A fascinating discussion with Middle East experts Dr. Samir Altaqi, Director General, Orient Research Center Center, Dubai, UAE and Mark Danner.
Dr. Altaqi is a respected figure in the civil opposition movement to the government of Syria. He is a former member of the Syrian Parliament and Director of the Orient Center for International Studies, Damascus. A moderate Sunni Muslim with a commitment to inter-faith dialog, Dr. Altaqi has taught at Western universities and is a leading expert on Syrian politics and culture who is frequently interviewed and cited by international media. While serving as an advisor to the President Assad, he presented the findings of an in-depth study that he wrote in which he identified key warning indicators that Syria was facing a popular uprising. This was one year before protests began. Assad criticized and dismissed Dr. Altaqi’s assessment, leading Dr. Altaqi to go into exile in Dubai out of fear for his safety. Dr. Altaqi is a heart surgeon by training.
Mr. Danner is an authority on Middle East affairs with a focus on Lebanese – Syrian affairs. He is active in inter-faith dialog as inspired by the lives of Blessed Charles de Foucauld and Dom Christian de Chergue of Algeria, and the life and works of Louis Massignon. Mr. Danner has lived, worked and studied in the Middle East, and received his M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University.