Robert M. Danin

Middle East Matters

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

Middle East Matters: Voices From the Region

by Robert M. Danin Monday, October 29, 2012
Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks with reporters during a news conference (al-Sayaghi/Courtesy Reuters). Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu speaks with reporters during a news conference (al-Sayaghi/Courtesy Reuters).

“How long can this situation continue? I mean in Bosnia, now we have Ban Ki-moon [the UN secretary general] apologising 20 years after. Who will apologise for Syria in 20 years’ time? How can we stay idle?” – Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu in an Istanbul interview Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Significant Developments in Syria, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, and Egypt

by Robert M. Danin Friday, October 26, 2012
A crowd gathers in front of damaged buildings after a car bomb exploded in Damascus hours after the ceasefire went into place on October 26, 2012 (Courtesy Reuters). A crowd gathers in front of damaged buildings after a car bomb exploded in Damascus hours after the ceasefire went into place on October 26, 2012 (Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Middle East Developments

Syria. A deadly car bomb exploded in Damascus today just hours after the Eid holiday ceasefire, brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi between Syria’s regime and the Free Syrian Army, took effect. Over sixty people have been killed throughout Syria today despite the ceasefire. Read more »

Tonight’s Debate and the Middle East

by Robert M. Danin Monday, October 22, 2012
Republican presidential nominee Romney shakes hands with President Obama at the start of the first U.S. presidential debate on October 3, 2012 (Reed/Courtesy Reuters). Republican presidential nominee Romney shakes hands with President Obama at the start of the first U.S. presidential debate on October 3, 2012 (Reed/Courtesy Reuters).

Half of the six topics the candidates will discuss in tonight’s third and final presidential debate are devoted to the Middle East, illustrating the centrality of that region to U.S. foreign policy. While winning the debate has become the objective of this exercise, the real purpose of the debate is to inform U.S. voters about where the candidates stand on key issues, and where they would lead the country as president from 2013 onwards. Read more »

Middle East Matters: Quotes of the Week

by Robert M. Danin Friday, October 19, 2012
Hossein Salami, acting commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, speaks during Tehran's Friday prayers (Nikoubazl/Courtesy Reuters). Hossein Salami, acting commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, speaks during Tehran's Friday prayers (Nikoubazl/Courtesy Reuters).

“An attack by the Zionist regime would be an opportunity to destroy that regime…Their defense mechanism is not planned for big and long wars. Their threats are only psychological and if they cross the limit or act upon those threats, (Israel) will definitely be destroyed.” –  General Hossein Salami, acting commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, was quoted by the semi-official ISNA news agency Thursday Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Brahimi’s Cease-Fire, Libyan Fighting, Egyptian Constitution Struggles, and More Iran Sanctions

by Robert M. Danin Thursday, October 18, 2012
UN-Arab League peace envoying a news conferenc for Syria Brahimi speaks dure in Beirut on October 17, 2012 (Shaaban/Courtesy Reuters). UN-Arab League peace envoying a news conferenc for Syria Brahimi speaks dure in Beirut on October 17, 2012 (Shaaban/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Middle East Developments

Syria. Iran and Turkey today endorsed UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi’s call for a cease-fire during the Eid al-Adha holiday that begins October 26. Brahimi proposed the cease-fire on Monday amidst ongoing violence throughout the country, and is scheduled to be in Damascus on Saturday. The Syrian regime has said it is ready to discuss the plan. Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Egypt Clashes, Turkey-Syria Escalate, Israel Calls Elections

by Robert M. Danin Friday, October 12, 2012
A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi punches an anti-Brotherhood protester at Tahrir Square on October 12, 2012 (Chany/Courtesy Reuters). A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi punches an anti-Brotherhood protester at Tahrir Square on October 12, 2012 (Chany/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Middle East Developments

Egypt. Hundreds of people were injured today when supporters and opponents of Egyptian leader Mohammed Morsi clashed violently in Tahrir Square for the first time since the president took office in June. Morsi’s critics took to the streets primarily to demand a more representative Constituent Assembly, the body tasked with writing Egypt’s new constitution. They also protested the president’s performance to date. Read more »

Syria by the Numbers III*

by Robert M. Danin Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Relatives carry the coffin of a victim during a funeral procession at a cemetery in the border town of Akcakale on October 4, 2012 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters). Relatives carry the coffin of a victim during a funeral procession at a cemetery in the border town of Akcakale on October 4, 2012 (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters).

Length of Conflict

19 month

Deaths

Total opposition deaths: 29,23435,323
Civilan: 25,66032,419
Children: 2,7482,818
Opposition military: 2,904 – 3,574 Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Syrian-Turkish Clashes, Jordanian Demonstrations, and Iranian Unrest

by Robert M. Danin Friday, October 5, 2012
A Turkish soldier is reflected on a mirror as he stands guard on the Turkish-Syrian border near the Akcakale border crossing on October 4, 2012 (Sezer/Courtesy Reuters). A Turkish soldier is reflected on a mirror as he stands guard on the Turkish-Syrian border near the Akcakale border crossing on October 4, 2012 (Sezer/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Middle East Developments

Turkey-Syria. Turkey returned fire into Syria today after a new Syrian shell landed in the Turkish town of Akcakale. Today’s fire exchange comes two days after Syrian artillery fire across the border killed five Turkish civilians–a women, her three children, and a relative. Yesterday, while not explicitly naming Syria, the parliament gave the Turkish government blanket authorization to conduct military operations across its borders for the remainder of the year. Turkish prime minister Recep Erdogan reaffirmed his desire for peace with Syria but added that testing Turkey would be a “fatal mistake.” Read more »

The Morsi Meter’s Surprising Results

by Robert M. Danin Thursday, October 4, 2012
Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi attends a meeting at the presidential palace in Cairo on September 18, 2012 (Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters). Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi attends a meeting at the presidential palace in Cairo on September 18, 2012 (Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters).

President Morsi pledged to provide quick solutions to some of Egypt’s daily problems when he took office on June 30. As a candidate, Morsi articulated a detailed sixty-four point plan to improve the lives of Egyptians within his first hundred days in office in areas ranging from security to traffic, bread prices, street cleanliness, and fuel. Read more »