Robert M. Danin

Middle East Matters

Danin analyzes critical developments and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

Middle East Matters This Week: The UN Debates Amidst Regional Turbulence

by Robert M. Danin Friday, September 28, 2012
Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu draws red line on graphic of bomb as he addresses 67th United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 28, 2012 (Jackson/Courtesy Reuters). Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu draws red line on graphic of bomb as he addresses 67th United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 28, 2012 (Jackson/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Middle East Developments

Israel and Palestine. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly yesterday within minutes of one another, with each focusing on divergent issues. Abbas lashed out strongly at Israel and called for the creation of a Palestinian state. Netanyahu, in turn, attempted to convince world leaders, the United States in particular, that a red line must be drawn on Iran’s nuclear program to avoid a military confrontation. I wrote a “First Take” analyzing both leaders’ speeches yesterday, which can be read here. Read more »

Religious Restrictions and Violence Growing Globally Led by the Middle East

by Robert M. Danin Saturday, September 22, 2012
Iraqi nuns survey destruction to church in northern Iraq (Courtesy Reuters). Iraqi nuns survey destruction to church in northern Iraq (Courtesy Reuters).

The Pew Research Center has just come out with a disturbing new poll detailing what it calls a world-wide rising tide of both government restrictions on religious practices as well as societal tensions fueled by religious differences. As noted in the New York Times, of all the world’s regions, government restrictions were highest in the Middle East and North Africa in the polling period 2007 to 2010—the years just prior to the outbreak of the Arab uprisings in late 2010. Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Violence, Demonstrations, Evacuations, and Conciliation

by Robert M. Danin Thursday, September 20, 2012
Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses his supporters during a public appearance at an anti-U.S. protest in Beirut's southern suburbs on September 17, 2012 (Hasan Shaaban/Courtesy Reuters). Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah addresses his supporters during a public appearance at an anti-U.S. protest in Beirut's southern suburbs on September 17, 2012 (Hasan Shaaban/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Middle East Developments

Libya. U.S. deputy secretary of state William Burns flew into Tripoli today to meet with Libyan officials and to attend a ceremony in honor of Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three other Americans killed last week in Benghazi. Burns met with Foreign Minister Ashur Ben Khayal, Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur and Mohammed al-Megaryef, head of the national assembly. Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Tragedy in Libya and Regional Unrest

by Robert M. Danin Thursday, September 13, 2012
Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, smiles at his home in Tripoli on June 28, 2012 (Al-Fetori/Courtesy Reuters). Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, smiles at his home in Tripoli on June 28, 2012 (Al-Fetori/Courtesy Reuters).

On a personal note, I send my heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, and Tyrone Woods killed in Benghazi on Tuesday. Chris and I were in the history department together at the University of California, Berkeley, in the early 1980s, and then later worked together for many years at the State Department. Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Iran Tensions Mount as Syria’s Regional Isolation Increases

by Robert M. Danin Thursday, September 6, 2012
Iran's International Atomic Energy Agency ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh reacts as he addresses a news conference during a board of governors meeting at the United Nations headquarters (Herwig Prammer/Courtesy Reuters). Iran's International Atomic Energy Agency ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh reacts as he addresses a news conference during a board of governors meeting at the United Nations headquarters (Herwig Prammer/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Middle East Developments

Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency briefed members with a series of satellite images yesterday further suggesting nuclear sanitation at Iran’s Parchin site. One diplomat called the imagery “pretty compelling.” The closed door briefing follows the agency’s release last week of a confidential report suggesting “extensive activities” at Parchin since February. Read more »