Landis in the News 2018


Ahval
Turkey’s Syria threat does the trick-expert
Dec 20, 2018

“President Trump was always the weakest link in American position in north Syria,” said Landis, director of the Middle East Studies program at the University of Oklahoma. “The national security teams under Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton have taken a much more aggressive stance in Syria, which has switched from being purely anti-ISIS mission to a rollback Iran position.”

Euronews
Fırat’ın doğusunda kartlar yeniden dağıtılıyor
Dec 14, 2018

Oklahoma Üniversitesi’nden Suriye uzmanı Prof. Joshua Landis, ABD’nin Türkiye ile bir çatışma istemediğini, keza Washington’un Orta Doğu’daki politikaları açısından Türkiye’nin askeri ve siyasi olarak kilit önemde olduğunu vurguluyor.

Buzz Feed News
Now Academics Studying ISIS Are Feeling The Heat Of An Internet Crackdown
Dec 8, 2018

Joshua Landis, an expert on Syrian politics at the University of Oklahoma, said that the attempt to restrict access to Zelin’s site is particularly worrisome because it shows officials still can’t tell the good guys from the bad. He notes that the most dangerous corners of the internet remain unmonitored, while Jihadology, Zelin’s blog, is easily found.

RT
Yemen on the brink
Dec 5, 2018

Yemen and the politics of denial and deceit. The Trump administration’s continued support of the Saudi-led war is morally indefensible and strategically counter-productive. Blaming Iran for the humanitarian crisis in Yemen only ensures more suffering. It is time to end this senseless conflict.
CrossTalking with Joshua Landis and Giorgio Cafiero.

France 24
Joshua Landis on Syria truce attempts
Nov 29, 2018

Joshua Landis Director: Center for Middle East Studies and Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma offers insight into the latest truce attempts.

BBC World News
Nov 26, 2018

Around The Empire
Ep 76 Istanbul Summit: Europe Joins Astana Process feat Joshua Landis
Nov 19, 2018

Middle East expert Joshua Landis returns to the show to discuss the recent summit in Istanbul, Europe’s move to join the Astana process, the war in Syria, the Khashoggi Affair and the forces aligning against the current US foreign policy in the MidEast.

Ahval
Khashoggi and Gülen cases rocking Washington-Ankara ties – Jerusalem Post
Nov 18, 2018

The Jerusalem Post concluded by quoting Joshua Landis, an academic and expert on Syria, who maintains leveraging the Khashoggi killing regarding U.Sç policy in eastern Syria is plausible.
“Turkey wants one thing from US: Stop arming Kurds. By pressuring MbS, Turkey shows Trump that US Mid East policy is vulnerable,’’ Landis said.

Palladium
How Blindness On Syria Reveals Cracks In Media Epistemology
Nov 14, 2018

The PR battle had decisively turned, and the actual battle was turning decisively, too. Militarily, most rebel gains had been met with worse reverses. Rebel forces near Damascus had been encircled, as key neighborhoods made separate truces with the government. Rebels were quickly swept from the Qalamoun region. Homs, the former “capital of the rebellion,” was almost completely taken by government forces, and the Aleppo front was in total stalemate. Iranian and Russian support for Assad was only increasing, and Hezbollah’s forces were having decisive impacts on the battlefield around Damascus. Overwhelming popular support for the rebellion had failed to materialize: the army remained loyal (something Joshua Landis correctly understood in 2012), and large numbers of urban Sunnis continued to support the Assad government, or at least refused to support the rebellion. The commentariat’s projections of imminent rebel victory continually failed to obtain in large part because they failed to account for the support that Assad’s allies and domestic base were willing and able to give.

Ahval
From Manbij to Idlib: Turkey’s deal-making in Syria
Nov 8, 2018

Professor Joshua Landis agreed that Turkey was a major player in northern Syria today, but pointed to the unstable nature of the Idlib deal.
“Both Assad and the Russians insist it is a temporary deal that must lead to the disarming and apprehension of the jihadists as well as the restoration of Syrian sovereignty,” Landis said.
European powers have recently backed Ankara in calling for a permanent ceasefire in Idlib.
“They are both worried about further refugee flows into Europe and even more worried that the Idlib jihadists could be driven into Anatolia and perhaps into Europe as well,” he said. “They would prefer them to remain in Idlib, which is exactly what Syria and Russia insist cannot happen.”
Landis said the Manbij deal was “dependent on America’s military might”.

The Washington Post
Lawmakers raise alarm about ISIS attacks against Syria’s Druze population
Nov 8, 2018

“The refusal of Washington to cooperate or coordinate with the Assad regime or Russia in the battle against ISIS has clearly left a big logistical hole through which ISIS is able to maneuver,” said Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma.

Kurdistan 24
Syrian Kurds says US not pleased with Turkish cross-border shelling
Nov 3, 2018

According to Joshua Landis, head of the Middle East program at the University of Oklahoma, the US had previously prevented Russian and pro-Iranian forces from attacking US-protected forces in the Tanf enclave, and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the East of Euphrates.

“The US will need to prevent Turkish cross-border attacks as well. If it does not, Turkey will escalate quickly,” he said. “The [Bashar al-Assad] government and Iran will also dial up the pressure on the American enclave.”

Moreover, Landis noted Iran and Turkey are all opposed to an American presence in the northeast of Syria.

Preston Business Review
Islamic State revival? ‘Decimated’ terror group ambushes US-backed forces in Syria (VIDEO)
Nov 1, 2018

Fighting between competing factions in Syria has given the nearly-vanquished terrorist group some breathing room to “play back and forth,” Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told RT. He attributed Islamic State’s ability to maintain a foothold in Syria to the chaotic nature of the conflict. “Every surrounding neighbor of Syria – and including the Syrian government – have had other enemies to fight, and other concerns.”

RT
Islamic State revival? ‘Decimated’ terror group ambushes US-backed forces in Syria (VIDEO)
Oct 31, 2018

Fighting between competing factions in Syria has given the nearly-vanquished terrorist group some breathing room to “play back and forth,” Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told RT. He attributed Islamic State’s ability to maintain a foothold in Syria to the chaotic nature of the conflict. “Every surrounding neighbor of Syria – and including the Syrian government – have had other enemies to fight, and other concerns.”

Milliyet
İstanbul zirvesi
Oct 31, 2018

ABD’deki Ortadoğu Araştırmaları Merkezi Başkanı Joshua Landis’e göre, Türkiye’nin Avrupa’yı katmak istemesi için bir sebep daha var. “Erdoğan aynı zamanda Rusya’yı Fransa ve Almanya ile dengelemek istiyor. Özellikle de Rusya’nın Esad’la birlikte İdlib’e saldırma ihtimaline karşı” diyor.

The Iranian
Germany And France Just Broke The US Boycott Of Syria
Oct 29,2018

There weren’t exactly any breakthroughs at the four-way summit involving France, Germany, Russia, and host Turkey in Istanbul on Saturday, but the event itself was a significant victory for one side in terms of optics.

Says Syria expert Joshua Landis: “The real importance of France and Germany going to Turkey to meet Putin and Erdogan is that they are effectively hiving off from the US by joining the Astana process.” Ultimately, according Professor Landis:

They are breaking the boycott of Syria, while preserving the “need for elections” talking point.

BBC Newshour
Will Istanbul’s Syria conference be any different?
Oct 27, 2018

President Erdogan is hosting a summit with Russian, French and German leaders to discuss the war in Syria. Neither the US or the UN are involved. Joshua Landis is Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Alarabiya
Diplomatic Avenue: Syria expert Joshua Landis on De Mistura’s failed efforts
Oct 27, 2018

Al Arabiya’s New York Bureau Chief Talal al-Haj speaks to Joshua Landis, an American academic who specializes in the Middle East and is an expert on Syria.
He is the head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, and since 2004, he has published the blog Syria Comment.
The outgoing UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, told the Security Council on Friday that Damascus rejects the composition of a committee proposed by the world body to draw up a new constitution. Landis comments on this.

