Robert M. Danin

Middle East Matters

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

Middle East Voices from the UN General Assembly

by Robert M. Danin Friday, September 27, 2013
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 26, 2013 (Segar/Courtesy Reuters).

World leaders converged at the United Nations this week for the sixty-eighth session of the General Assembly. The Middle East was well represented, with numerous heads of states and governments attending from across the region. Middle East Matters has excerpted remarks from Middle Eastern leaders who spoke from the General Assembly’s rostrum this week. The debate concludes next Tuesday. Read more »

This Week: Syria, Iran, and Israeli-Palestinian Diplomacy; Violence in Egypt

by Robert M. Danin Thursday, September 19, 2013
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (L) speaks next to U.N. Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi (C) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after a meeting discussing the ongoing problems in Syria at the United Nations offices in Geneva September 13, 2013 (Downing/Courtesy Reuters).

Syria. Diplomats in New York appeared stymied in their efforts to craft a new United Nations Security resolution calling for the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. The Security Council began discussing a resolution on Tuesday to support last weekend’s U.S.-Russia deal that called for Syria to account for its chemical weapons within one week and for the destruction of its entire arsenal by mid-2014; members are divided over whether or not to include the threat of sanctions or force. Read more »

While Everyone Else Was Looking at Syria

by Robert M. Danin Friday, September 13, 2013
Riot police guard the site of an explosion near the house of Egypt's interior minister at Cairo's Nasr City district September 5, 2013 (Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters)/


Interim president Adly Mansour extended the month-long state of emergency for two more months yesterday. A presidential spokesman explained the extension was due to recent “terrorist activities.” Two car bombs hit an Egyptian military intelligence building in Rafah, Sinai on Wednesday, killing at least eleven people, including six soldiers. Read more »

Voices From the Region: Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, and Bahrain

by Robert M. Danin Friday, September 6, 2013
A Free Syrian Army fighter watches U.S. President Barack Obama's speech with his family in Ghouta, Damascus August 31, 2013 (Abdullah/Courtesy Reuters).

“Obama will strike for the people…The regime also are fighting for the people, and the opposition is fighting for the people. And the people are damned.” –Abdelkader, a municipal employee from Raqqa

“Washington doesn’t understand the Middle East. [Obama’s] image here is of someone who is afraid of getting enmeshed in the machinations of the Middle East…There is no trust in Washington in the area because [people] think Obama is weak.” –Maher Abu-Teyr, a political columnist with Ad-Dustour, a semi-official Jordanian daily newspaper. Read more »

Syria by the Numbers V

by Robert M. Danin Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Sawssan Abdelwahab, who fled Idlib in Syria, walks with her children outside the refugees camp near the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern city of Yayladagi (Bensemra/Courtesy Reuters).

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced today that more than two million refugees have fled the violence in Syria since the beginning of the conflict in March 2011. Antonio Guterres, UN high commissioner, said that, “Syria has become the great tragedy of this century.” He further noted that the crisis is rapidly accelerating; the first million refugees fled over the course of two years, but the second million have mostly fled in the past six months. Read more »