Robert M. Danin

Middle East Matters

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

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Middle East Matters: Voices From the Region

by Robert M. Danin
November 6, 2012

Yousif Muhafdah from the Bahrain Center for Human Rights at an anti-government rally in Bilad al-Qadeem on 19 October, 2012 (Mohammed/Courtesy Reuters).


“In the United States, you have a new elected president every four years. But here we are living with a king and the same prime minster for forty-two years.” – Yousif al-Muhafdah, a Bahraini human rights activist on Friday

“The behavior of the Syrian popular forces  is very similar to that of the Iranian Basij, therefore it is assumed that Iranian forces are present…If we are talking about the transfer and sharing of experience [between Iran and Syria] then it is only natural that such a thing should exist, but we are focusing on the fact that there are no Iranian forces present in Syria.” – Muhammad Reza Naghdi, commander of Iran’s Basij volunteer paramilitary force, said Wednesday according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency

“I guess they saw us as bad guys then, and they see us as the bad guys now…Our reasoning doesn’t sell movie tickets, I assume.” – Abbas Abdi, one of the 1979 Iranian hostage-takers, after watching a bootleg copy of Argo

“Five minutes after, contrary to what the skeptics say, I think a feeling of relief would spread across the region…Iran is not popular in the Arab world, far from it, and some governments in the region, as well as their citizens, have understood that a nuclear armed Iran would be dangerous for them, not just for Israel.” – Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview published last Tuesday with French magazine Paris Match

“This cannot be an opposition represented by people who have many good attributes but who, in many instances, have not been inside Syria for twenty, thirty, forty years…There has to be a representation of those who are in the front lines fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom…We’ve made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition…but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice that needs to be heard.” – U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton said Wednesday during a visit to Croatia

“We haven’t learned anything since the murder. We have here unprecedented political radicalization. We’ve gone farther than ever and now it turns out that the murder was just a stop on the way.” – Rachel Rabin Yaakov, sister of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, speaking seventeen years after her brother’s assassination

“I am going to make war on these people because the interior minister and the leaders of Ennahda have chosen the United States as their god – it is the Americans who are writing the laws and the new constitution.” – Nasreddine Aloui, a Tunisian imam, said in a Thursday night appearance on Ettounsiya television

“The current circumstances require that we bear our responsibilities. We cannot leave the country in vacuum because it may lead to chaos…National issues cannot be resolved through stubbornness and obstinacy but through dialogue that allows reaching [solutions] that fortify Lebanon amid [current] dangerous regional circumstances.” – Lebanese prime minister Najib Miqati said last Tuesday


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