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 "Gaza"

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: Syrian Pre-Negotiations, Egyptian Convictions, and more U.S. Shuttle Diplomacy

by Robert M. Danin
Members of Syrian opposition groups stand after visiting the former mosque of Cordoba during a consultative meeting in Cordoba, southern Spain January 9, 2014 (del Pozo/Courtesy Reuters). Members of Syrian opposition groups stand after visiting the former mosque of Cordoba during a consultative meeting in Cordoba, southern Spain January 9, 2014 (del Pozo/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Syria. Representatives from various Syrian opposition groups– including some Islamist factions– met in Cordoba, Spain today to try to forge common ground before the scheduled peace talks with the Assad regime on January 22 in Switzerland. Secretary of State John Kerry floated the idea earlier this week that Iran could play a role from the sidelines, saying that, “Can their mission that is already in Geneva…be there in order to help the process? It may be that there are ways that could happen.” Read more »

This Week: Syria Destroys CW Facilities, Egypt Continues Crackdown, and Washington Hosts Maliki

by Robert M. Danin
Workers dressed in protective clothes during a chemical weapons demonstration (Bimmer/Courtesy Reuters). Workers dressed in protective clothes during a chemical weapons demonstration (Bimmer/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Syria. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced today that Syria had “completed rendering inoperable its chemical weapons production and assembly installations,” ahead of schedule. Late last night, a Syrian government airbase in Latakia was destroyed in a missile attack of unknown national origin launched from the Mediterranean. The airbase housed Russian surface to air missiles and a radar center. Read more »

This Week: Iran Negotiations, Syria Pre-Negotiations, and Egypt Moots Legislation

by Robert M. Danin
Delegations from Iran, the United States, and other world powers sit before the start of two days of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva October 15, 2013 (Coffrini/Courtesy Reuters). Delegations from Iran, the United States, and other world powers sit before the start of two days of closed-door nuclear talks at the United Nations offices in Geneva October 15, 2013 (Coffrini/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Iran. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU negotiator Catherine Ashton issued a joint statement yesterday, following talks between the P5+1 countries and Iran, announcing that further talks would continue on November 7 in Geneva. Read more »

Regional Voices: Egypt, Syria, Israel, and Palestine

by Robert M. Danin
Pope Tawadros II, the 118th Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark Cathedral (El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters). Pope Tawadros II, the 118th Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of St. Mark Cathedral (El Ghany/Courtesy Reuters).

“Enough already of formations, committees and groups and whatever else…We want action not words and, let me say this, there are many names and committees but there is no action on the ground.” -Coptic pope Tawadros II’s reaction to Egypt president Mohammed Morsi’s handling of the attack against Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Lebanon, Iran, Syria, and Israel-Palestine

by Robert M. Danin
Lebanese former minister Tammam Salam attends a meeting for pro-WMarch 14 political coalition in Beirut April 4, 2013 (Azakir/Courtesy Reuters). Lebanese former minister Tammam Salam attends a meeting for pro-WMarch 14 political coalition in Beirut April 4, 2013 (Azakir/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Lebanon. Tamam Salam, a Lebanese member of Parliament and former minister of culture, has emerged as the consensus candidate to become Lebanon’s next prime minister. Lebanese president Michael Sleiman began two days of consultation today to nominate the successor to Najib Mikati, who resigned on March 22. Salam has already been endorsed by the Western-leaning March 14 coalition and Walid Jumblatt, the leader of the Druze bloc. Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Iranian Negotiations, Syrian Deterioration, and Palestinian Violence

by Robert M. Danin
Participants sit at a table during talks on Iran's nuclear program in Almaty on February 26, 2013 (Filippov/Courtesy Reuters).. Participants sit at a table during talks on Iran's nuclear program in Almaty on February 26, 2013 (Filippov/Courtesy Reuters)..

Voices From the Region: Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia, Syria, Iran, Libya, and Yemen

by Robert M. Danin
Former Arab League chief Amre Moussa (Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters). Former Arab League chief Amre Moussa (Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters).

“We do not talk about Morsi’s legitimacy, but rather about his credibility in dealing with the problems of the ordinary Egyptian citizen…We are against his policies, and just as he is legitimate, the opposition is too.” –Former Arab League chief Amre Moussa speaking on behalf of the National Salvation Front Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Struggles in Tunisia, Egypt, and Syria

by Robert M. Danin
Tunisian prime minister Hamadi Jebali arrives for a round of consultations with other political parties at the Carthage Palace in Tunis, February 15, 2013 (Mili/Courtesy Reuters). Tunisian prime minister Hamadi Jebali arrives for a round of consultations with other political parties at the Carthage Palace in Tunis, February 15, 2013 (Mili/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Tunisia. Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali pledged to announce a government of technocrats tomorrow, following intensive consultations with a variety of party leaders today. Jebali recently sacked his cabinet and called for new elections after the assassination of prominent opposition leader Chokri Belaid on February 6. Read more »

Middle East Matters This Week: Israel Strikes Syria, Egypt Seeks Unity, and Iran Upgrades Enrichment

by Robert M. Danin
A protester opposing Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi holds a homemade gun during clashes with riot police, along Qasr Al Nil bridge in Cairo on January 27, 2013 (Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters). A protester opposing Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi holds a homemade gun during clashes with riot police, along Qasr Al Nil bridge in Cairo on January 27, 2013 (Dalsh/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Syria. Israel reportedly conducted an airstrike inside Syria on Wednesday for the first time since 2007, igniting protests from the Assad regime as well as Syria’s allies Iran, Russia, and Hezbollah. Conflicting reports have emerged about the target; U.S., Israeli, and Lebanese sources have been quoted claiming Israel struck a convoy carrying advanced SA-17 anti-aircraft weapons heading into Lebanon. Read more »