Robert M. Danin

Middle East Matters

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

Middle East Matters This Week: Retaliatory Talk Against Syria, Egypt’s Crackdown Intensifies

by Robert M. Danin Thursday, August 29, 2013
U.S. president Barack Obama (Downing/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. president Barack Obama (Downing/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Syria. White House officials plan to brief members of Congress this evening on the situation in Syria after more than one hundred U.S. representatives signed a letter yesterday calling for President Obama to put the use of force against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government to a vote. Meanwhile, Britain and France called for a delay today in taking military action against the Syrian government until the UN inspectors currently on the ground finish their report. Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Alleged Syrian Chemical Weapons Use, Mubarak Leaves Prison in Egypt

by Robert M. Danin Thursday, August 22, 2013
A man holds the body of a dead child among bodies of people activists say were killed by nerve gas in the Ghouta region, in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus August 21, 2013 (Khabieh/Courtesy Reuters). A man holds the body of a dead child among bodies of people activists say were killed by nerve gas in the Ghouta region, in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus August 21, 2013 (Khabieh/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Syria. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius called today for a forceful international response  to reports that the Syrian regime used chemical weapons outside Damascus yesterday. However, Fabius added that “there is no question of sending troops on the ground.” Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Egypt’s Brutal Crackdown, Syrian-Related Diplomacy, and Israelis and Palestinians Negotiate

by Robert M. Danin Thursday, August 15, 2013
Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi carry a man who was wounded by rubber bullets and affected by tear gas during clashes with riot police on the Sixth of October Bridge over the Ramsis square area in central Cairo July 15, 2013 (Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters). Supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi carry a man who was wounded by rubber bullets and affected by tear gas during clashes with riot police on the Sixth of October Bridge over the Ramsis square area in central Cairo July 15, 2013 (Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Egypt. President Barack Obama today strongly condemned the Egyptian military’s use of force and announced the cancellation of next month’s joint U.S.-Egyptian “Bright Star” military exercise. Obama was reacting to Egypt’s crackdown on supporters of deposed president Mohammad Morsi last night that left over five hundred people dead and thousands injured. The assault on the protest encampments prompted retaliatory attacks against government buildings.  Interim vice president Mohammad ElBaradei resigned last night over the continuing violence. Secretary of State John Kerry last night called the events “deplorable” and “counter to Egyptian aspirations for peace, inclusion, and genuine democracy.” The Morsi supporters had been camped out since the Egyptian military removed President Morsi from power on July 3. Read more »

The Politics of Energy: What Morsi’s Fall Means for Jordan

by Guest Blogger for Robert M. Danin Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Flames rise from an Egyptian pipeline distribution station after an attack in the Sinai peninsula July 12, 2011 (Courtesy Reuters). Flames rise from an Egyptian pipeline distribution station after an attack in the Sinai peninsula July 12, 2011 (Courtesy Reuters).

This post is written by Sarah Craig, a Council on Foreign Relations research intern from Princeton University.

Jordan’s king Abdullah was the first foreign head of state to visit Egypt after the military’s July 3 removal of President Mohammad Morsi. Abdullah had spoken publicly against the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan and clearly welcomed its fall in Egypt, congratulating both the army and interim president Adly Mansour on the leadership changes. Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Damascene Violence, Israeli Settlements, Egyptian protests, and Iranian Talks About Talks

by Robert M. Danin Thursday, August 8, 2013
Syria's president Bashar al-Assad (C) chats with military personnel (SANA/Courtesy Reuters). Syria's president Bashar al-Assad (C) chats with military personnel (SANA/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Syria. Syrian officials denied rebel claims that they hit part of President Bashar al-Assad’s motorcade with artillery shells near his home in Damascus today. The president appeared on national television later in the day. If confirmed, today’s attack would be one of the most direct against Assad in two years of fighting. Read more »

Voices From Egypt

by Robert M. Danin Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi shout slogans during a march from Al-Fath Mosque to the defence ministry, in Cairo July 30, 2013 (El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters). Supporters of deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi shout slogans during a march from Al-Fath Mosque to the defence ministry, in Cairo July 30, 2013 (El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters).

“On such a dark day, a red day, a black day, people wake up to something that never happened in Egyptian history. We have martyrs with the bullets of the Egyptian army.” –Gamal Abdel-Salam of the doctors’ syndicate at a press conference held in a field hospital Read more »

Voices From Syria

by Robert M. Danin Sunday, August 4, 2013
Free Syrian Army fighters smoke waterpipes near the Menagh military airport, in Aleppo's countryside January 25, 2013 (Hassano/Courtesy Reuters).. Free Syrian Army fighters smoke waterpipes near the Menagh military airport, in Aleppo's countryside January 25, 2013 (Hassano/Courtesy Reuters)..

“Ramadan used to be a time for me to read the Quran, pray and help people with charity but now we are fighting just to get bread, food and enough money to live ourselves,” –Abu Marwan, a 50-year-old minibus driver from Zahara, a neighborhood in southern Damascus. Read more »