Joshua Landis

Joshua Landis and Rebecca Cruise talk about what's changed (or hasn't) since the Paris and Beiruit terrorist attacks a week ago, and whether or not the world will ever come to an agreement about how to deal with ISIS.

Then, Suzette Grillot talks with Vanessa Tucker from the international watchdog organization Freedom House. Every year the group issues rankings that compare the global political rights and civil liberties across the globe.

World leaders pause to honor the memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris at the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey. / Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a week since the world watched in horror as terrorists killed 130 people in a series of coordinated attacks across Paris, which came just a day after dozens were killed in an ISIS-claimed bombing in Beiruit.

Historian Beeta Baghoolizadeh says 19th century Iranian slavery can appear softer alongside its American counterpart, but that’s not a fair comparison. She'll trace the country's history of slavery and its erasure from the national consciousness.

But first, Joshua Landis joins the show again for a discussion of the Russian airliner that crashed in Egypt and what may have caused it, and Turkey’s recent parliamentary elections.

Aftermath of an attack by a group of AKP supporters on the Hürriyet newspaper headquarters in September 2015.
Hilmi Hacaloğlu / Voice of America

On Sunday, Turkey’s ruling AKP party surpassed expectations and regained its majority in the country’s parliament. But the elections have been marred by violence and suppression of the media, and Turkey has been dealing with external problems along its Syrian border as refugees continue to flood into the country to escape the civil war.

Joshua Landis and Suzette Grillot discuss the International Olympic Committee easing restrictions on refugee athletes, and a recent International Monetary Fund report describing the effect low oil prices could have on Middle East cash reserves:

Then Suzette talks with Leslie Woodward, one of the founders of the Post-Conflict Research Center in Sarajevo. Her organization works to ease the two-decade-old wounds of the wars in the Balkans.

The Al-Faisaliah Tower in downtown Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Mohammed Al-Deghaishim / United Nations Information Centres

Falling oil prices and continued instability in the Middle East will continue to deplete liquid financial assets in the region’s oil exporters, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF released its Middle East economic outlook report earlier this month, which indicates that Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest exporter of oil, could run out of cash reserves in five years unless crude prices rebound.

Rebecca Cruise talks with energy analyst Andreas Goldthau, who says if Europe embraces technology like hydraulic fracturing, it’ll reduce the reliance on Russian oil and natural gas.

But first, Joshua Landis analyzes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s surprise visit to Moscow this week to brief Russian President Vladimir Putin on both current and future military operations in Syria. 

Syrian protesters hold signs with the faces of president Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Damascus - March 4, 2012
Freedom House / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Syrian president Bashar al-Assad made a surprise visit to Moscow this week to meet with Russian president Vladimir Putin. It marks the first time he’s left the county since the civil war began in 2011.

In Brussels today, NATO defense ministers urged Russia to stop backing Syrian President Bashar Assad. At the same time, Syria’s top general praised the Russians for their airstrikes, saying they have cleared the way for the new ground offensive that Syrian troops have mounted to eliminate terrorists – a term the Syrian government uses to refer to all armed opposition to Assad.

On this episode of OETA and the University of Oklahoma Outreach's Current Conversations, host Robert Con Davis-Undiano talks with Joshua Landis, the director of OU's Center for Middle East Studies, the author of the blog Syria Comment, and a regular contributor to KGO