Robert M. Danin

Middle East Matters

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

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

by Robert M. Danin
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). 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.

“We are before a tyrannical authority with interests very far from the revolution.” –Gamal Eid, a rights lawyer in Egypt

“And then there is the third side…The criminals. They will take everything from you.” –Ahmed, a Syrian teacher who fled to Lebanon

“Wefaq has an agenda against Bahrain as a state, and thus its comments against Bahrain cannot be taken at face value.” –Samira Rajab, Bahraini minister of information affairs dismissed the opposition group’s condemnation of Bahrain’s newly announced pan-Arab human rights court

“I know that this is not a postponement but a strategic pause to . . . set up for a surprise attack…Of course, people are depressed, and I’m having trouble convincing everyone that there will be a strike.” –Ahmad Nemah, a midlevel Syrian rebel commander

“The price of bread is 300 Syrian pounds on the regime’s side and 65 on [the rebel] side…Yesterday the [rebels] did not allow me to cross with bread so I will try again today.” -Abdo, a 23 year-old accountant, who lives in government-held territory but works in a rebel-controlled area

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