John Robertson, Central Michigan University professor of history and an authority on the history and cultures of the Middle East, is available to discuss issues surrounding the recent Russian airstrikes in Syria.
Robertson's initial thoughts:
"I see dangers galore, especially because lack of coordination could result in an incident bringing the U.S. and Russia into conflict – and the coordination between the U.S. and Russian militaries has been on-the-fly, which is scary. Meanwhile, it's the Syrian people who will pay the price, with dozens killed by the Russian bombing of Homs.
"Also very worrisome is that U.S. and Russia are working at cross-purposes: Russia focused on taking out Assad's non-ISIS enemies and the U.S. focused on ISIS. What could make things horribly worse would be if Russia were to bomb Syrian Kurds, who have had success against ISIS, but are carving out an autonomous region in northern Syria that is kind of a thumb in Assad's eye."
About John Robertson
Robertson is an authority on the history and cultures of the Middle East, from the region's earliest civilizations to its recent history, current events and impact on U.S. policies. He has taught many different courses, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, on topics ranging from the ancient history and archaeology of the Near East and Egypt; to the long-term historical impact of Iraq, Iran and the Middle East on the West; to the Middle East's history in the 20th and early 21st centuries.
His op-eds, published comments, and on-air interviews have dealt with Arab-Israeli relations, the destruction of Iraq's ancient heritage, and U.S. and European relations with Middle Eastern countries, as well as other aspects of Middle Eastern history and current events. His published works also have dealt with the ancient history and archaeology of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Israel-Palestine, and he also can comment on archaeological excavations and discoveries in the Middle East. He is author of the recently published book, "Iraq: A History" (London: Oneworld, 2015).