from Middle East Matters and Middle East Program

Voices From the Region: Jordan, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Israel

January 25, 2013

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“We don’t want old faces. We tried that…We are worried…We can help Jordan not go the same way as Syria and Egypt.” –Khalid Hammad, 28, a lawyer who voted in Amman, in support of a friend, a fellow lawyer who was a first-time candidate

“This assembly has the same credentials of the previous one in its weakness and lack of will in practicing its constitutional role in legislation and making governments accountable.” –Deputy Chief of the Brotherhood Zaki Bani Rusheid dismissing the newly elected Jordanian parliament

“Don’t buy our oil? To hell with you…It’s better if you don’t buy...Ten times more money will head to people’s pockets through the inventions of our scientists.” –Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad addressing a group of Iranians in the western city of Hamedan

“We see in the arenas of Arab regions, men who are ahead of us. They fought for and achieved freedom and democracy…But we remain prisoners of a fake democracy that carries with it the ugliest forms of complex dictatorship, horrible sectarianism practices, and wait-and-see and speculative policies.” –Grand Mufti of Lebanon Sheikh Mohammad Qabbani in a statement

“I am Kurdish, and as a Kurdish citizen I am fighting side to side with the Free Syrian Army, because you cannot find anybody who was not stepped on by the regime, or was not wronged.” –Yousef Haidar, 72, village elder of Alghooz, Syria

 “I didn’t realize until I entered [Syria] and moving around just how much has been destroyed already of the very vital infrastructure for the functioning of a society.” –John Ging, operations director at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in a news conference in Beirut

“If we want to founder from the outset, and embark upon endless internal struggles, then make foreign policy the top priority…If we want the government to be effective and accomplish things, and leave a strong, significant imprint, I think everyone understands the need for domestic changes is dramatic, and that is the order of the day. So leave the foreign issues aside.” –former Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman on Israel Radio

“It’s a national wedding in Jordan, with the bride being the new parliament.” –Amman housewife Basma Edwan, 32, as she enthusiastically cast her ballot

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