Robert M. Danin

Middle East Matters

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

Middle East Matters This Week: Lebanon’s Sectarian Violence, Qatar’s New Emir, and Egypt’s President Ruminates

by Robert M. Danin Thursday, June 27, 2013
A Lebanese army soldier stands atop of an armoured personnel carrier as he patrols the area near the mosque complex where hardline Sunni cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir was believed to be sheltering with his supporters, in Abra near Sidon, southern Lebanon June 25, 2013 (Hashisho/Courtesy Reuters). A Lebanese army soldier stands atop of an armoured personnel carrier as he patrols the area near the mosque complex where hardline Sunni cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir was believed to be sheltering with his supporters, in Abra near Sidon, southern Lebanon June 25, 2013 (Hashisho/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Lebanon. The Lebanese army defeated the militant followers of radical Sunni cleric Sheik Ahmad al-Assir in Sidon on Tuesday after a violent two-day battle. The clashes ended with military forces storming al-Assir’s mosque complex, where they found a large stockpile of weapons, but were unable to apprehend al-Assir. Read more »

Voices From the Region: Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Iran, and Israel

by Robert M. Danin Friday, June 21, 2013
A Free Syrian Army fighter smokes a cigarette during his break near the frontline in the Al-Sakhour neighborhood of Aleppo, June 21, 2013 (Salman/Courtesy Reuters). A Free Syrian Army fighter smokes a cigarette during his break near the frontline in the Al-Sakhour neighborhood of Aleppo, June 21, 2013 (Salman/Courtesy Reuters).

“What we’ve asked for is not weapons but U.S. leadership.” –a senior Arab official whose government helps fund the Syrian rebels

“When George W. Bush had a 22 percent approval rating, Americans didn’t talk about early presidential elections.” –an aide to Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Iran’s President, Turkey’s Protests, Syria’s Opponents, and Palestine’s Prime Minister

by Robert M. Danin Thursday, June 20, 2013
Iranian president-elect Hassan Rohani gestures to the media during a news conference in Tehran June 17, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters). Iranian president-elect Hassan Rohani gestures to the media during a news conference in Tehran June 17, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Iran. President Obama reacted cautiously to the election of former nuclear negotiator Hassan Rohani to become Iran’s new president. In an interview with Charlie Rose broadcast Monday night, Obama said, “Clearly, you have a hunger within Iran to engage with the international community in a more positive way…And so we’re going to have to continue to see how this develops and how this evolves over the next several weeks, months, years.” Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Syria’s Deaths, Turkey’s Protests, and Egypt’s Water

by Robert M. Danin Thursday, June 13, 2013
Women hold candles as they mourn at a funeral earlier this week in Raqqa province east of Syria May 16, 2013 (Kelze/Courtesy Reuters). Women hold candles as they mourn at a funeral earlier this week in Raqqa province east of Syria May 16, 2013 (Kelze/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Syria. United Nations high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay said today that the Syrian death toll is approaching ninety-three thousand. Syrian rebels attacked the village of Hatlah yesterday, killing at least thirty Shiite villagers and burning homes while shouting sectarian slogans. The raid came one day after two suicide bombers detonated their explosives in central Damascus, killing fourteen people. Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Turkey Broils, Egypt Prosecutes, and Syria Deteriorates

by Robert M. Danin Friday, June 7, 2013
Anti-government protesters try to protect themselves from a water cannon as riot police disperse them during a protest in Ankara June 5, 2013 (Bektas/Courtesy Reuters).. Anti-government protesters try to protect themselves from a water cannon as riot police disperse them during a protest in Ankara June 5, 2013 (Bektas/Courtesy Reuters)..

Significant Developments

Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was welcomed home today from a four-day trip to Africa by thousands of supporters at the airport— the first major show of support by pro-government demonstrators in Turkey since unrest erupted last week. Read more »