Joshua Landis

Contributor, World Views

Joshua Landis is the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and an Associate Professor in the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies.

His daily newsletter and blog Syria Comment attracts some 50,000 readers a month. It is widely read by officials in Washington, Europe and Syria. Dr. Landis travels frequently to Washington, D.C. to consult with government agencies and speak at think tanks.

Beyond KGOU, he is a frequent analyst on the PBS Newshour, The Charlie Rose Show, al-Jazeera, Frontline, NPR, Public Radio International, WBUR's Here and Now, and the BBC.

He is a frequently published contributor to Foreign Policy, Middle East Policy, and TIME Magazine.

Ways to Connect

Joshua Landis and Suzette Grillot discuss several stories in the Middle East he’s been following this week, including President Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia and the latest from Syria.

Then University of Oklahoma educational psychologist Janette Habashi joins Suzette to talk about her charity Child’s Cup Full, and her work providing musical instruments to refugee children in the West Bank.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise discuss two sides of international education. China has charged an education advocate in Tibet with inciting separatism, and a one-room basement library in Afghanistan is providing books to citizens once ruled by the Taliban.

Then contributor Joshua Landis talks with Jeffrey Mankoff from the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He argues the U.S. tried to outsource solving the Ukraine crisis onto German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They’ll also discuss Russia’s involvement in Syria.

Jeffrey Mankoff during an October 2014 Center for Strategic and International Studies forum on Russia's war, Ukraine's history, and the West's options.
Center for Strategic and International Studies / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Russia rapidly moved to the front of the world stage when President Vladimir Putin returned to power in 2012, setting off an adversarial relationship with the West not seen since Cold War tensions thawed in the 1980s.

The country’s ascendancy includes the 2014 invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea region, and a greater role in Syria on the side of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Syria is fighting rebels opposed to Assad’s minority Alawite-led government as well as Islamic State, or ISIS, militants bent on establishing a caliphate in the Middle East.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot talk about her trip to Brazil and the reaction and response to the Zika virus, and some of the health and security issues related to a lawsuit against the United Nations over a cholera outbreak in Haiti.

Then Suzette and Joshua Landis talk with Middle East analyst Joseph Bahout about Lebanon’s relationship with Syria as the fifth anniversary of the civil war approaches.

A portrait of President Bashar al-Assad among the trash in the Syrian city of al-Qsair in 2012.
Freedom House / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Syria’s civil war approaches its fifth anniversary a little over a week from now, and there’s no end in sight as the conflict becomes even more nuanced and multi-faceted.

It started with protests against the regime of Bashar al-Assad on March 15, 2011, but quickly became a weaponized conflict and spread beyond the country’s borders as militants poured in, and global players used the unrest as a proxy to advance their own regional interests.

Joshua Landis and Rebecca Cruise remember former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, who died this week at age 93. He served in the post from 1992-1996.

Then, Suzette Grillot talks with Northwestern University social anthropologist Adia Benton. Her research in Sierra Leone focuses on what she calls "HIV exceptionalism."

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom monitors the right to thought, conscience, and individual expression around the world. Suzette Grillot talks about some of their work with the agency's acting co-director of policy and research Elizabeth Cassidy.

But first, Rebecca Cruise talks with Joshua Landis about how the continued decline in oil prices is affecting international markets., and the upcoming meetings on Syria.

Joshua Landis and Rebecca Cruise react to President Obama’s State of the Union address, the release of U.S. sailors from Iranian custody, and Turkey’s response to a terrorist attack in Istanbul.

Then, Brian Hardzinski talks with anthropologist Don Kulick. Even though there are countless public services available in Sweden and Denmark for people with disabilities, that’s not the case with their private sexual lives.

Growing up in Ghana, Meshack Asare loved to read, but the only books available were educational texts designed to teach English. He became a prolific children's author to provide the world with the kind of books he would've loved to read as a child, and just won the 2015 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature.

But first, Joshua Landis provides an update on Saudi Arabia’s break in relations with Iran after protests at the Saudi embassy in Tehran. On Sunday the kingdom executed a popular Shiite cleric.

Rebecca Cruise talks with University of Oklahoma sociocultural anthropologist Noah Theriault about the Paris climate agreement, and its effect on some of the small island countries of Southeast Asia.

Then, we'll hear Joshua Landis' conversation with Nazila Fathi, a journalist and author who grew up in Iran, and was nine years old when the Islamic Revolution changed her entire life. She left Iran 20 years later, and then returned to cover the 2009 election protests as a correspondent for The New York Times.

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