Arab moderates who embrace a future of regional peace and democracy appear to be losing ground in today’s Middle East. They are pushed to the political margins by radicals strengthened by chaos in Iraq and the failure of Arab-Israeli peacemaking, as well as by autocratic elites determined to hold onto power and privilege.
On June 16, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosted Marwan Muasher, former foreign minister and deputy prime minister of Jordan, for a discussion of his new book The Arab Center: The Promise of Moderation (Yale University Press, 2008). 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.S.—Arab dialogues, and Arab League summits. He also spearheaded the National Reform Agenda in Jordan and worked to coax Arab governments to commit to democratic reforms.
Muasher was joined by Thomas L. Friedman, the three-time Pulitzer prize-winning columnist of the New York Times and author of From Beirut to Jerusalem, The World Is Flat and his newest work Hot, Flat, and Crowded. Saban Center Director and Brookings Senior Fellow Martin Indyk provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion.