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Sunday April 25, 2010 6:03 PM (EST+7)
ANALYSIS: Middle East peace: So why have we failed?

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RAMALLAH, April 25 (JMCC) - Former Egyptian Ambassador Nabil Fahmy gives his insight on why some peace making efforts have succeeded and others failed.

have drawn many lessons from my years of participation in the Middle East peace negotiations all the way back to 1976. The first is that initiating peace processes or crossing new thresholds are always a function of regional developments--be they the wars of ‘56, ‘67 and ‘73, the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, or peace initiatives such as Egypt's pioneering efforts in the late 70's or the Oslo process. And progress was always contingent on a balance of power between the different parties: be that a configuration of asymmetrical military power, political power or the power to sustain pain and suffering.

Another equally important lesson is that with the exception of the 1991 Madrid peace process, the role of the United States has been generally reactive and important only during the final phases of negotiations. It was late on the ‘73 war, the Oslo process, and successful in the closing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace agreement and adding the frosting to the Jordanian-Israeli one.

A third noteworthy lesson is that the United States' role is generally unsuccessful because its politics bring in parochial domestic concerns to a strategic issue, except in situations where there has been a clear, overriding national interest for the United States which guided its diplomacy towards a clear target. The Nixon-Kissinger efforts after the 1973 war to conclude the Arab-Israeli disengagement agreements and create a stronger American footprint in the Middle East at Soviet expense; the Carter driven Egyptian-Israeli Camp David negotiations that concluded with Egyptian-Israeli peace and consequently no realistic possibility of recurrent comprehensive Arab-Israeli wars; and the Bush-Baker efforts that culminated in the Madrid Conference of 1991 after the liberation of Kuwait because of the need to resettle the Middle East--all three were successful examples of American diplomacy driven by clearly defined national interests...

Read the full article at Foreign Policy Magazine...






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