Joshua Landis

Center for Middle East Studies (University of Oklahoma), Syria Comment Blog

Joshua Landis is the co-director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and author of the blog Syria Comment.

Joshua Landis appears in the following:

Mission Accomplished? Russia Withdraws from Syria

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin surprised the international community with his announcement that he was pulling most of Russian forces out of Syria. 

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Syria: Time to Favor a Dictator Over Democracy?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

It appears the U.S. is letting Russia take the lead in Syria. 

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What Do We Do About Syria?

Friday, December 13, 2013

Liz Sly, Washington Post Beirut bureau chief (covering the conflict in Syria), and Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, discuss the latest news from Syria, where rebel forces are fracturing and the US is cutting off aid.

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President Assad's General Defects

Friday, July 06, 2012

In a surprising move in Syria, Manaf Tlass, who served as a general in Syria’s Republican Guards, has defected. Tlass was a member of the Damascus aristocracy and was close to President Basha al-Assad.


Massacre Near Homs Puts Pressure on US Role in Syria

Monday, May 28, 2012

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss a massacre that took place over the weekend in the Syrian town of Houla. The Syrian government insists that it...

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McCain Calls for Military Action in Syria

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Syrian National Council has formed a military body to serve the role of Defense Ministry and to coordinate rebel factions. But not all of the rebels are onboard yet, and the SNC is looking to the west for funding and weapons. In a speech Monday on the senate floor, John McCain called on the U.S. to lead an effort to help the rebels. The Obama administration is in a tight position. The president is expected to give a speech later today with a decision on how the U.S. should approach the SNC.


International Plans to End Syrian Conflict

Monday, January 23, 2012

Over the past ten months, Syrian Security Forces have killed more than 5,000 protestors across the country. But this weekend, two key voices announced their calls to action: the Arab League will seek U.N. Security Council approval to peacefully end the rule of President Bashar al-Assad, and Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer introduced a bill that would block financial aid and create trade sanctions against Syrian leaders involved in the crackdown.


International Community Unite in Opposition to Syria's Assad

Friday, August 19, 2011

Yesterday the Obama administration called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down. It was the administration's strongest statement since the Syrian uprising began. "For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for [Assad] to step aside and leave this transition to Syrians themselves," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. The U.S. is united with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and a host of European nations in pushing Assad to step down, and that international coalition may prove strong enough in the long term to force the Syrian leader out. How loudly will the American government's words echo, as Assad struggles to hold on to power?


Security Council Rebukes Syria as Tanks Settle in Central Hama

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Syria’s government is attempting to crush the democratic uprising, sending tanks, armored vehicles and snipers into the rebellious city of Hama for the fourth straight day of Ramadan. Unverified footage taken from YouTube and obtained by The New York Times depicts tanks shooting at civilians. Human rights groups say more than 140 people have been killed since Sunday, compounding a civilian death toll of more than 1,600 since March. The United Nations Security Council condemned the crackdown, but is the international condemnation too slow? 


Syrian Update

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies, Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma, and author of the Syria Comment newsletter, discusses the latest news from Syria, a meeting in Turkey of the opposition groups, and the Syrian government's response.

→ Add Your Comments, Listen, and Read A Recap at It's A Free Country

Syria: Close to Civil War as Violent Protests Continue

Monday, May 30, 2011

Security forces in Syrian tanks opened fire on civilians and killed at least 9 people Sunday, fueling speculation that the country is engaging in even more brazen efforts to quell the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad. Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, analyzes the events in Syria. "This revolt has settled into a stalemate," says Landis, while the government maintains the upperhand as it continues to shoot at protesters.


The Latest on Syria

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Anthony Shadid, New York Times correspondent in Beirut, and Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies, associate professor at the University of Oklahoma and writer of the Syria Comment newsletter, discuss the latest on the uprising and crackdown in Syria.

→ Add Your Comment, Listen and Read a Recap at It's A Free Country

director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Associate Professor at the 
University of Oklahoma. He writes the Syria Comment newsletter.discusses the latest on the uprising and crackdown in Syria.

Syria: Next Big Flashpoint in Middle East?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Syria's cabinet passed a draft law on Tuesday lifting the country's 48-year emergency rule, the unfairness of which has been a rallying cry for those in the country who want reform. The cabinet was under pressure to ease the emergency rule, but immediately after the supposed concession, the body passed a law that requires Syrians to seek permission to protest from the Interior ministry. The political upheaval sweeping across North Africa and the Mideast has been compared to a contagious virus, but Syria just may be the most contagious country of all. Syria is centrally located, bordering Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon.


Syria in Context

Monday, March 28, 2011

As protests continue in Syria, there have been reports that the government security officials are firing teargas on demonstrators, with 12 people killed over the weekend. A Syrian spokesperson told The Takeaway that armed thugs were responsible for these deaths. Joshua Landis, Director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma responds to her claims and helps put the upheaval in context. He says that there is a lot of fear in the country by both protesters and the government. "In order for them to change this government, it's going to mean war," he says, However, Syrians don't want that.


Syria: The Newest Member to Arab World Unrest

Monday, March 28, 2011

Syria is the latest in a list of countries like Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, as disenfranchised citizens in that country have gone to the streets in recent weeks, to protest President Bashar al-Assad's eleven-year reign. The protests have been met with violence; dozens have been reportedly killed by security forces. In response to the protests, the government has repeatedly suggested it may lift the country's emergency law — which allows the leadership to arrest without cause or warrant among other powers — as a concession to protesters. But many are already calling it a bluff. 


Does Unrest in Syria Signal Change?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

There are reports that Syrian security forces have killed at least 25 protesters in the city of Deraa on Thursday. The protests began a week ago when 15 school kids were arrested for writing anti-govt graffiti, but they've now expanded to a larger demand for freedom. So far the protests have been isolated to the once city of Deraa, but the government is fearful that they'll spread. Syria has lived under dictatorship for 45 years, and now Syrians are asking if they can have a stable democracy. Joshua Landis, Director of the Centre for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says that the government will maintain the upper hand as long as the Sunni economic elite, which runs the economy, sticks together with the military elite. However, if the elite splits, then anything can happen, he says.


Egypt: What Happens Next?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma looks ahead to what may transpire in Egypt, where the revolution continues. Although there's fear of violence, Landis says, "the leadership of this mass movement has shown extraordinary ability to organize itself and show restraint." He also helps explain the precarious position of the Egyptian Army, which finds itself potentially leading a country. Max Rodenbeck, Middle East correspondent for The Economist, author of " Cairo: The City Victorious," has an update and analysis from Cairo.

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Shoulder to Shoulder in Tahrir Square

Friday, February 11, 2011

Almost a million people have gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square, where protesters continue to call for President Mubarak's immediate resignation. Protests have also broken out in other major Egyptian cities. The president has reportedly left Cairo for the Red Sea resort city of Sharm-al-Sheikh. Tamer El-Ghobashys, staff writer for the Wall Street Journal and Joshua Landis Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma respond to the latest news.


Assessing Syria: Desire for Change?

Friday, February 04, 2011

We've seen a domino effect in the Mideast as protests in Tunisia sparked the continued unrest in Egypt. Over the past week opposition activists in Syria have gathered in small groups to pay homage to the protestors in Egypt, while a Facebook group, run mostly by Syrian expatriates, is trying to organize a "Day of Rage" in that country.

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syrian attack

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

U.S. officials are only speaking anonymously about why American military planes bombed the border of Syria on Sunday. Joshua Landis of the Center for Middle East Studies explains how...

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