While Russia’s recent increased involvement in the Syrian conflict may well serve to prevent the Assad regime from falling, the obstacles that Putin faces there will not enable him either to resolve the conflict or defeat ISIS and other Syrian opposition movements. Further, Putin’s efforts to rally some support in the West for Russian intervention on the basis of common hostility toward ISIS is suffering from widespread reports that Russian forces are focusing their attacks on non-ISIS opposition forces, and not ISIS itself.
Mark Katz was born and raised in Riverside, California. He earned a B.A. in international relations from the University of California at Riverside in 1976, an M.A. in international relations from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 1978, and a Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982.
Before starting to teach at George Mason University in 1988, he was a research fellow at the Brookings Institution (1980-81), held a temporary appointment as a Soviet affairs analyst at the U.S. Department of State (1982), was a Rockefeller Foundation international relations fellow (1982-84), and was both a Kennan Institute/Wilson Center research scholar (1985) and research associate (1985-87). He has also received a U.S. Institute of Peace fellowship (1989-90) and grant (1994-95), and several Earhart Foundation fellowship research grants.
He has been a visiting scholar at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (Riyadh, May 2001), the Hokkaido University Slavic Research Center (Sapporo, June-July 2007), the Higher School of Economics (Moscow, March 2010), and the Middle East Policy Council (Washington, DC, September 2010-January 2011).