EFE
El “caso Khashoggi”, un mero traspiés en la relación entre EE.UU. y A.Saudí
Oct 21, 2018
Desde entones, apunta el director del Centro de Oriente Medio de la Universidad de Oklahoma, Joshua M. Landis, “EEUU aprendió que el que domina el petróleo, domina el mundo” y, por eso, luchó para controlar el golfo Pérsico, donde se encuentran algunas de las mayores reservas de hidrocarburos del planeta.

World Views October 20 Gleibermann FINAL.mp3
From Jacque Braun (Univ. of Oklahoma)
Oct 20, 2018

Foreign Policy
Norwegian Diplomat Tops U.N. Shortlist For Syria Envoy
Oct 19, 2018

“The U.N. has got its hands tied, because Russia and Iran are determined to keep Assad in power, and the U.S. is determined to frustrate this,” said Joshua Landis, the head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.“How does some U.N. guy waltz into the middle of all this and try to put the pieces back together?”

TRT World Now
One Year Since Raqqa Recovered From Daesh
Oct 18, 2018

The director for the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, Joshua Landis talks about once Daesh ruled Raqqa’s anniversary of recovery.

VOA
US Says Committed to Syria, Iraq Beyond Anti-IS Efforts
Oct 17, 2018

Some analysts say it may take a long time for stabilization efforts to help local communities in areas formerly held by IS fully recover.
“Raqqa has not seen much rebuilding, although some schools have been cleared, electricity restored and areas successfully de-bombed,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
“The U.S. has always drawn a distinction between stabilization and rebuilding, although it may be a difference with little real distinction, because so long as lives are not rebuilt in Raqqa, the likelihood of further violence remains,” Landis said.

The Washington Post
Saudi Arabia transfers $100 million to U.S. amid crisis over Khashoggi
Oct 17, 2018

McGurk, the State Department envoy, arrived in Saudi Arabia on Friday to discuss how the $100 million in stabilization money would be spent, said a State Department official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversations.
The official said the timing was a coincidence and that transferring the $100 million “has multiple steps, all of which clicked through over the past two months.”
Middle East experts said the timing of the transfer probably sent a clear message to the Trump administration.
“In all probability, the Saudis want Trump to know that his cooperation in covering for the Khashoggi affair is important to the Saudi monarch,” said Joshua Landis, a professor at the University of Oklahoma. “Much of its financial promises to the U.S. will be contingent on this cooperation.”

Corriere Della Sera
La Siria dopo la guerra, chi pagherà per la ricostruzione?
Oct 17, 2018

Più possibilità vengono invece dal fronte europeo. La UE applica dal 2012 sanzioni restrittive sulle attività economiche col regime e ribadisce la contrarietà a sostenere qualunque ricostruzione senza un effettivo processo politico. Ma la realtà sul campo sembra andare in una direzione diversa dai proclami di Bruxelles. «UE e sanzioni non hanno bloccato i singoli stati membri – conferma Ahmed – da mesi vediamo i loro rappresentanti sfilare a Damasco in cerca di contatti per il futuro business della ricostruzione». E ultimamente è la logica stessa delle sanzioni che è diventata oggetto di critiche anche dall’interno. «La Siria rappresenta per l’Europa un vero dilemma – sostiene Joshua Landis, professore dell’Università dell’Oklahoma e considerato uno dei massimi esperti di Siria – da una parte è comprensibile la volontà di mantenere un regime internazionale basato sul rispetto dei diritti umani ma dall’altra non si può semplicemente voltare le spalle ai siriani. Perpetuare le sanzioni danneggerebbe molto più la popolazione che il regime». I primi segnali di una distensione da parte europea cominciano infatti a trapelare. A settembre la Turchia, col beneplacito di Mosca, ha invitato Francia e Germania a partecipare a una conferenza sulla Siria entro la fine di quest’anno. E altri paesi potrebbero seguire.

Kurdistan 24
SDC says Syrian FM statement ‘not conducive to dialogue’
Oct 16, 2018

While the Kurdish-led SDC and the US-backed SDF want a decentralized Syria and for Damascus to recognize the autonomous administration in North and East of Syria, Damascus still prefers a centralized regime.
“[President Bashar] al-Assad needs the Kurds to rule the north, but I doubt he is serious about any real form of autonomy that will satisfy Kurdish demands. He believes in a centralized Syria,” Joshua Landis, who heads the Middle East program at the University of Oklahoma, told Kurdistan 24.
“He may be willing to allow Kurds to keep more of the wealth of the region but real cultural or regional autonomy comparable to Iraq? I doubt it. Baathism, Arabism, and his history are all against it,” he concluded.

RT
Trump, Netanyahu share ‘brotherhood’ in opposition to Palestinians as Israeli crackdown intensifies
Oct 15, 2018

They’ve really “aligned themselves very closely,” Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle-East studies at the University of Oklahoma, told RT.
Israel has resorted to using live ammunition to disperse the demonstrations, and has even called in airstrikes in retaliation against attempts by Palestinians to breach Israel’s border fence. Tel Aviv has also instituted economic punishments, announcing earlier this month that it would restrict waters used by Palestinian fishermen by 33 percent.
According to Landis, the Trump administration has been a boon for Israel. During the Obama years, there was “great tension” between Washington and Tel Aviv, even though they were “aligned in terms of their foreign policy.”

The Washington Times
Journalist’s disappearance creates diplomatic crisis: ‘The Saudis have a lot of explaining to do’
Oct 10, 2018

We accuse the Iranians of exporting terrorism,” said longtime regional analyst Joshua Landis, who heads the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “Well, this looks an awful lot like the Saudis are exporting terrorism, and that puts a bone in the craw of the Trump administration’s whole narrative that it’s better to be friends with Saudi Arabia than Iran.”
The incident is likely to cool even further the frosty relations between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, battered by Ankara’s decision to side with Qatar in a diplomatic feud with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described Mr. Khashoggi as a “personal friend” and has issued increasingly harsh public statements demanding that the Saudis clarify what happened to him.

The Conservative Edge Show #29: A Retrospective on Iraq
Oct 2, 2018

The Conservative Edge deals with issues “Domestic and International” that affect the lives of Americans, their understanding of government and society, education of their children, and their belief systems. The show covers ideas on conservatism, economics, investments, and constitutionally protected freedoms.
Substance is our Hallmark!

Radio War Nerd
Radio War Nerd EP #150 — Idlib & the Syria Endgame, with Joshua Landis
Sep 27, 2018

NewsStatesmanAmerica
In Idlib, a father’s dreams hang on the Turkey-Russia deal
Sep 27, 2018

Joshua Landis, a Syria expert, said: “It certainly delays an offensive and makes a final political solution just a little more likely.” However, he inserts a caveat that the chances of a military assault on Idlib are still high.

“Assad has stated many times that he intends to retake all Syrian land,” he said. “It is unlikely that Assad will accept a permanent rebel enclave in Idlib.”

MilitaryTimes
The White House has revealed massive mission creep in Syria. Here’s why.
Sept 26, 2018

“The argument that ISIS is going to come back if America leaves Syria seems spurious to me,” Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said.
“ISIS has never spread in a country where there’s a strong state,” Landis said.
Now, ISIS has already shifted back to a grass-roots insurgency, similar to the group’s previous iteration that was known as al-Qaida in Iraq.

