Joshua Landis

Syrian interior opposition member Mahmoud Marai, third right, listens to Elian Mous'ad, second right, during a meeting with the UN Syria Envoy during Syria peace talks at the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland.
Fabrice Coffrini / Pool Photo via Associated Press

February’s tenuous cease-fire in Syria seems to breaking down for good.

Opposition leaders blame airstrikes around Aleppo have been blamed on both the Russian and Syrian forces. Civilians and doctors were killed when a Doctors Without Borders hospital was hit this week in the northern city.

Syrian Government And Opposition Agree To Ceasefire

Feb 23, 2016

After nearly five years of civil war and more than 250,000 deaths, the warring parties in Syria say they will abide by a ceasefire that is scheduled to take effect Saturday.

The United Nations says it will be a challenge to enforce the truce. That’s because the Syrian battlefield is complicated by the presence of ISIS and the al-Qaida group, al-Nusra.

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson talks with Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, about the prospects for peace.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali (left), Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Klaus Schwab (middle), founder and president of the World Economic Forum, and Flavio Cotti, member of the Swiss Federal Council, at the 1995 World Economic Forum.
World Economic Forum / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

On Tuesday former United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali died at the age of 93.

“He was an extraordinary man, and he really symbolized his age, the period that he grew up in,” said Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center of Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, who shared his personal memories of interactions with Boutros-Ghali with Rebecca Cruise on KGOU’s World Views.

Landis is the author of the widely-read blog Syria Comment, which Boutros-Ghali read.

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.

Two riverine command boats like this one were taken into custody by Iran, along with 10 U.S. sailors.
MC2 Ecklund / U.S. Navy

Earlier this week Turkey attacked Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria after a suicide bombing in Istanbul that killed 10 tourists. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the tank and artillery attack killed nearly 200 militants.

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.

The portrait of Nimr Baqr al-Nimr, the recently deceased Shia cleric in al-Awamiyah, Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia.
Abbas Goudarzi / Wikimedia Commons

Since the January 2 assassination of popular Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, Iranians have continued to rally against Saudi Arabia, leading to a severing of diplomatic ties between the kingdom and the Islamic Republic.

Rebecca Cruise provides an update on this week's climate talks in Paris, and Joshua Landis discusses the British Parliament's vote to increase the country's involvement in Syria.

Then, retired diplomat Joe Cassidy talks about his 25-year career in the Foreign Service. In July, he wrote an editorial in Foreign Policy magazine with his prescription to fix the ailing U.S. State Department.

British protesters gather for a sit-in in London's Parliament Square Dec. 1, 2015 ahead of a vote to authorize increased military intervention in Syria.
Allsdare Hickson / FLickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

On Wednesday, bombs began falling in Syria hours after Britain’s Parliament voted overwhelmingly to approve airstrikes against ISIS militants in the country.

The 320-211 vote followed hours of debate, and could be a sign Europeans are starting to coalesce around a common goal of defeating radical Islamic militants in the wake of last month’s terrorist attacks in Paris, and security concerns in Brussels.

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.

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