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: Iraq, Egypt, Morocco, Palestine, Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia

by Robert M. Danin
May 2, 2014

An explosion is seen during a car bomb attack at a Shi'ite political organization's rally in Baghdad, April 25, 2014 (al-Sudani/Courtesy Reuters).


“My life? I don’t have one. Explosions, blast walls blocking the ways, no services. And because of all this my business has stopped.” –Firas Younis, an Iraqi retail store owner in Mosul, Iraq

“They’re the same —Sissi and Sabbahi…[both men are] egoists who are obsessed with Nasser’s image.” –Reda Saad, a businessman in the Egyptian city of Fayoum

“My brother had signs of torture on his body and it was clear he was beaten by those who arrested him…When he came home, he no longer had his long hair. Humiliated, he killed himself the next day.” –Khiati Bihaoui on how his brother was rounded up by police cracking down on crime in Morocco

“We’ve been under pressure and under surveillance for a long time. I hope this is the beginning of something new.” –Muhammad, a Hamas supporter, on the Palestinian unity deal

“Anybody who had any dealings with the Brotherhood was taken in…If you greeted a Brotherhood member ten years ago, you were arrested.” –Shabeeb, an Egyptian lawyer representing thirty of his fellow villagers who were recently sentenced to death

“Slowly but surely, the economy is recovering. But overall it is going to take time.” –Ramin Rabii, director of a Tehran-based investment firm

“Turkey is heading rapidly toward a totalitarian regime. One cannot speak of democracy in a country if there is no freedom of the press.” –Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP)

“I love President Bashar and my whole family loves him…I don’t care about the other candidates…I don’t even know their names.” –Rania, a Syrian high school student

“I’ve never seen people interested in hygiene like this before.” –A resident of Jeddah on the response to the MERS virus in Saudi Arabia

“Life here is very hard. People are tired and they hate everything. If you don’t close your shop during prayer time you get lashes, if you smoke you get lashed, if you say one wrong thing you can be executed. Just like that. It’s that easy for ISIS.” –Abu Ibrahim, a member of a recently formed anti-ISIS group in Syria

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