Robert M. Danin

Middle East Matters

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

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Showing posts for "Algeria"

This Week: Syria’s Fighting and Spillover Into Lebanon and Jordan

by Robert M. Danin
Saudi Intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who stepped down this week (Bourg/Courtesy Reuters). Saudi Intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who stepped down this week (Bourg/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Syria. Regime fighters reportedly made significant progress against opposition forces in Homs this week, as Syrian military forces began entering rebel districts on Monday, stepping up one of the strongest bombardments in months. Homs is considered the last main opposition stronghold in central Syria. Meanwhile, the Syrian regime and opposition representatives traded new accusations of using chemical weapons in an attack on the village of Kfar Zeita last Friday. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, responded to reports of a chlorine gas attack on Sunday, saying, “So far it’s unsubstantiated…we will do everything in our power to establish what has happened and then consider possible steps in response.” Read more »

Voices From the Region: Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Iraq, Algeria, and Lebanon

by Robert M. Danin
People wave banners in a demonstration in Cairo April 10, 2014 (El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters). People wave banners in a demonstration in Cairo April 10, 2014 (El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters).

“They call it aid, but I don’t consider it aid…I consider it buying time and giving people the illusion that there is aid when really there is not.” –Brigadier General Asaad al-Zoabi, a Syrian fighter pilot who defected and joined the opposition Read more »

This Week: Syria’s Fighting, Iran’s Windfall, and Iraq’s Violence

by Robert M. Danin
A member of Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra mans a checkpoint on the border crossing between Syria and Jordan, which they claim to have taken control of, in Daraa December 26, 2013 (Khassawneh/Courtesy Reuters). A member of Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra mans a checkpoint on the border crossing between Syria and Jordan, which they claim to have taken control of, in Daraa December 26, 2013 (Khassawneh/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Syria. The United Nations and Syria agreed today to allow humanitarian aid into the besieged old city of Homs, and to allow women and children safe passage out. The agreement came just hours after Syrian rebels announced a new campaign in Aleppo against government forces which escalated its air assault earlier this week. Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Syrian Pre-Negotiations and Iranian Elections

by Robert M. Danin
A Syrian refugee girl walks inside the Mrajeeb Al Fhood refugee camp, 20 km (12.4 miles) east of the city of Zarqa April 29, 2013 (Hamed/Courtesy Reuters).. A Syrian refugee girl walks inside the Mrajeeb Al Fhood refugee camp, 20 km (12.4 miles) east of the city of Zarqa April 29, 2013 (Hamed/Courtesy Reuters)..

Significant Developments

Syria. Moaz al-Khatib, the outgoing leader of the Syrian National Coalition, announced an initiative on Facebook today, proposing a safe exit for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Khatib’s proposal would give Assad twenty days to accept a “peaceful transition of authority,” after which he would have a month to hand over power to either Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi or Vice President Faruq al-Shara’a to then rule Syria for a transitional period of one hundred days. Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Egypt’s Vote and Syria’s Massacre

by Robert M. Danin
A man cleans the scene of the burnt campaign headquarters of presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq in Cairo on May 29, 2012 (Mohammed Salem/Courtesy Reuters). A man cleans the scene of the burnt campaign headquarters of presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq in Cairo on May 29, 2012 (Mohammed Salem/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Middle East Developments

Egypt. The Presidential Elections Commission officially announced Monday that there will be a run-off between Mohammed Morsi and Ahmed Shafiq for the presidency. The announcement has been greeted with dismay by many revolution supporters, with thousands taking to the streets, setting Shafiq’s Cairo headquarters on fire just hours later. The low turnout rate of 46 percent for the first round is expected to decrease for the run-offs scheduled on June 16-17 as many parties are threatening to boycott. Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Israel’s Surprise Unity Agreement, Further Disunity in Syria

by Robert M. Danin
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and new Kadima head Shaul Mofaz give a joint press conferece on May 8, 2012 (Ammar Awad/Courtesy Reuters). Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and new Kadima head Shaul Mofaz give a joint press conferece on May 8, 2012 (Ammar Awad/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Middle East Developments

Israel. In a move that caught virtually all Israelis by surprise, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced early Tuesday morning that he was forming a new unity government with the Kadima party and its new leader Shaul Mofaz (my Tuesday morning analysis available here). Israelis had been bracing for new national elections. As Netanyahu and Mofaz met secretly to hammer out the deal on Monday night, Knesset members were working to dissolve the government in preparation for a likely September 4 vote. Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Syria, Egypt, Algeria, and More

by Robert M. Danin
U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton confers with British foreign minister William Hague before a UN Security Council meeting at the United Nations in New York on January 31, 2012 (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters). U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton confers with British foreign minister William Hague before a UN Security Council meeting at the United Nations in New York on January 31, 2012 (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Middle East Developments

Syria. Diplomatic activity shifted to New York with foreign ministers, including Secretary of State Clinton, convening on Tuesday at the UN Security Council in attempts to forge a consensus over next steps to address the Syrian crisis. Russia declared its intent to veto any resolution that explicitly calls for regime change, sanctions, or an arms embargo. Read more »