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 "Hamas"

This Week: Syria’s Negotiations, Egypt’s Entrenchment, and Iran’s Inspections

by Robert M. Danin
U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi addresses a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva January 27, 2014 (Balibouse/Courtesy Reuters). U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi addresses a news conference at the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva January 27, 2014 (Balibouse/Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Developments

Syria. The first ever talks between the Syrian opposition and the Assad regime continue in Switzerland, with the Syrian government hinting yesterday it may be willing to accede to the 2012 Geneva I communique as a road map for the future. However, the Damascus government and the Syrian opposition fundamentally disagree over how to implement the document and its call for a political transition in Syria. 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: 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 »

Regional Voices: Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, Israel and Palestine

by Robert M. Danin
Former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri (Eid/Courtesy Reuters). Former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri (Eid/Courtesy Reuters).

“The Lebanese are asking this government to unmask its true face and say to the Arabs and the world that it is the government of Bashar Assad and Hezbollah…in Lebanon.” –Former Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri

“It is a bad decision for the president and bolsters the feeling that his decisions are never thought out and that his advisers are not competent.” –Mustafa Kamel al-Sayyed, a Cairo University professor on the Egyptian courts’ decision to delay parliamentary elections 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 »

Middle East Matters This Week: Assad Stalls, Palestinians Talk, and Iraq Explodes

by Robert M. Danin
Syria's president Bashar al-Assad speaks at the Opera House in Damascus on January 6, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters). Syria's president Bashar al-Assad speaks at the Opera House in Damascus on January 6, 2013 (Courtesy Reuters).

Significant Middle East Developments

Syria. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad gave his first speech in nearly seven months on Sunday, outlining a “peace plan” that ruled out any negotiation with Syria’s armed rebels. UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi called Assad’s speech “uncompromising” and said that the Syrian president could not be part of any transitional government-the closest Brahimi has come to calling for Assad’s resignation; Syria’s foreign ministry called Brahimi “flagrantly biased.” Russian and U.S. diplomats are scheduled to meet with Brahimi tomorrow in Geneva. Read more »

Voices From the Region: Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Iran, Yemen

by Robert M. Danin
Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Sadr takes part in Friday prayers participated by Sunni and Shi'ite Muslim worshippers in a gesture of unity at the Abdul Qadir Gilani Mosque in Baghdad on January 4, 2012 (Al-Sudani/Courtesy Reuters). Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Sadr takes part in Friday prayers participated by Sunni and Shi'ite Muslim worshippers in a gesture of unity at the Abdul Qadir Gilani Mosque in Baghdad on January 4, 2012 (Al-Sudani/Courtesy Reuters).

“The Iraqi spring is coming.” – Moqtada al-Sadr, an Iraqi Shiite leader, expressed support for further demonstrations against Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki in a speech in Najaf on Tuesday

“The failure of the international community, in particular the Security Council, to take concrete actions to stop the blood-letting, shames us all…Collectively, we have fiddled at the edges while Syria burns.” – UN high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay Read more »

A Final Note From 2012

by Robert M. Danin
The late Saudi crown prince Nayef at a news conference in Mecca (Awad/Courtesy Reuters). The late Saudi crown prince Nayef at a news conference in Mecca (Awad/Courtesy Reuters).

Last week I posted my take on the most significant Middle East developments of 2012. The ten developments that I identified, in chronological order, were:

  1. The cold war with Iran heats up
  2. The Muslim Brotherhood’s election in Egypt
  3. Syria’s descent into civil war
  4. The Innocence of Muslims anti-American riots
  5. The killing of U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi
  6. Political unrest in Jordan
  7. The Israel-Hamas November conflict
  8. The United Nations recognition of Palestine as a non-member state
  9. International failure to stop Syria’s bloodshed
  10. The Muslim Brotherhood’s struggle to consolidate power in Egypt
  11. Read more »