, but again with a limited mandate: defeating the extremist movement. Thousands of air strikes and the hundreds of Special Forces soldiers on the ground avoided engagement with the forces of Assad or those of his allies, namely Russia and Iran.

Stars and Stripes
As Russia launches missiles into Syria, US faces strategic dilemma
Jun 23, 2017

“The U.S. must decide how much of east Syria it wants to protect for its proxies,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma. “The U.S. will be stuck defending its new territory for some time because the Kurds do not have an air force and cannot hope to defend their burgeoning state against the Syrian government and its allies without American muscle.”

What’s really going on in America’s confrontation with Russia in Syria
Jun 20, 2017

While this is a ratcheting up of US-Russia tensions over Syria, this is not likely to turn into a war, says Joshua Landis, head of the Middle Eastern Studies Center at the University of Oklahoma.
Key to the dispute is the fact that ISIL has seen its Syrian territory shrink from around 40% to 50% of the country to roughly 20% in recent months, Landis says. This is really a “negotiation,” he says, over which of the superpowers’ allies—for Russia, the government of Bashar al-Assad; for the US, the Syrian Kurds—will take crucial territory that ISIL is going to leave behind as its forces retreat from its would-be caliphate.

Syria war: Tensions between America and Russia escalate as countries clash over drones and airspace
Jun 20, 2017

The most recent war of words began when a US Navy fighter jet shot down a Syrian war plane without communicating with Russian forces about it ahead of time per normal procedure.

Russia, which has been an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, responded by saying that any US war planes in the vicinity of the incident would be treated as “targets”.

Russia to treat US jets in Syria as ‘targets’
As Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told The Independent the Syrian war plane was likely done bombing and the US “had to make a snap decision”.

Buzzfeed News
Infighting Is Plaguing The Anti-ISIS Coalition
Jun 5, 2017

The United States steadfastly resists taking sides in the disputes among its partners, but has been compelled to smooth things over for the sake of the anti-ISIS coalition.
“Both the deteriorating relations between Turkey and Germany and the internecine fighting among our allies in the Gulf make the fight against [ISIS] increasingly difficult,” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at Oklahoma University, said.

RT CrossTalk
Now, Manchester
May 24, 2017

Discussion on Manchester that include Joshua Landis, Director of Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

The enigma of Assad: How a painfully shy eye doctor turned into a murderous tyran
Apr 21, 2017

The inauguration was followed by a period of relative openness, known as the “Damascus Spring.” Some opposition parties were allowed, the press got a little bit freer, and hundreds of political prisoners were released. Liberal intellectuals founded discussion salons across the Syrian capital and put together political pamphlets and petitions for reform.
His inauguration was followed by a period of relative openness. It didnt last long.
But this openness didn’t last long. “Of course, it didn’t take more than a few weeks before people were demanding regime change because the regime was so corrupt,” says Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Middle East Studies Center and author of the Syria Comment blog. “It stunk. The whole thing stunk—so, any kind of critique had to lead to regime change.” Within months, Assad was warning (pdf, p. 5) that civil society groups criticizing the government were, consciously or unconsciously, helping “the country’s enemies” and, ominously, would be “dealt with.” A few months later, 10 opposition leaders were imprisoned.

The Intercept
Trump’s Abrupt Regime-Change Pivot Raises Concerns About a “Mad Max Syria” Should Assad Fall
Apr 17, 2017

“Once the policy people look at what the day after would be — they don’t see any options,” said Josh Landis, the director of the Center For Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “The two strongest militias in Syria are Al Qaeda and ISIS, which would undoubtedly profit and would move into Damascus, were the Assad regime to be destroyed.”
Landis said that any gains made by rebel groups would inevitably lead to sectarian violence against minorities, and would have dire humanitarian consequences for the 15 million people who currently live in Assad-controlled territory.

