from Middle East Matters and Middle East Program

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

January 04, 2013

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Middle East and North Africa

“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

“Mubarak knew everything, big and small.” – Habib Adly, former interior minister under Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak reportedly to a commission investigating the killings during the Egyptian uprsing in early 2011

“No one will change my opinion about Abu Mazen…even if they say I cannot express it because I’m the president. [Israel] must complete the task of reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians without further delay.” – Israeli president Shimon Peres in broadcast remarks

“America is the only nuclear criminal in the whole world. It is the only country in the world, which has used nuclear weapons against innocent people. It is the only country that has the highest quantity of nuclear weapons at its disposal.” – Saeed Jalili, Iran’s supreme national security council secretary

“Everyone knows that Hamas could take over the Palestinian Authority…It could happen after an agreement; it could happen before an agreement, like it happened in Gaza. Therefore, as opposed to the voices that I have heard recently urging me to run forward, to make concessions and to withdraw, I think that the diplomatic process must be managed responsibly and sagaciously and not in undue haste.” – Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday

“The message today is that Fatah cannot be wiped out…Fatah lives, no one can exclude it and it seeks to end the division.” – Amal Hamad, a member of the Fatah on the party’s first mass rally in Gaza in five years

“The former president [Saleh] will not risk going to Italy, which has granted him an entry visa, due to the ease of his being prosecuted there, as well as fears of being assassinated in a country where the mafia are active.” – An official Yemeni source quoted by Asharq Al-Awsat

“The children’s thoughts are in red…Even many of their drawings are done entirely in red.” – Mustafa Shakr, a former principal in Damascus who now runs a school for more than three hundred Syrian children along the Turkish-Syrian border

“The plan at the moment is to help over five million people by 2013. That’s a quarter of the Syrian population being uprooted…It is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world right now, so we need an urgent financial response.” – Panos Moumtzis, the UN regional coordinator for Syrian refugees

“We suffer from the cold and we are poor here but we are safe…When we came here we thought we would stay one week, maybe one month, but it’s been six months and now we learn to live with the uncertainty.” – Abu Abdel Hadi, a Syrian refugee in Jordan