France 24 TV News Hour
Sept 23, 2018

Background Briefing
Russia is Giving Israel a Free Hand in Syria to Go After Iranian Targets
September 18, 2018

Russia is Giving Israel a Free Hand in Syria to Go After Iranian Targets – Joshua Landis

Russian TV Interview-newshour
Sept 17, 2018

BBC
Russia and Turkey to create buffer zone in Idlib
Sept 17, 2018

The demilitarised zone will separate government forces and rebel fighters. It would be patrolled by soldiers from both Russia and Turkey. Joshua Landis, the head of the Center For Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma says the agreement is important.

The Inquirer
Will anyone save Syrians in Idlib from possible massacre by Putin, Assad? | Trudy Rubin
Sept 14, 2018

“The United States, the Gulf states, and Europe encouraged a lot of Syrian rebels to become involved,” says noted Syria expert Joshua Landis, “and now they don’t want to take responsibility. Everyone is trying to shed crocodile tears, but we’re all complicit.”

DW
Idlib’s civilians in survival mode for Syrian assault
Sept 9, 2018

“Russia and Syria have demanded that Idlib’s population surrender and go through the sort of reconciliation process that [the province of] Daraa has gone through. HTS has refused all requests and said that it will cut the heads of any traitors who negotiate with the Syrian regime,” Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told DW.

Ahval
Turkey and the Idlib conundrum
Sep 8, 2018

In Idlib, HTS has been the predominant group since it defeated the Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sham group in July 2017. Essentially HTS was previously the al-Qaeda offshoot Jabhat al-Nusra, a group so notorious that U.S.-Russian brokered ceasefires in Syria two years ago explicitly excluded that militant group alongside Islamic State.
“The world is looking to Turkey to save the province from a terrible humanitarian crisis,” Professor Joshua Landis, a noted Syria expert and the Director of the Middle East Studies Department at the University of Oklahoma, told Ahval News.
“Turkey will need to come up with a workable plan for dissolving or displacing the militant Islamist militias such as HTS,” Landis noted.

CrossTalk RTV
Trumpian trajectory
Sep 5, 2018

From Syria to the European Union, from Iran to Turkey and North Korea – what kind of world order is the Trump administration striving to create? Is there a method to all of this ‘madness’? Clearly the old world order is under threat and is intensifying. What will replace it?
CrossTalking with Joshua Landis, Abdel Atwan, and Mark Almond

CNN
Trump warns Syria, Russia, Iran against attack on rebel stronghold
Sep 4, 2018

Turkey, which has closed its border to fighters and civilians, has vowed that a regime incursion into Syria would constitute a “red line.” But analysts say there is little that it can do in the face of Russian and Syrian resolve to root out the fighters.
“There’s a lot of tough jihadists in the region and Syria’s not going to digest them. The regime is not going to accept them, so they’ve got their backs against the wall,” said Joshua Landis, director of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
“They’re facing death, and Turkey has made it clear that they’re not going to take them.”

The Washington Times
Saudi crown prince’s ambitious reforms quashed with ‘postponement’ of Aramco IPO
Sep 2, 2018

The crown prince “has been rather clubfooted and has scared away investors,” Joshua Landis, director of the Middle East Center at the University of Oklahoma, said in a phone interview.
Widely known as MBS, the charismatic and popular prince is the acknowledged power behind the throne of his father, King Salman, and has spent the past year introducing — some say force-feeding — political and social liberalizations in one of the world’s most hermetic kingdoms.

The Defense Post
Kurds tie northern Syria stability to continued US military presence
Aug 31, 2018

“The Defense Department and State Department have long seen staying in Syria for the ‘Long Haul’ as necessary for leverage against Assad, helping the Kurds and rolling back Iran,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
“President Trump has been the squeaky wheel. He surprised everyone by saying that he wanted to bring the troops home soon. This caused his national security community to do damage control and try to convince him to prolong the operation,” Landis told The Defense Post

Syria:direct
Infographic: Idlib, last resort for more than one million displaced Syrians
Aug 30, 2018

According to Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies, the mass movement of civilian populations into Idlib represents the culmination of a years-long military strategy by the Syrian government to hem in Syrians deemed to be pro-opposition, while pressuring Turkey on its borders.
“This was seen as a way to get rid of all these people,” Landis tells Syria Direct. “In their heart of hearts, the [Syrian government] would like to drive up through Idlib and chase out hundreds of thousands.”
With nowhere left to be displaced to in Syria, and Turkey sending mixed signals about its willingness to absorb more refugees, this enormous population now stands in the crossfire of what could be the last great battle of the Syrian conflict.
“People are stuck in the middle of these two big elephants” says Landis.

CNN
Once dismissed as ‘fake,’ Syria reveals fate of people thrown into ‘slaughterhouse’ jails
Aug 30, 2018

With Russian and Iranian backing, Assad remains in control. And, in an apparent attempt to turn the page on one of the darkest chapters in the country’s seven-year war, human rights groups say that Syrian officials released the death notices of more than 800 prisoners over the course of this summer. However, the bodies of loved ones, have not been returned.
“The war is winding down and (the government) is trying to normalize relations with the different parts of Syria as quickly as it can,” says Joshua Landis, Syria expert and Director of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “A big part of that is explaining what’s happened to people.”
With the civil records of some of Syria’s missing now marked “deceased,” the government could be getting rid of some bureaucratic bottlenecks, and re-instituting government order and processes. The wives of deceased prisoners are now officially widows. Property disputes that hung in the balance because owners were missing can be resolved. The government hopes this will allow people to move on, as the war dwindles.

Mindanao Examiner
End of the line for Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham in Syria? – Al Jazeera
Aug 30,2018

I doubt if Turkey or others would be able to avoid an attack on Idlib or its takeover by the regime,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at Oklahoma University. Unless the US does something drastic, such as establishing a no-fly zone over the province, Syrian forces supported by Russia’s airpower will undoubtedly retake it, Landis told Al Jazeera.
Landis agreed that time was up for the armed group as Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham’s options have become exhausted, especially with Turkey.
The Turkish government will not allow HTS members to resettle in Turkey for fear of being accused of harbouring “terrorists”, thereby complicating ties with Western intelligence agencies.
“HTS has reached the end of the line,” said Landis, also the author of the Syria Commentblog.

Aljazeera
End of the line for Hay’et Tahrir al-Sham in Syria?
Aug 29,2018

“I doubt if Turkey or others would be able to avoid an attack on Idlib or its takeover by the regime,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at Oklahoma University.
Unless the US does something drastic, such as establishing a no-fly zone over the province, Syrian forces supported by Russia’s airpower will undoubtedly retake it, Landis told Al Jazeera.

Aljazeera Arabic talk show
Aug 29, 2018

Aljazeera Arabic
Aug 17, 2018

Russian TV news
Aug 17, 2018

BBC
Aug 11, 2018

BBC
Aug 12, 2018

Voice of America
Water Crisis Looms as Syria Military Conflict Winds Down
Aug 28,2018

Joshua Landis, who heads the Middle East program at the University of Oklahoma, said the four-year drought “caused immense suffering in Syria,” and forced more than a million people to leave their farms in eastern Syria and to migrate to cities or the edge of cities. “It was that population,” Landis said, “that in many ways laid the groundwork for civil war.”

Newsweek
Is U.S. Going to Attack Syria Again? Russia Thinks So and It’s Getting Ready for Action
Aug 27, 2018

In discussing the tension between the U.S. and Russia in Syria, Joshua Landis, head of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies and the blog Syria Comment, told Newsweek that this “back and forth” appeared to be “a replay of the lead up to the Ghouta Campaign,” located in the recently-retaken suburbs of Damascus and “in which both sides accused the other of planning the use of chemical weapons.”

