The Arab Center: The Promise of Moderation: Moderation and the Search for Peace in the Middle East
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In his book, he reveals the inside story of how Arab moderates came to this impasse, and argues forcefully for policy changes — by America, Arab states, and Israel — to make a moderate future more possible in the Middle East. In his two decades of high-level diplomacy, Muasher was a first-hand participant in the Madrid peace negotiations, the peace between Jordan and Israel, U.
He also spearheaded the National Reform Agenda in Jordan and worked to coax Arab governments to commit to democratic reforms. The Reut bookstore offers insights into the canon of books most relevant to the policy challenges facing the Government of Israel. Your purchase from the Reut bookstore helps to support the Reut Institute.
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The Arab Center: The Promise of Moderation
Marwan Muasher, a prominent Jordanian diplomat, has been instrumental in shaping Middle East peace efforts for nearly twenty years. Here he recounts t Marwan Muasher, a prominent Jordanian diplomat, has been instrumental in shaping Middle East peace efforts for nearly twenty years. Here he recounts the behind-the-scenes details of diplomatic ventures over the past two decades, including such recent undertakings as the Arab Peace Initiative and the Middle East Road Map. He assesses how the middle road approach to reform is faring and explains why current tactics used by the West to deal with Islamic groups are doomed to failure.
He examines why the Arab Center has made so little progress and which Arab, Israeli, and American policies need rethinking. Part memoir and part analysis, this book reveals the human side of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Hardcover , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Arab Center , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Sep 06, Phoenix rated it liked it Shelves: The Peripheral Nature of a Man in the Middle Marwan Muashar's credentials include having served as a negotiator in the Arab-Israeli peace process, 10 months as the first Jordanian ambassador to Israel which lead to stint as the ambassador to US and then Jordanian Foreign Minister and his involvement in the Saudi Peace Initiatives.
John M. Olin Institute for Strategic Studies :: Harvard University
As such this diplomatic autobiography fascinates, as these things do, in what is said, how it is said, what is not said and how it is omitted. As such one can be gladde The Peripheral Nature of a Man in the Middle Marwan Muashar's credentials include having served as a negotiator in the Arab-Israeli peace process, 10 months as the first Jordanian ambassador to Israel which lead to stint as the ambassador to US and then Jordanian Foreign Minister and his involvement in the Saudi Peace Initiatives. As such one can be gladdened by Muashar's hopes, enriched by comprehending his viewpoint, and but also frustrating at times given that he knows and we must understand that he lives in a society where every word and nuance must be carefully phrased and guarded.
In chapter 2 he misses or glosses over a number of important events, the assassination of King Abdullah I by agents of the Mufti, Iraqi coupe of where the US sent troops and material to shore up King Hussein, sending them through Israel which was happy to cooperate as the Saudis had refused the use of their bases and airspace, the events of Black September where Arafat attempted a coup in Jordan and the King responded by killing some , Palestinian supporters and Jordan's rejection of the Allon plan, not in favour of Palestinian control, but because Hussein wanted to keep the territory to himself However one appreciates Muashar's forthrightness pp26 where he outlines the two Jordanian schools of thought at the time.
One group believed that creating a Palestinian state would enhance Jordanian security as it would kill the idea of Jordan as an alternative Palestine. The other feared that a Palestinian state that was too weak would "turn east" to solve its problems, most likely by attacking Jordan.
This cautionary approach seems entirely reasonable. The book continues with Muashar's appointment as Jordan's 1st Ambassador to Israel, reluctantly accepted as he feels a more suitable representative would be someone with more military experience and from a more prominent Muslim tribe, which informs us about the importance family and tribal affiliation in Jordan's political arena.
It's quite enjoyable to read his impressions of Israeli society and how he extends his role to include reaching out to Israeli Arabs and his acknowledgement of Israeli trepidation of the same.
Arguably he does misread Israeli policy consistent with general Arab perceptions, but this is not unexpected, but he also observes that both Israelis and Palestinians have a profound and existential mistrust of each other. The coverage of King Hussein's commitment to negotiations even as he suffered through the last stages of cancer is heartwarming, though the details of his last minute change of heart wrt succession of his brother Prince Hassan in favour of son Abdullah could have used more depth - we are left only with the sense that Hassan had overstepped propriety by too much exposure in the Jordanian media during Hussein's final weeks and this alone accounted for the King's displeasure; though Muashar hints at more.
He is also very forthcoming about Assad's well known role as a spoiler in the negotiating process, less so about Qaddafi, and how Arafat's unwillingness and inability to give up terror damaged the credibility Jordanian-Saudi Peace initiative. He discusses the struggle over the finessing of terms of the proposal in order to make it acceptable to the Arabs, but omits that the Palestinians themselves do not sign on.
He does list Israeli reservations, but dismisses their concerns - as such the Plan comes across as a series of inflexible demands rather than a basis for discussion. Like most diplomatic documents there are several unsettling ambiguities. The initiative includes a call for "normal" relations - but considering the norm of Arab countries with each other including high protective trade tariffs this is less attractive than it appears - something more specific would need to be negotiated. Israel is concerned that it might be flooded by the descendents of Palestinian refugees - apparently so are Lebanon, Jordan and other Arab countries as well, and Muashar discusses a sub clause of exception just for the Arabs, but not for Israel.
The appendix at the back includes the terms of the Initiative and also the final Clinton proposal, and it is instructive to compare the two. Yet there are times when he does not connect all the dots. He refers to the Israeli west bank incursion of March 12, , but neglects to mention the wave of terrorism emanating from Jenin, in fact only reports the reaction to initial Arab accounts of the Israeli response which were later shown to be false.
He mentions the revenge assassination of Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi by a radical Palestinian group the PFLP but omits that the assassins were kept hidden from Israeli authorities by Arafat himself in the Muqatta.
In his visit with Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, Hariri privately agrees with Muashar that the Lebanese position on refugees is inconsistent with Arab agreement on UN resolution pp but that his hands are tied by an "unreasonable President" Lahoud , indicating the sad truth that Lahoud was installed and kept in power by Assad and Syrian intelligence, the aforementioned spoiler. Hariri was assassinated in , likely by Syria and Hiz b'Allah. It's not a book for the uninitiated as one does need to read between the lines. I recommend Heykal's Secret Channels: One is impressed by Muashar's commitment to support a moderate non-violent resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict just as one appreciates that his realization that should the moderate middle fail to fulfill Arab expectations that it too is threatened with extinction by more radical elements, which is what Jordan faces today, exacerbated by the large influx of Iraqi and Syrian refugees being kept in UN refugee camps.
His views on the need and urgency of Arab social reforms, expressed in the second last chapter, are quite interesting. The opinions here are my own and your mileage may vary. Jul 23, Yas rated it it was ok.
The author in this book acts as an advocate for a fictitious "Arab center", which is compromised of a tripartite of states namely; Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The book offers interesting details and anecdotes about the writer's occupation as the first Jordanian ambassador to Is The author in this book acts as an advocate for a fictitious "Arab center", which is compromised of a tripartite of states namely; Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
The book offers interesting details and anecdotes about the writer's occupation as the first Jordanian ambassador to Israel. It also frequently mentions the tensions between Muasher and the intransigent Syrian foriegn policy minister.
Muasher's arab center outlook and advocacy is unconvincing. What's also equally flimsy is the dubious claim that the King is receptive to reformation against the entrenchment of conservative forces in the country, something that he unfortunately repeats in the following book.