Syria’s divisions crystallize with latest evacuations
Apr 14, 2017

Playing on fears of al-Qaida rule, Assad’s government showed leniency to the country’s Christian, Shiite and Alawite minorities while bringing the weight of its military against majority Sunni areas — especially Sunni pockets in demographically mixed areas, such as along the Lebanese border, where Madaya and Zabadani lie, and along the Mediterranean coast.
“They of course wanted to beat the Sunni rebels into submission,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “This has had the effect of driving them out.”

ABC Radio National
Apr 13, 2017

What does last week’s US missile strike on a Syrian airbase mean for US policy in Syria?
It was in response to the Assad regimes alleged chemical weapons attack that killed 80 civilians but even so the Syrian civil war has claimed 400,000 people with millions more displaced which has created a tidal wave of refugees across the Middle East and Europe.
Joshua Landis is one of the world’s leading experts in Syria and he explains what happened and what might happen next.

The U.S. Intervened in Syria in 1949. Here’s What Happened
Apr 13, 2017

Part of the U.S. interest in Syria involved setting up a training mission to reshape the fledgling Syrian army and provide it with arms. Quwatli was eager to see this idea through, as the core of the military had been put together by the French and had previously shown themselves to be willing to fight against the nationalists. Many drawn to military service were also part of the Alawite minority, which was generally worse off socioeconomically than the land-owning merchant class of Sunni urban notables who dominated politics. “Quwatli thought the training mission would be the perfect pretext to purge the military of many of the officers recruited from the ‘minority communities’ by the French, officers whose loyalty he distrusted,” says Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “He hoped to use the American training mission as cover for this purge and to build up the morale and loyalty of the officer corps more generally.”

Verden kalder
Apr 12, 2017

En øget amerikansk indsats vil dog medføre betydelige risici, selv hvis der kun er tale om nålestiksoperationer. Nicholas Heras påpeger, at USA-støttede styrker – navnlig de såkaldte Syrian Democratic Forces – i høj grad har kunnet operere i det østlige Syrien, fordi Rusland lader dem gøre det: Deres kamp mod Islamisk Stat tjener også Moskvas interesser og gør det muligt for Assad at koncentrere sine tropper i landets vestlige del. Men hvis USA for alvor bliver en sten i skoen, kan russerne og regimet vælge at gå efter Washingtons allierede og spænde ben for indsatsen mod IS, som er Trumps hovedprioritet: »Fordi USAs strategi er så afhængig af samarbejde med lokale partnere – for at holde antallet af amerikanske tropper nede, så vi ikke behøver en besættelsesstyrke med titusindvis af soldater – vil Rusland og Assad kunne lægge et ekstremt pres på USAs kampagne mod Islamisk Stat, eller endda langsomt få den til at gå i stå, ved at angribe disse lokale partnere,« siger Heras. Tilbage står også spørgsmålet om, hvad det er for et Syrien, USA vil arbejde hen imod. »Vi har ikke nogen idé om, hvad Trump ønsker efter afslutningen på denne konflikt,« konstaterer Joshua Landis.

The Inquirer
Worldview: Trump did the right thing in striking Syria
Apr 9, 2017

The repeated Russian denials that Assad was responsible continue the pattern of lies about their actions from the invasion of Ukraine to the hack of the U.S. election. The United States has clear evidence that the attack was launched from Shayrat – U.S. radar spotted the Syrian aircraft that dropped the gas bombs. This is why the American strike has broad backing from U.S. allies around the world.
So Trump had to make clear to the Kremlin that the United States would not tolerate this brazen breach of the 2013 pact. “Trump has to read the Russians the riot act,” says Josh Landis, a noted Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma. “He has to get the Russians involved, to ask them what the hell happened.”

Apr 8, 2017

L’INTERVISTA Il Raiss potrebbe aver usato le armi chimiche perché vuole vincere il conflitto, perché il suo esercito è esausto e al posto dei soldati uccisi sono costretti ad arruolare i ragazzini Vuole finire in fretta
Joshua Landis Direttore del Centro per gli studi sul Medio Oriente
Landis: “A Trump interessa l’Isis non battere Assad”

The Guardian
Syria nerve agent attack: why it made sense to Assad
Apr 7, 2017

Joshua Landis, a long-time Syria observer and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said chemical weapons could be attractive to a leader running low on military alternatives.