BBC NEWS
US-Turkey row: Pastor a ‘pawn in personal feud’
Aug 19, 2018

Turkish officials have said the bank did nothing illegal and shouldn’t be penalised. Meanwhile the feud continues. Mr Trump wants Mr Erdogan to release Mr Brunson for humanitarian reasons. If Mr Brunson is found guilty, he could face up to 35 years in prison. But there are other reasons too, says Joshua Landis, a professor of Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma in Norman. He says that if Mr Trump wins Mr Brunson’s freedom, then the president can claim that his “strong-arm tactics” are effective in the realm of foreign policy. Besides that, says Mr Landis, securing the release of Mr Brunson would be welcomed by “the religious right”. “That’s his bread and butter,” says Mr Landis. “He’s doing this for them.”

Newsweek
U.S. DISPUTE WITH TURKEY HELPS RUSSIA AND IRAN IN SYRIA, WHERE WASHINGTON IS LOSING ALLIES
Aug 18, 2018

“It appears there are two contradictory things going on in U.S. foreign policy,” Joshua Landis, who heads the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies and the online blog Syria Comment, told Newsweek. “One being driven by the White House for domestic reasons and one driven by the Department of Defense for strategic reasons.”

Trump SHOOTING HIMSELF in foot’: US-Turkey sanctions may STRENGTHEN Syria
Aug 17, 2018

Joshua Landis, who heads the University of Oklahoma’s Centre for Middle East Studies and the online blog Syria Comment, told Newsweek: “It appears there are two contradictory things going on in US foreign policy.
“One being driven by the White House for domestic reasons and one driven by the Department of Defence for strategic reasons.”

The Straights Times
Turkey crisis risks souring military ties with US
Aug 14, 2018

Professor Joshua Landis, director of Centre for Middle East Studies, told AFP that Turkey’s ejection from Nato would be disastrous.
“There’s no upside to kicking Turkey out, it’ll just force Turkey into Russia’s hands,” he said.

South China Morning Post
How Trump is risking a military mistake of ‘epic proportions’ by souring US ties with Turkey
Aug 14, 2018

“Turkey is going to be hurt the most because it’s weaker and America is just a big elephant,” says Joshua Landis, director of Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Voice of America
Eerie Calm Pervades Idlib as Government Forces Amass
August 11, 2018

Joshua Landis, who heads the Middle East program at the University of Oklahoma, told VOA he thought the Syrian government was hoping to retake Idlib the same way it recently recaptured the southern city of Daraa — by negotiating “reconciliation agreements” with the various rebel militias that are at each other’s throats.
“[President Bashar al-] Assad’s strategy is to divide and conquer in Idlib province, in the same way that he did in Daraa,” Landis said. “There were 56 militias. More than half of them reconciled with the government and put down their guns. This left the remaining militias in a very weakened and vulnerable position. And this is why the Syrian government and army [were] able to sweep through Daraa in less than a month’s time and conquer the place.”

Ahval
Turkey on alert as threat of Idlib “bloodbath” rises
Aug 9,2018

Should Assad regime forces take Idlib, Turkey could also face accommodating up to 100,000 rebel fighters, many of whom have ties to Al-Qaeda, according to Syria scholar Joshua Landis,director of Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
“(The) Turkish government doesn’t want them in Turkey, and it wants to see some gains from its Syrian adventure, which so far has brought nothing but pain, expense, and refugees into Turkey,” said Landis.

The Litchfield County Times
KentPresents brings together experts across the field for weekend of brainstorming
Aug 8,2018

In discussing Kent Presents: A Festival of Ideas Benjamin Rosen states, we have had Joshua Landis, director for the Center of Middle East Studies and professor at University of Oklahoma. He writes SyriaComment.com, a daily newsletter on Syrian politics that attracts some 200,000 page-reads a month. He has been to the conference twice and the response has been extraordinary.”

Syria:direct
As Syria’s proxies converge on Idlib, what’s next for Turkey’s northern state-within-a-state?
Aug 6, 2018

Ankara is digging deep into northern Aleppo’s nominally rebel-held towns and villages—and it doesn’t plan on leaving anytime soon, says Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies.
“Turkey is prepared to, in a sense, quasi-annex this region,” Landis tells Syria Direct’s Madeline Edwards.

The Weather Channel
Depleted: Water and Patience Are Running Out in Jordan
Aug 1, 2018

Identity in Syria is tied up in rain. It’s all about social geography: how it was created over thousands of year and how it continues to impact daily life. This argument has best been articulated by Joshua Landis, professor at the University of Oklahoma. Water scarcity exacerbated by climate change has only made more apparent what’s been present throughout history.

Reuters
For buoyant Assad, Syrian war enters tricky phase
Jul 30, 2018

The pan-Arab Alsharq Alawsat newspaper has reported details of a Turkish proposal to Russia over Idlib that includes the idea that rebels there surrender heavy weapons to the Turkish army. Such proposals – including that rebels be reorganized into a “national army” – are likely to be anathema to Assad.
“If Assad has reiterated one consistent refrain through the years of uprising, it is nationalism. When Assad says he will take back every inch of Syrian soil, we should believe he means it,” said Joshua Landis, an expert on Syria and head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Aljazeera
How big a threat is ISIL to the Syrian government?
July 27, 2018

Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center of Middle East Studies was a guest in this discussion of ISIL (ISIS) and the threat it poses to the Syrian government.

Al-Arab Online
Death toll from ISIS attack climbs to 240 in predominately Druze Sweida
Jul 26, 2018

Writing on Twitter on Thursday, Director of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma Joshua Landis suggested that the Sweida attack may have been a diversion intended to distract the Syrian army from advancing upon established Islamic State positions within the Golan.
News websites in Sweida alleged that some of the jihadists who took part in the attack had previously been given safe passage out of the Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Damascus to the Badiya desert by the government. The Sweida websites posted images purporting to show ISIS fighters killed in the assault with identification cards showing they were from Yarmouk.

Ahval
Kurdish fighters increase attacks on Turkish posts around Afrin
Jul 24,2018

In this article Joshua Landis offered insights into the future of Syria’s north.“The YPG did not contest the Turkish conquest of Afrin once it became clear that the only outcome would be greater destruction of the region and a high rate of Kurdish deaths,” said Joshua Landis, director of Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “All the same, there was considerable doubt within the Kurdish community about the wisdom of not contesting the conquest more vigorously.”
Landis said it was far from clear what would happen in Syria’s north.

Voice of America
Syrian Media: Hundreds of Refugees Returning From Lebanon
July 23,2018

Syria expert Joshua Landis, who heads the Middle East program at the University of Oklahoma, told VOA that it is very difficult for many former rebels and their families to accept life under government control again.
“It’s a miserable decision for each of these families to make: families who have people who have fought on the rebel side because many of the most established rebels have decided not to return under Bashar [al-Assad’s] control and they have gotten on buses to leave for the north of the country, where rebels still hold sway. But the vast majority of people don’t want to leave their homes and don’t want to become refugees. The situation is very bad and they are throwing themselves at the mercy of the Syrian government,” he said.

Rompkrant
Invloed van Iran in Syrië zal blijven, ook als de oorlog voorbij is
Jul 18, 2018

Professor Joshua Landis, die een Syrië-expert is aan de Amerikaanse Universiteit van Oklahoma, is er daarom van overtuigd dat Israël ten onrechte vertrouwt op Russische beloften en toezeggingen. Volgens hem ,,zal de Iraanse presentie in Syrië blijvend zijn en is Rusland niet van plan om Iran te dwingen dit land te verlaten”. We beleven daarom niet de terugkeer naar een oude en wellicht vertrouwde orde, maar de geboorte van een nieuwe constellatie, die weinig goeds voorspelt voor de stabiliteit van de regio. Martin Janssen is Arabist en woont in Jordanië

DW
In Syria, rebel defeat marks ‘end of revolution’
Jul 13, 2018

“Deraa is the end of the Syrian revolution,” Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and editor of Syria Comment blog, told DW.
“All of Syria’s remaining ‘independent’ rebel militias are in the southeast. Once they are dismantled, the only region where rebel militias will hold sway is in the north … But the militias that hold sway in the north are under direct US and Turkish control.”

