The Middle East continues to experience unprecedented upheaval. In Syria, the Assad regime has implemented a violent crackdown on protesters that has drawn strong condemnation from the U.S. government and resulted in the imposition of sanctions against the regime. Speaking on the Diane Rehm Show, Carnegie’s Michele Dunne explained that Obama’s statement condemning the Syrian government was intended to “to show a U.S. audience that the administration is doing something and to show the Syrian people that Assad regime is losing any support it made have had from the U.S.”

International attention is also focused on the unrest occurring in Libya. Dunne argued that while the current situation in Libya is not good for the United States, “it could have been much worse.” She pointed out that Qaddafi was threatening to initiate a violent crackdown on rebels in Benghazi that would have resulted in the loss of thousands of lives.

Turning to Yemen, Dunne said that there seems to be an end in sight. The Gulf Cooperation Council, President Saleh, and the Yemeni opposition parties have agreed on a plan for Saleh to abdicate power. However, she pointed out that this plan has not placated the protesters on the street, who have seen Saleh break promises in the past. The outcome in Yemen, like that in many countries across the region, remains unclear, Dunne concluded.