“I think Assad and his generals want to win and have a depleted and exhausted army,” Joshua Landis said, when asked on Twitter if he thought the Syrian leader would have used chemical weapons.

A suspected chemical attack in Syria, grandpa’s nuclear secrets, Calais on edge again
Apr 4, 2017

A suspected poison gas attack in Syria leaves dozens dead. Also, a personal journey through the once-secret nuclear research facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Plus, the music of Venezuela’s La Vida Boheme

Around The Empire – Episode 12: The Battle For Raqqa And Future Of Syria Feat. Joshua Landis
Apr 3, 2017

On this episode of Around The Empire, Dan and Joanne interview Syria expert Professor Joshua Landis on the battle for the Syrian city of Raqqa and the various competing forces in the Syrian Civil War.
Professor Landis discusses the difficulty the United States has in deciding who to work with once ISIS is driven out of its claimed capital of Raqqa. While, in theory, the Assad government is the only government recognized under international law, it appears unlikely that the U.S. will assist that government in reasserting jurisdiction.

Slag om siste IS-PDF
Mar 31, 2017

Professor Landis, som leder senteret for Midtøsten-studier ved universitetet i Oklahoma, har selv vokst opp i SaudiArabia og Libanon, og bodde også fire år i Syria. Han var i Syria under opprøret i Hama i 1982, da president Hafez Assad, faren til dagens president Bashar Assad, slo ned på et tidligere islamistisk opprør i Hama, der opp til 20.000 mennesker ble drept.
Landis er sterkt kritisk til det han kaller en inkonsekvent amerikansk utenrikspolitikk vis-avis Iran, som i dag dominerer Syria, Irak, Libanon og Jemen.

Mar 31, 2017

Professor Landis tror derimot at borgerkrigen i Syria går inn i sin siste fase. Men han er ikke optimistisk av den grunn.

The geopolitical significance of the Russian deployment to Afrin
Mar 29, 2017

“Russian-Turkish relations are extremely strained right now,” noted Syria analyst Professor Joshua Landis told Rudaw English. “Turkey has been helping al-Qaeda get arms. Russia and Assad blame Turkey for the recent Hama offensive as well as the Ghoutta/Joubar offensive in Damascus.”

“Russia’s move to help the Kurds build military capacity is an escalation meant to punish Turkey for refusing to stop its support to Tahrir al-Sham and anti-Assad militias,” he concluded.

Afrin would be an ideal launchpad for any future military campaign against militants, like the al-Qaeda-affiliated Tahrir al-Sham, in the nearby Idlib province.

The algemeiner
Are Syrian Kurds the Key to Defeating ISIS?
Mar 27, 2017

“The US and Israel could win Rojava [the Kurdish region of Syria] as a loyal Western satellite if they are willing to guarantee its sovereignty and sign a defense agreement,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Rojava is also commonly known as Western Kurdistan or Syrian Kurdistan.

US: Team Up with Kurds Not Turkey to Destroy Islamic State
By Joshua Landis
Mar 18, 2017

The problem with letting the Turks hold Raqqa and presumably the entire Euphrates Valley that is now held by ISIS is that the Turks are endeavoring to hem in the Kurds. To do this, Turkey hopes to establish its Arab proxies in a new “Euphrates state” in eastern Syria. This would partition Syria into three states: a western Asad-ruled state; an eastern Turkish and Sunni Arab rebel-ruled state, and a northern Kurdish state.

BBC News
Syria conflict: Unravelling the puzzle
Mar 16, 2017

Joshua Landis, director of the Centre for Middle Eastern Politics at Oklahoma University and a close watcher of Syria, says it will be very difficult for Washington to allay Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan’s fears about the Kurds.
“President Erdogan,” Prof Landis told me, “is convinced that if ‘Rojava’ [the term Kurds use to refer to western or Syrian Kurdistan, and the name of a new federal region they want to create] comes into being, Turkey’s Kurds will have a rear base from which to make a drive for their own independence.
“Mr Erdogan,” he adds, “fears losing eastern Anatolia.”

