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The World Today presents: Renegades or Realists? The United States in Syria
4:30pm - 5:30pm
Perry World House | Global Policy Lab


What are the consequences of the recent decision by President Donald Trump to pull U.S. forces out of northeastern Syria? How will this affect the fight against ISIS in Syria and the broader region, and what does it mean for America’s standing in the regional balance of power?

In this edition of The World Today, Mohammed A. Salih, Kurdish journalist and doctoral student at Penn's Annenberg School for Communication, and Professor Brendan O'Leary, Director of the Penn Program in Ethnic Conflict, will discuss this controversial decision and its manifold consequences for people living in the region, and its knock-on effects both locally and globally.


Mohammed A SalihMohammed A. Salih is a Kurdish journalist and doctoral student at the Annenberg School for Communication, and a Perry World House Graduate Associate. He has written and reported extensively on Kurdish and regional affairs for over a decade. His articles have appeared in Inter Press Service, Al-Monitor, Al Jazeera, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Christian Science Monitor, France 24, DW, and Rudaw.

Brendan O'LearyBrendan O'Leary is an Irish, European Union, and U.S. citizen, and the Lauder Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2003, O’Leary has regularly been an international constitutional advisor to the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq, assisting in the negotiation of the Transitional Administrative Law (2004); electoral systems design (2004-5); the Constitution of Iraq (2005); the draft Constitution of the Kurdistan Region (2005-); and in monitoring violations of the Constitution of Iraq by its federal government. He has been an expert witness on Iraq and Kurdistan to branches of the U.S. Government, and to the United Kingdom's Iraq Commission. In summer 2019, he was a contributing author to Perry World House's Transatlantic Relations: What's Next? 



John GhazvinianJohn Ghazvinian is an author, historian and former journalist, specializing in the history of US-Iran relations. In 2008, he was commissed by Knopf to write Iran and America: A History -- a comprehensive new survey of the bilateral relationship from the eighteenth century to the present day, based on years of archival research in both Iran and the United States (forthcoming, 2020). He is also author of Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil (Harcourt, 2007), as well as coeditor of American and Muslim Worlds before 1900 (Bloomsbury, 2020). He has written for such publications as Newsweek, The Nation, the Sunday Times and the Huffington Post, and has taught modern Middle East history at a number of colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area. He earned his doctorate in history at Oxford University, and was the recipient of a "Public Scholar" fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities in 2016-2017, as well as a fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation's special initiative on Islam in 2009-2010.