Middle East studies in the News
Expert Says the U.S. is Playing With Fire in the Middle East [on Joshua Landis]
by Olivier Rey
As the situation in Syria grows ever more complex, Joshua Landis, head of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma explained the intricacies Syrian situation to a crowded house at the Tyner Cornbread and Beans on Feb. 3
Landis said the balance of power changed from Sunni to Shi'a (60 percent of the Iraqi population) when the US invaded Iraq in 2003, which led to a civil war that is still in process. At the opposite, the Sunni represented 70 percent of the Syrian population before the civil war and should have won against Assad, but it didn't happen.
"The Shi'a had better friends," Landis said, adding Shi'a are now dominant in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon (through Hezbollah).
Landis said Iran is financing and arming the Hezbollah to use them as a counter power against Israel and therefore dissuade Israel to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities. He added it is why Syria is important for Iran, because it allows the transit of weapons from Iran to Hezbollah in Lebanon, without being intercepted by Americans.
Concerning Russia's helps to Assad, Landis said Russia consider its involvement in the civil war in Syria as a way to increase its influence in the Middle East.
Landis believes by financing and arming the Iraqi government, which is Shi'a and pro-Iranian, to eradicate ISIS, the US is helping Iran to increase its influence in the region. He added Russia is doing the same in Syria by helping pro-Shi'a militias.
"Our military strategy is diametrically opposed to what we said we (agreed to)," Landis said.
However, in order to manage its two best allies in the Middle East, Israel and Saudi Arabia Landis said the US is regularly putting pressure on Iran such as seen with the recent immigration ban and by supporting Saudi Arabia in its war in against Shi'a minority in Yemen.
"We are helping the Sunni to destroy the Shi'a in the south and we are helping the Shi'a to destroy the Sunni in the north in the name of the 'war on terror'," Landis said.
Landis believes by using this military strategy, the US is fueling wars and terrorism in the region saying, "It is a paradox situation full of contradiction, there are no good answers."
Far to be the only problems, Landis said the support of the Kurds by the US has angered its Turkey ally that is radically opposed to any Kurdish autonomy in the region. In reaction, Turkey has entered into Syrian land with trained Sunni Arabs for the purpose to stop Kurdish expansion and liberated Raqqa from ISIS.
And Landis thought Trump who has also promised during its campaign to liberate soon as possible Raqqa by using the Kurds, who have been told that they will become autonomous in exchange for their help, will have to face a dilemma. To be successful in destroying ISIS in Syria without losing Turkey, an important ally, a member of NATO and 17th economic power in the world.Note: Articles listed under "Middle East studies in the News" provide information on current developments concerning Middle East studies on North American campuses. These reports do not necessarily reflect the views of Campus Watch and do not necessarily correspond to Campus Watch's critique.
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