After six years, Assad now secure but his country carved up as war thunders on
Mar 15, 2017

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said Assad’s continued rule was increasingly – if tacitly – accepted by the forces that have called for his downfall.

But Landis and others conclude that even if the West and Syria’s neighbors accepted Assad’s partial reoccupation of the country, it would not mean the international community would embrace him, much less help pay for Syria’s reconstruction.
“The entire western world hates Assad and they’re going to squeeze him economically,” Landis said. “He’s not going to be reintegrated, he’s going to be like Iraq used to be under Saddam Hussein.”

Danish Newsstory
Efter seks års krig ligner Assads sejr det eneste realistiske scenario for Syrien
Mar 14, 2017

Men fra sin udsigtspost som leder af centeret for mellemøststudier ved universitetet i Oklahoma er Syrien-eksperten professor Joshua Landis ikke i tvivl om, hvad de tre generaler taler om:
”Siden Aleppo faldt i december, er drømmen om at tilintetgøre Bashar al-Assad, smadre hans regime og opbygge et nyt Syrien forbi. Den sidste rest af revolutionen er i dag domineret af salafisterne i de ekstremistiske sunni-grupper. Det eneste realistiske projekt, der er tilbage i Syrien, er Assads projekt: at generobre hele Syrien. Og russerne står bag ham,” siger Joshua Landis.

La guerra de Trump en Siria
Mar 10, 2017

“El EI está al borde de derrumbarse”, opina Landis en una entrevista telefónica. “Últimamente, el Ejército de Assad, al que no le quedan muchas tropas adicionales, ha avanzado por el norte de Siria hacia el Éufrates tomando docenas de aldeas controladas por el ISIS sin apenas resistencia, lo que sugiere que tienen serios problemas”, dice utilizando otro de los acrónimos del Estado Islámico.

Mar 7, 2017

Aljazeeraa Arabic- Beyond the News Show
Mar 7, 2017

NPR Los Angeles SCPR- “AirTalk” hosted by Larry Mantle show with Jessica AShou
Mar 7, 2017

BBC News Hour
Mar 7, 2017

Aljazeera English-new TV
Mar 6, 2017

The Hill
How will history judge Obama’s actions in Syria?
Feb 21, 2017

According to Josh Landis, one of the foremost Syria analysts in the U.S., “There is no way that the United States was going to solve the Syria Problem in any constructive way – and just keeping us out of it to the extent he [Obama] did was a boon.”

Al Bab: la nueva madre de todas las batallas en Siria
Feb 19, 2017

El pasado viernes, el Estado Mayor de las Fuerzas Armadas turcas anunciaba que habían roto la resistencia del ISIS y que “la operación [Escudo del Éufrates] había conseguido controlar casi por completo Al Bab”. Sin embargo, el Observatorio Sirio de Derechos Humanos, con sede en Londres, lo desmentía asegurando que el ISIS aún controla el 90% de la localidad y que los bombardeos turcos habían provocado la muerte de 45 civiles en dos días (según las estimaciones turcas, 10.000 civiles aún residen en Al Bab y el grupo yihadista los utiliza como escudos humanos). “El ISIS se ha mostrado un duro contendiente al que llevará mucho tiempo derrotar. Vencerlo no va a salir gratis, habrá que sacrificar soldados para ello y también morirán civiles”, sostiene Joshua Landis, experto en Siria y profesor en la Universidad de Oklahoma.

L’Orient le Jour
Pour l’heure, Trump est sur la même ligne qu’Obama sur la Syrie
Feb 18, 2017

Selon la presse américaine, des militaires pourraient ainsi être appelés en renfort aux côtés des forces qui prendront part à l’assaut contre la capitale autoproclamée de l’EI, Raqqa. « Je pense que l’administration Trump songe à envoyer davantage de soldats, mais ce serait une action désastreuse », estime Joshua Landis, directeur du Center for Middle East Studies et professeur à l’Université de l’Oklahoma. Pour l’heure, quelque 500 soldats des forces spéciales américaines sont déployés en Syrie, essentiellement auprès des Forces démocratiques syriennes (FDS), une coalition arabo-kurde. Ces dernières ont lancé le 5 novembre dernier une opération militaire confirmée par Washington et baptisée « Colère de l’Euphrate », dans le but d’isoler Raqqa. Moscou, Téhéran, mais, bien plus encore, Ankara ont été écartés de l’opération, arrivée à sa troisième phase, à laquelle participent les Kurdes du Parti de l’union démocratique (PYD) – branche syrienne du Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK) –, considéré par la Turquie comme un groupe terroriste.

