Listen: Syria Expert Joshua Landis '79 on Wealthy Gulf Countries' Lack of Support for Syrian Refugees

PRI: The Gulf countries are doing virtually nothing to help with the Syrian refugee crisis

On Public Radio International, Joshua Landis ’79 discusses the Syrian refugee crisis and the lack of response by Arab Gulf countries. While Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey have taken in thousands of refugees, the wealthier Gulf countries simply don’t allow them in, according to Landis. Many Arab Gulf states are populated by large numbers of foreign workers on short contracts, so the governments do not want to allow additional refugees entry.

“They’re very anxious that foreigners could take over,” says Landis, “so there is a very strict legal structure for sponsorship of foreign labor [and] they don’t let refugees to come into their country.”

He also discusses the challenges his own relatives are facing in trying to leave Syria.

Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies and associate professor at the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies, is one of the nation’s leading experts on Syria. He frequently advises American officials on issues relating to Syria and the Middle East and writes Syria Comment, a widely-read daily newsletter on Syrian politics.

At Swarthmore, Landis majored in European history and French literature. He later earned an M.A. from Harvard University and a Ph.D. from Princeton University.