As the Syria civil war enters its seventh year, the outcome of the conflict no longer seems in doubt. With some 400,000 people killed and over 11 million Syrian displaced, its appears likely that the Syrian government will likely prevail over its armed opposition.
On the line to discuss how the Syrian government gained the upper hand, and what this means for the future of Syria is Joshua Landis, a longtime scholar and expert on the region.
Joshua Landis is someone I have turned to for many years to help me make sense of events in Syria and the broader middle east. He started his blog Syria Comment over ten years ago and has since become an oft-cited expert on Syria and the civil war. He’s a professor at the University of Oklahoma where he directs the Center for Middle East Studies.
Joshua Landis seemed destined to become one of America’s foremost Syria specialists. He spent much of his childhood and adolescence in the region, including Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. Landis describes how spending some formative years in Beirut both as a child during the height of Beirut’s cosmopolitan boom and later in his twenties during the Lebanese civil war, shaped how he understood his Syria civil war as it was unfolding.
We kick off with a discussion of the current state of the conflict in Syria before pivoting to a longer conversation about Landis’ life and career, with plenty of digressions about historic foreign policy events in the Levant.