Did Donald Trump inherit ‘a mess’ from Barack Obama?
Feb 17, 2017

We found broad agreement that certain areas of the world are more unstable today than when Obama took office. The biggest one is probably the Middle East.
“Obama presided over the period of the Arab Spring, in which many Middle Eastern states witnessed large-scale uprisings and the complete failure of several states,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
“In some places such as Libya, Syria and Yemen, Obama’s diplomacy and military actions made the situation worse,” he added. “More aggressive action would probably have backfired, but liberal interventionism did not help.”
Assad agrees with Trump on threat of Syrian refugees, won’t comment on ban
Feb 10, 2017

The potential threat extends beyond ISIS. Members of rebel groups that have allied with the coalition against ISIS and Assad may have radical beliefs too. Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said there are more than 2,000 rebel groups in Syria with different goals, motives, and methods.
“[Assad] is obviously killing a lot of these people because he thinks they’re dangerous,” said Landis, who writes a daily newsletter on Syrian politics called Syria Comment. “He views them as terrorists. America sees them as freedom fighters, but whether America would want these freedom fighters in our country is a different question.”

The Washington Times
Turkish, Syrian moves could transform fight against Islamic State
Feb 8, 2017

“The U.S. has always had three offers to take Raqqa, [and] it does not like any of them,” said Joshua Landis, who heads the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, regarding cooperation with Turkish, Syrian or Kurdish forces.

Red Dirt Report
Expert says the US is playing with fire in the Middle East
Feb 6, 2017

As the situation in Syria grows ever more complex, Joshua Landis, head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma explained the intricacies Syrian situation to a crowded house at the Tyner Cornbread and Beans on Feb. 3
Landis said the balance of power changed from Sunni to Shi’a (60 percent of the Iraqi population) when the US invaded Iraq in 2003, which led to a civil war that is still in process. At the opposite, the Sunni represented 70 percent of the Syrian population before the civil war and should have won against Assad, but it didn’t happen.
“The Shi’a had better friends,” Landis said, adding Shi’a are now dominant in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon (through Hezbollah).
Landis said Iran is financing and arming the Hezbollah to use them as a counter power against Israel and therefore dissuade Israel to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities. He added it is why Syria is important for Iran, because it allows the transit of weapons from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon, without being intercepted by Americans.

The Morning Call
In Allentown’s Syrian community, a divide over Trump’s travel ban
Jan 30, 2017

Syrian Christians’ distrust of Muslims goes back a long way, said Joshua Landis, an expert on the Middle East at the University of Oklahoma. Many came to Syria after fleeing persecution in Turkey and found relative safety under the dictatorial rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Under his regime, Muslims and Christians had managed to coexist until the 2011 uprisings that led to civil war.

“The Christian community in Syria [broadly speaking] has been supportive of Assad because they fear Islamic fundamentalists taking over the country,” he said. And they see the opposition forces being dominated by Islamic extremists.
The country’s disastrous civil war has widened the rift between Syria’s Christian and Muslim communities, Landis said.

The Norman Transcript
Joshua Landis to speak at Tyner Cornbread and Beans
Jan 30, 2017

Joshua Landis, Ph.D. will speak on “US Foreign Policy toward ISIS and the Middle East Crisis: Where is it headed?” at noon at the Democratic Tyner Cornbread and Beans lunch, West Wind Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 1309 West Boyd in Norman, Friday, Feb. 3. Cafeteria style cornbread and beans service is available at 11:30 a.m.