Voice of America
Syrian Army Moves to Retake ‘Cradle’ of Revolution
Jul 10, 2018

Syria expert Joshua Landis, who heads the Middle East program at the University of Oklahoma, tells VOA the Syrian government is putting an end to the last independent rebel militias around Daraa, which in effect signals the death knell of the revolution against President Bashar al-Assad that began in 2011.
“This is the end of the revolution, so there will be a new phase, because once the south is finished and consolidated, or more or less consolidated, the regime is going to move its best troops up to Idlib province and it is going to want to take back as much land as it possibly can from Turkey and we do not know how this is going to work out, because Turkey is not going to allow the Syrian Army to drive the tens of thousands of rebels who have collected in Idlib into Turkey,” he said.

France 24
Syria talks resume after day of bombardments
July 5,2018

The latest offensive, according to Joshua Landis, head of Center for Middle East Studies at Oklahoma University, meant not just the end of the rebellion in Deraa. “This is the end of the Syrian revolution. Everybody could see it coming – perhaps not as quickly as they thought, but the Syrian military has amassed a major force – it has moved in with air power, everything,” said Landis.
For the Deraa-based rebels who have been virtually abandoned by the international community, the situation was very grim, explained Landis.

Voice of America
Syrian Government Forces Close In on Jordanian Border
July 5,2018

Reuters news agency reported Thursday that allies of the Syrian government in Lebanon are claiming that Hezbollah is participating in the operation to recapture southern Syria for the government.
Joshua Landis, who teaches at the University of Oklahoma, tells VOA he thinks “Hezbollah will play an advisory role,” but the “Syrian government has every incentive to take control of the [border with Israel],” which is close to the Jordanian border as well, “and not to allow Iran or Hezbollah to control Syria’s foreign policy by going to war with Israel on the border.”

Aljazeera
🇸🇾 Is the battle for Deraa decisive for the war in Syria? | Inside Story
June 24,2018

YouTube video discussing the battle for Deraa. Joshua Landis says it is one of three areas Assad has promised to take back.
Guests:
Sami Nader – Director of the Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs
Mamoun Abu Nowar – Retired Jordanian Air Force General
Joshua Landis – Director, Center for Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma.

Al-Monitor
Congress wants Trump to resume aid to Syria
June 21,2018

“The US government’s refusal to allow any funds to be spent on Syrian reconstruction in government-held areas not only ties the hands of US officials who may seek to leverage concessions from the Syrian government, but it is also more likely to hurt the Syrian people than the Syrian regime,” Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, told Al-Monitor. “These additional financial restrictions will do little to loosen regime control over the people and will likely serve to delay the restoration of education and health institutions the people depend on.”

Lobe Log
What Happens Now in Syria?
June 19,2018

To get a sense of where the conflict stands now and where it might be heading, LobeLog spoke recently with University of Oklahoma professor Joshua Landis, who has been covering the war from its Arab Spring origins at his Syria Comment blog.
Joshua Landis: Assad has won the major battle against the uprising. There’s no real organized, armed opposition in Syria anymore. There are these pockets that you talk about, these “deconfliction zones” that are being protected by outside powers. There’s Daraa, which Israel and the United States have told Assad not to attempt to take back although it looks as though he’s going to push in that direction. There’s Idlib, which Turkey is trying to protect.

Aljazeera
Did US-led coalition commit war crimes in Syria’s Raqqa?
June 5,2018

A report by Amnesty International said there is strong evidence the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) in Raqqa violated international law and may have committed war crimes.So can the coalition be held accountable?
Guests:
Haid Haid – Syria consulting research fellow at Chatham House
Elias Farhat – military analyst and retired Lebanese army general
Joshua Landis – director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma

IRIN
As Syria looks to rebuild, US and allies hope money can win where guns lost
May 22, 2018

According to Joshua Landis, who heads the Centre for Middle East Studies at Oklahoma University, Washington’s strategy of blocking reconstruction and keeping troops in oil-rich northeastern Syria aims at creating a quagmire” for al-Assad’s Iranian and Russian allies.
The US policy should be gratifying to America’s allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia,” Landis told IRIN. But it will leave 18 million Syrians in the lurch”, he said, referring to the number of people thought to still reside inside Syria.
Landis said that Washington and its allies are using the language of human rights” to disguise a mean policy in noble cloth”.

Haaretz
Trump Administration’s Next Iran Battle: Enforcing Sanctions on India, China and Europe
May 14, 2018

Joshua Landis, director of Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma is quoted in this are that discusses the Trump administration’s attempt to enforce sanctions on Iran.

Investing with the Buyside
May 12,2018

Joshua Landis director of Center for Middle East Studies takes part in a podcast that focuses on giving the average investor some of the information that gives institutional investors an advantage.

El Mundo
Israel e Irán: un choque desigual
May 10, 2018

“Israel ha demostrado una y otra vez que su ventaja tecnológica y su potencia aérea sobre Irán son excelentes. El equilibrio de poder entre Irán e Israel se inclina del lado de Israel tan profundamente que no hay mucho que Irán pueda hacer para dañar a Israel”, opina Joshua Landis, analista del conflicto sirio asociado a la Universidad de Oklahoma. Aunque matiza: “Sobre el terreno sirio, Irán es mucho más poderoso que Israel. Es poco lo que EEUU o Israel pueden hacer para retroceder a Irán en Siria”. Leer

MDC for Middle East and African Studies
Rami Makhlouf and the Syrian war economy
April 28, 2018

Now that many parts of the country have been destroyed, those close to the regime aim to capitalize on rebuilding projects. Most recently, thanks to a government decree, a spin-off of Makhlouf’s Damascus al-Cham Holdings joint-capital investment firm is positioned to control a planned massive real estate project – including a large new shopping mall – in place of the slums of Damascus. This is specifically designed to attract a new elite class which will be loyal to the regime.[6] Moreover, Syria expert Joshua Landis noted recently that Makhlouf’s firm has received a license for Syria’s first mortgage finance operation—giving the Makhlouf-Assad family even deeper control of the economy in addition to another mechanism for shaping the demographics of Syria’s housing landscape.

94.1 KPFA The Ralph Nader Radio Hour
Beating City Hall/What’s Really Going On in Syria
April 23, 2018

Ralph welcomes independent candidate for California Lieutenant Governor, Gayle McLaughlin, who talks about how she and small group of progressive reformers turned around the city of Richmond, California. And one of the foremost experts on the Middle East, Professor Joshua Landis, clues us in to what exactly is going on in Syria, and what we should do about it.

Yahoo7 News
Western strikes on Syria, turning point that never was
April 20, 2018

In discussing the strikes on Syria carried out by the U.S. and its allies,Joshua Landis, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said all the United States and its allies had achieved was to uphold a norm on the non-use of chemical weapons.

The Straits Times
Mission accomplished? Most Syrians wonder what’s next after US-led strikes
April 16, 2018

If the West refuses to invest the resources needed to determine Syria’s future, its efforts to penalise Mr Assad will make life worse for average Syrians.
“You are not punishing Assad, you are punishing the poor Syrian people,” said Dr Joshua Landis, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

The New York Times
After U.S. Strikes, Syria Returns to War as Usual
April 15, 2018

Some counter that if the West refuses to invest the resources needed to determine Syria’s future, its efforts to penalize Mr. Assad will make life worse for average Syrians.
“You are not punishing Assad, you are punishing the poor Syrian people,” said Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “If America’s objectives are countering terrorism, stabilization and the return of refugees, all of these will fail.”