Landis is Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Professor at the University of Oklahoma. He writes “,” a daily newsletter on Syrian politics that attracts some 100,000 page-reads a month. Dr. Landis publishes frequently in policy journals such as Foreign Policy and Foreign Affairs. He speaks regularly at think tanks in Washington and is a frequent analyst on TV, radio, and in print. He has appeared recently on the PBS News Hour, the Charlie Rose Show, and Front Line. He is a regular on NPR and the BBC.

Al Jazeera English
Inside Story – What triggered the infighting among Syrian rebels?
Jan 29, 2017

Presenter: Hashem Ahelbarra

Guests: Louay Safi, Syrian National Council former spokesman.

Can Kasapoglu, Defence analyst, Center for Economic and Foreign Policy Studies in Turkey.

Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma.

Syria talks may signal shift in conflict dynamics
Jan 23, 2017

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said Assad is unlikely to depart from this policy at Astana.
“By now, it has become clear that Assad cannot offer major political reform without jeopardizing his regime security,” he said.

With little room to maneuver, Syria’s rebels head for talks
Jan 20, 2017

Syrian rebels are sending more than a dozen representatives next week to the capital of Kazakhstan for talks with government representatives, the first such negotiations between the two sides in a year.
But the loss of Aleppo, the election of Donald Trump and the pivot of Turkey toward Russia has left the opposition with very little room to maneuver.
Without much foreign support and with Syria’s wider rebellion in crisis, the opposition will be negotiating for scraps, having been forced to take part in a Russia-led initiative that won’t challenge President Bashar Assad’s hold on power.
“They have no choice. With Trump’s win, any lingering hope to push the West into increasing its rebel support is lost,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Turkish TV
Jan 20, 2017

TRT World
Joshua Landis on why hard line rebel groups won’t join the Astana talks on Syria
Jan 19, 2017

Russian TV-RTV
Jan 19, 2017

Barack Obama Was a Foreign-Policy Failure
Jan 18, 2017

Obama and his team misread and mishandled the Arab Spring. As Joshua Landis explains in a remarkable, must-read interview, the U.S. response to these events — and especially Syria — was ill-conceived from the very start. In particular, Obama and his team mistakenly viewed the Arab Spring as a large-scale, grass-roots uprising clamoring for liberal democracy and embraced it too quickly. They also underestimated the ability of violent extremists to exploit power vacuums in failed states and the resilience of authoritarian regimes in places like Syria or Egypt. These misunderstandings led to Obama’s disastrous intervention in Libya, his inept diplomatic interference in Yemen, and the premature demand that “Assad must go” in Syria.

US establishment ‘sticking it to Trump’ because he seeks cooperation with Russia
Jan 9, 2017

Washington is undertaking a demonizing campaign against Russia right now, but in reality, it is less about Russia than it is about Donald Trump, says Joshua Landis from the Center for Middle East Studies.

La legión extranjera que lucha con El Asad
Jan 7, 2017

Mientras que la mayoría de los expertos coinciden en el papel clave que desempeñan las milicias chiíes en el campo de batalla sirio, el norteamericano Joshua Landis relativiza su impacto. “El ratio de muertos es esclarecedor. El ejército sirio ha perdido más de 100.000 hombres, mientras que Hezbolá e Irán unos 1.000 cada uno. Queda claro que quien encaja las pérdidas en el campo de batalla son los soldados y los paramilitares sirios”. Para Landis, la potencia chií sigue siendo un actor clave en el respaldo de El Asad, cuyo refuerzo le ha permitido anotarse un tanto en la lucha regional contra el archienemigo suní Arabia Saudí. Una victoria que no solo se debe a la eficiencia de las milicias chiíes en Siria, sino que se extiende a los rápidos avances de éstas en Irak en la lucha contra el ISIS: “Al fin y al cabo, las milicias chiíes apadrinadas por Irán cuentan con el apoyo de las dos principales potencias aéreas mundiales: la estadounidense en Iraq, y la rusa en Siria”.

AL-Hurra TV
Jan 5, 2017

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