DW.com
US-led strikes on Syria: A move with unpredictable consequences
April 14, 2018

Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said the United States had tried to look strong in a situation where it does not have much leverage, and seeks to leave Syria.

BBC Newshour
Apr 14, 2018

Russia TV
Apr 14, 2018

Turkish RTV
April 14, 2018

Aljazeera English Program
April 14, 2018

France 24 TV
April 14, 2018

CNNi News
Apr 14, 2018

Joshua Landis discusses U.S., UK and France launching 105 missiles at Syria

Al-Monitor
Pentagon acknowledges US contractor presence in Syria for first time
April 13, 2018

Despite their nonkinetic role, some experts say contractors face many of the same dangers as the US troops and Syrian forces who battled Russian mercenaries in February. With IS on the run and multiple US antagonists ready to push out the United States and its allies, civilian personnel risk getting caught in the crossfire.
“I would give America a six-month honeymoon here,” said Joshua Landis, the director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies. “Turkey, Syria and Iran are just sitting there, waiting to stick shivs in us.”

Express
World War 3 THREAT: This is why the US needs to stop Syria, reveals Middle East expert
Apr 12, 2018

Donald Trump has to stop Syria if they are using chemical weapons because “weapons of mass destruction work”, warned Joshua Landis.
Dr Landis, Director of Centre for Middle East Studies, told Russia Today: “The US after all demonstrated that weapons of mass destruction work when it used the atomic bomb at the end of world war 2 and it brought about the end.
“The surrender of the Japanese because as we recall in March 1945, the US killed about 140,000 people, the largest single day of death in Tokyo using firebombing.

Military Times
US strikes on Syria pose risk of conflict with Russia
Apr 12, 2018

Given that Trump has also been vocal about his desire to pack up and end the U.S. mission to Syria — which would be a dream come true for Russia, Syria, and Iran — it seems unlikely that any adversaries would want to do anything that could force Trump to stay, according to Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies.
“Look, the Russians are winning here. They don’t need to respond,” Landis said. “They need to get Trump out of north Syria. They don’t want to get into a fight. They’ve been bending over backwards to avoid that.”

On Point
Syria Chemical Attacks And The World’s Next Moves
April 10, 2018

Joshua Landis, author of Syria Comment, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, comments on the Syrian chemical weapons attack and what it means for Syria and the possible response from the world.

Rudaw
What would happen if Trump pulls US forces out of Syria?
Apr 7, 2018

Professor Joshua Landis, a Syria expert from the University of Oklahoma, also predicts that a major power vacuum will result from a US withdrawal from Syria in the foreseeable future that would have with profoundly negative results for the Kurds.
“Ankara and Damascus would race to capture the territory that US troops and the US air force withdraw from,” Landis told Rudaw English. “But just because special forces may not be located in Syria that does not mean the US air force would not assist the SDF.”
“It is not at all clear to me that the US would abandon the SDF entirely,” he concluded.

RT
Will Syria peace trio succeed given all three have different agendas?
Apr 5, 2018

Joshua Landis, director at the Center of Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma, argues “it is going to be very difficult” for these trilateral efforts to rebuild Syria, considering US troops are still stationed there.
“What we are seeing today is that Syria is increasingly being divided into three zones: a Russian and Assad zone, an American and Kurdish zone and a Turkish zone where the rebel militias hold sway,” he noted. Landis said that “this is a period of great turmoil.”

Military Times
Trump wants troops out of Syria, but his generals may resist
April 4, 2018

While the president seems content with eliminating ISIS holdovers and pulling out, the generals he tends to trust may be interested in pursuing broader, more strategic concerns in the region.
“The only reason for staying there in the long run is to hurt Iran and Russia,” Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies, told Military Times.
“The United States in this northern Syria region has control over 50 percent of Syria’s oil, and much of its best agricultural land,” Landis said. “So by denying that to [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad, we can make him extremely poor and we can stop him from rebuilding.”

The Daily Star
What’s left of Daesh in Syria
Mar 21, 2018

Joshua Landis, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, predicted a real resurgence was unlikely, however.
“It is very difficult for ISIS to get its feet back on the ground. The situation is nothing like it was in 2014,” he said, stressing that the Syrian army had grown stronger.

Reuters
EXPLAINER-Foreign powers obstruct more Assad gains in Syria
Mar 15, 2018

U.S. goals have broadened beyond fighting Islamic State to curbing Iran and paving the way diplomatically for Assad’s eventual departure, though Washington’s call for “patience” on that front points to the difficulties.
“The Syrians are dreaming of how to use guerrilla war against the Americans, but it is hard to get to them and they are protected by the YPG. America has gotten smarter about occupying Arab countries,” said Syria expert Joshua Landis.

El Pais
La guerra de nunca acabar da oxígeno al ISIS
Mar 15, 2018

“Los generales norteamericanos se quejan amargamente de la sangría de los mejores combatientes de las YPG (Unidades de Protección del pueblo, milicia kurda), desplazados al frente Afrin”, constata Joshua Landis, editor del portal especializado Syria Comment. “También lamentan que Siria y Rusia no hagan todo lo que esté en su mano contra los últimos milicianos del ISIS, mientras vuelven a enfrentarse a insurgentes que amenazan al Gobierno”, asegura en un correo electrónico el director del Centro de Estudios sobre Oriente Próximo de la Universidad de Oklahoma.

LA Times
Seven years on in Syria: Nobody seems willing to stop the bloodshed
Mar 14, 2018

And the fighting has raged on, said Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies, in full view of the world.
“Syria has engaged a great deal of the world’s attention in the last seven years,” Landis said. “The problem is that no one really cares about Syria the country, it’s that they care about the geographic position of Syria and they want leverage.
“They care about Syria, but not the Syrian people.”

Gulf News
Syria war shifting gears but still deadly
Mar 13, 2018

The organisation that once administered millions of people still has a few fighters hunkering down in desert hideouts, but its territorial ambitions have been dashed.
“It is very difficult for Daesh to get its feet back on the ground,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
He warned that it would retain the ability to carry out spectacular attacks and suicide bombings.As they invested forces and equipment in the war on the extremists, world powers were also staking their claim to increased influence in the region.
After foreign militaries finished wresting back one Daesh bastion after another, parts of Syria that had seen a relative lull in fighting became the focus once again.
“What we are seeing is the scramble for Syria right now,” said Landis.

FAIR
Media Erase US Role in Syria’s Misery, Call for US to Inflict More Misery
Mar 7, 2018

America currently controls 28 percent of Syria (Foreign Policy, 1/25/18), precisely the opposite of being “on the sidelines,” and has recently declared its intent to continue occupying the country indefinitely (New York Times, 2/22/18). As Joshua Landis (Syria Comment, 1/15/18), director of the Center for Middle East Studies, notes, the US controls “half of Syria’s energy resources, the Euphrates dam at Tabqa, as well as much of Syria’s best agricultural land.”

Wesa.fm
First Aid Convoy Makes Its Way To Rebel-Controlled Syrian Territory
Mar 5, 2018

Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd speaks with Joshua Landis (@joshua_landis), director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

ISPI
Afrin, Ghouta and the post-IS scramble for Syria
Feb 27, 2018

ISPI interviewed Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and a leading expert on Syria, on unfolding events.
Afrin, a Kurdish dominated region of north Syria that borders Turkey, has been at the center stage of the latest dangerous escalation between actors involved in the conflict. What is happening and why has Turkey invaded Afrin?
A week ago, it seemed that a cease-fire in Afrin between Turkey, Russia, Assad and the YPG or Kurdish militia had been concluded. According to this agreement, the Syrian army would move into Afrin, disarm the YPG and send them to the east, thereby restoring Syrian sovereignty to Afrin, allowing the Turks to withdraw their forces and stop their advance into Afrin.
What happened then?
Turkey greeted the Syrian pro-Assad militias that advanced into Afrin with artillery fire, claiming that the Assad forces had come to defend the YPG rather than disarm them. So, clearly, the negotiations failed.

Swiss Radio
Konzession für Schweizer Fernbusse
Feb 19, 2018

Aljazeera
Feb 21, 2018

BBC news
Feb 21, 2018

Rudaw
Assad in Afrin: Possible ramifications of Damascus’ deployment
Feb 21, 2018

Professor Joshua Landis, a Syria specialist from the University of Oklahoma, argued just before this deployment that it could well constitute “a win-win for everyone.”
“Turkey wins because its YPG problem in Afrin would be solved,” he told Rudaw English. “The Kurds win because they would not be defeated by a hostile military and would thus save life and home. The Syrian government would win because it restores its sovereignty over another region of Syria and would show that it can serve as a protector rather than threat to local populations.”
Even the United States and Russia would benefit he argues, “because they can state that they have worked for stability in Syria.”
The only stumbling block Landis foresees is the US government “dilemma” over “whether it weighs stability in Syria over its goal of rolling back Iran.”

The Wall Street Journal
Syrian Forces Backed by Russia Bombard Hard-Hit Suburb of Capital
Feb 20, 2018

Joshua Landis offers insight into the military action in Eastern Ghouta. Including the role of Russia in the Assad regimes attacks.

Aljazeera
Will Turkish and Syrian armies fight in Afrin?
Feb 19, 2018

After seven years of war, the complex mosaic that is the battlefield in Syria can still surprise. The US, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and the Syrian regime are all involved with forces on the ground and desperate to make political gains. Afrin, in northern Syria, is now the focus of the conflict, and the situation is getting even more complicated. Last month Turkey launched an operation to seize Afrin from the Kurdish fighters of the YPG – a group Ankara considers “terrorists” and a threat so close to its border. The US has been supporting YPG in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) in Syria and continues to do so, making relations with Ankara even tenser. And Turkey is now facing a new and more direct confrontation. Syrian pro-government forces will help the US-backed Kurdish soldiers in fighting Turkish troops for control. What’s next for war-torn Syria? Presenter: Peter Dobbie Guests: Mehmet Yegin – affiliate of the political science department at Bilkent University Salih Muslim Mohammed – diplomatic committee member of Tev-Dem – The Movement for a Democratic Society Joshua Landis – director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma Al Jazeera News

BBC
Josh Landis on Newshour
Feb 18, 2018

Joshua Landis, director of the center for Middle East Studies at University of Oklahoma, says Turkey is determined to crush the YPG. As a result the Kurds have turned to the Syrian government in order to lay down their arms to stop Turkey’s attacks. Landis says everyone could come out a winner.

Who.What.Why.
Major Powers Mingle in Syria in an Explosive Mix
Feb 14, 2018

“This is a scramble for position in Syria,” Joshua Landis, a prominent Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, told WhoWhatWhy. “As long as ISIS was still a powerful force in Syria, the US and Russia worked together to concentrate on defeating ISIS, and they agreed on deconfliction zones around Syria … but now that ISIS is destroyed, and it’s just a policing matter, there is a scramble for the endgame.”

Hurriyet Daily News
How long will and can the US stay in Syria?
Feb 12,2018

Robert Ford, who resigned as the U.S. ambassador to Damascus in 2014, asked Congress to decide whether it wants an indefinite presence in Syria and to instruct the Trump administration “to identify benchmarks and timelines for when political conditions in Syria are such that American forces can withdraw.”
Stressing that the U.S. has spent some $12 billion on its operation in Syria, excluding CIA activities, according to American expert Joshua Landis, Ford said: “That’s a lot of money and it’s not clear when those outlays will stop… Our military and civilian personnel on the ground in Syria will be targeted, eventually.”

Gulf News
‘Paroxysm of anxiety’ after Israeli jet downed by Syria
Feb 10, 2018

Prominent Syria expert Joshua Landis, head of the Centre of Middle East Studies at Oklahoma University, thinks the downing of the Israeli jet “will send Israeli politicians into paroxysms of anxiety.”
Speaking to Gulf News, he said: “This is proof that Israel’s redlines are being shifted by new Syrian capabilities” saying that previous attacks had been at zero cost for Israel whereas now, “one of their top line US jets has been shot down”.
Landis added: “Israel will undoubtedly seek to make Iran and Syria pay a heavy price in order to deter further action. This is sure to open a new chapter in the Syrian-Israeli conflict

The Irish Times
Fresh conflicts emerge in post-Isis environment
Feb 9, 2018

US Syria expert Joshua Landis told the France24 satellite channel that Washington seeks to use US Kurdish-held territory to deprive Damascus of oil and agricultural resources. The US will also block reconstruction funds for Syrian territory held by the government – currently 65 per cent of the country – in order to keep Syria “weak”, he says.
This would suit Israel which, reportedly, intends to use Islamic State, al-Qaeda and other proxies to establish a 40kms deep buffer zone to exclude Syrian and pro- Iranian forces from the Golan Heights ceasefire line.

Al-Jazeera news TV
🇸🇾 Is Syria’s de-escalation deal over? | Inside Story
Feb 7, 2018

Joshua Landis offers insight into the Syria de-escalation. Landis states that the ceasefire was negotiated because everyone wanted to fight ISIS. Now with ISIS being rolled back the great powers have turned their focus to grabbing control of land in Syria.

Aljazeera Inside Story
Is Syria’s de-escalation deal done?
Feb 7, 2018

The truce was supposed to bring temporary relief to hundreds of thousands of Syrians suffering from severe food and medicine shortages. Instead, Russian and Syrian government forces launched a new wave of air raids and shelling, plunging besieged rebel-held areas into even more despair. So what exactly triggered the latest round of violence? And who can stop it?
Presenter: Folly Bah Thibault
Guests:
Dmitriy Frolovsky- political analyst and researcher of Russian affairs in the Middle East
Hisham Jaber- retired Lebanese army general
Joshua Landis- director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma

The Wall Street Journal
Syrian Offensive Creates New Frictions Among Foreign Powers
Feb 4, 2018

“Idlib really represents the massive complications that Syria presents to everybody because it is the last rebel stronghold. But at the same time it is the biggest stronghold of al Qaeda-affiliated rebels and deeply committed Islamists,” said Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Energy Intelligence
Energy Compass
Feb 2, 2018

However, Washington’s Syria position rests on shaky legs, with supply lines and support dependent on the Incirlik airbase in Turkey and overland supply via Iraq. And while US control of northeast Syria and its resources means it can frustrate Moscow’s efforts to impose its will, it is in no position to push through its own solution. The likelihood is that a new “standoff” between “the Russians and the Americans, between Iran and Saudi Arabia” develops and “the whole region gets locked into a downward cycle of pain,” warns Syria expert Joshua Landis.
Any bold initiative to break the deadlock is unlikely. “I think the United States will be content to ensure that Iran and Russia don’t enjoy the fruits of their gains,” explains Landis

SYRIA:direct
Joshua Landis: ‘The war is coming to an end, and the US should let it end’
Jan 31, 2018

The Syrian government controls most of the country’s major cities. Yet rebuilding Homs, Aleppo and other Syrian cities destroyed by airstrikes and ground fighting with rebels requires billions of dollars and years of work.
But US-backed rebel forces control “50 percent of Syria’s oil and gas,” along with a major swathe of the Baghdad-Damascus highway—cutting off two major revenue streams for the Syrian government, says Joshua Landis, director of the University of Oklahoma’s Center for Middle East Studies.
The result? The US is “punishing” the Assad government economically at a time when it should be promoting economic growth in the region, Landis says.
“If the United States pursues the policies that it is pursuing today,” Landis tells Syria Direct’s Justin Clark, “we are going to get a region that is fragmented, weak, that can’t grow and nothing is allowed to heal.”

Soundcloud
This Week in Turkey (47): with Joshua Landis on the Syrian Kurds and regional/global powers
Jan 26, 2018

Professor Joshua Landis, who is the head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, discusses U.S. relationship with Turkey. Landis discusses the future of U.S. presence in Northern Syria. He says, “U.S. is staying in Northern Syria and will continue to assist the Kurds in the region”.

War Nerds Radio-podcast
PREVIEW: Radio War Nerd #118—Afrin Invasion, Turkey & US Syria Policy, with Joshua Landis
Jan 23, 2018

Here is a 25+ minute preview of Radio War Nerd episode 118 with Joshua Landis trying to make sense of Turkey’s invasion of Syria’s Afrin province, US strategy in the region, and the nature of sectarian warfare . . .

RT
‘US broken promises to stop arming Kurds triggered Afrin op’ – Turkey’s ex-FM to RT
Jan 21, 2018

Relations between the NATO allies “have been going from bad to worse in the last several years,” noted Joshua Landis, Director at the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma. “The US has begun to write Turkey off as a partner and a security ally in the region. Turkey felt increasingly that the US is siding with Kurdish nationalism in Syria, in Iraq, defying Turkish interests.” Landis believes.
Washington’s announcement to create a predominantly Kurdish border force in Syria was “the final straw” Landis said. Although the US later backtracked on the thousands-strong “Border Security Force,” its stated intention to maintain a military presence in Syria has further fuelled the flames.

Der tagesspiegel
Türkei und USA: Scheidungsgrund Syrien
Jan 21, 2018

Nach der Auflösung des IS-„Kalifats“ will Washington im Syrien-Konflikt vor allem einen weiteren Machtzuwachs des regionalen Gegenspielers Iran verhindern, sagt Joshua Landis, Syrien-Experte an der Universität von Oklahoma. Die neue Kurden-Truppe dient Amerika demnach als Instrument, um den an Bodenschätzen reichen und landwirtschaftlich wichtigen Norden Syriens dauerhaft kontrollieren zu können. Der Iran, Russland und Syriens Präsident Baschar al Assad sollten auf diese Weise an einem endgültigen Sieg im Bürgerkrieg gehindert werden.

EL PAIS
Oriente Próximo en la era de Trump
Jan 20, 2018

“En 2018, el Ejército sirio continuará reconquistando el territorio retenido por los rebeldes en la provincia de Idlib (norte) y en la frontera jordana”, pronostica Joshua Landis, editor del portal especializado Syria Comment y destacado analista regional. “No podrá recuperar toda Siria porque está apoyando a las Fuerzas Democráticas Sirias (FDS) en aproximadamente el 30% del país, y el Ejército turco respalda a grupos rebeldes suníes en un pequeña zona situada al norte de Alepo”, detalla en un correo electrónico el también director del Centro de Estudios sobre Oriente Próximo de la Universidad de Oklahoma. “Pero sí creo que la mayoría de los combates terminarán antes de fin de año, salvo en esas regiones”.

Ausland
Zum Amtsjubiläum könnten Lichter ausgehen
Jan 19, 2018

Nach Auflösungd es IS-„Kalifats“w ill Washington im SyrienKonfliktv or allem einen weiteren Machtzuwachs des regionalen GegenspielersI ranv erhindern, sagt Joshua Landis,S yrien-Experte an der Universität von Oklahoma. Die neue Grenztruppe dientden USA demnacha ls Instrument, um den an Bodenschätzen reichen und landwirtschaftlichw ichtigen Norden Syriens dauerhaft kontrollieren zu können. Der Iran, Russland und der syrische Präsident, Bashar alAssad, sollten aufdiese Weise an einem endgültigen Sieg im Bürgerkrieggehindertwerden.

KOMMENTAR & HINTERGRUND
US-Unterstützung für Kurden vertieft Zwist mit Ankara
Jan 19, 2018

Nach der Auflösung des IS„Kalifats“ will Washington im Syrien-Konflikt vor allem einen weiteren Machtzuwachs des regionalen Gegenspielers Iran verhindern, sagt Joshua Landis, Syrien-Experte an der Universität von Oklahoma in den USA. Die neue Grenztruppe dient den USA demnach als Instrument, um den an Bodenschätzen reichen und landwirtschaftlich wichtigen Norden Syriens dauerhaft kontrollieren zu können. Der Iran, Russland und der syrische Präsident Baschar al-Assad sollten auf diese Weise an einem endgültigen Sieg im Bürgerkrieg gehindert werden.

Express Newsline
President vows to uproot ‘terror nests’ in Syria
Jan 17, 2018

“The US has redefined its goals in Syria to include two important additional reasons for its continuing presence: not only to police against a comeback of ISIS, but to also gain leverage for a political process to gain traction, and roll back Russian Federation and Iran”, Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said in a phone interview.

The New York Times
U.S.-Backed Force Could Cement a Kurdish Enclave in Syria
Jan 16, 2018

Joshua M. Landis, a Syria specialist at the University of Oklahoma, said in an email that the United States was effectively “backing an independent state north of the Euphrates River,” one that controls a large portion of Syria’s oil and gas reserves and its main electric dam and that has its own army and Kurdish-language school curriculum.

LA Times
Turkey says U.S. ‘stabbed us in the back’ by aligning with Kurds on Syrian border
Jan 16, 2018

“The U.S. has redefined its goals in Syria to include two important additional reasons for its continuing presence: not only to police against a comeback of ISIS, but to also gain leverage for a political process to gain traction, and roll back Russia and Iran,” Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said in a phone interview. “They believe they can deny Iran and Russia the fruits of their victory in Syria by keeping Assad weak and Syria poor.”

Aljazeera Inside Story
Is Trump ‘playing with fire’ by backing Kurds in Syria?
Jan 15, 2018

US support for Kurds in Syria is leading to threats of retaliation from Turkey.
A coalition of countries led by the US is planning a 30,000-strong force in Syria, just across the border with Turkey.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan thinks the Kurdish-led force is a threat and is vowing to attack the city of Afrin in northern Syria.
Afrin is a major stronghold of YPG Kurdish fighters. Turkey considers the YPG a “terrorist” group linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Its PKK fighters have waged a long war against Turkish dominance.
How much volatility will be added to the war zone?
Presenter: Jane Dutton
Guests:
Giran Ozcan – Peoples’ Democratic Party representative to the US
Metin Gurcan – security analyst and former military officer in Turkey
Joshua Landis – Center for Middle East Studies, University of Oklahoma

Rudaw
Resisting Assad advances, rebel enclave near Damascus may face onslaught
Jan 7, 2018

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, said the ongoing rebellion in Eastern Ghouta contrasted with the regime “presenting itself as the winner” of Syria’s war elsewhere.

“The persistence of the East Ghouta resistance has become a major embarrassment and liability for the Assad regime,” he said.

The Assad regime, militarily backed by its ally Russia, has retaken control of more than half of the country with a string of victories against rebel and jihadist forces.

“It hopes to convince the international community that it faces little opposition any more save for the enclaves on the margins of Syria,” Landis said.

Morning Star
Escalating the war: the West’s responsibility for the slaughter in Syria
Jan 3, 2018

Professor Joshua Landis, director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, explained that the US had “prolonged the civil war and has abetted the terrible destruction” and “destabilised the region.”