The Arab Center


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The Promise of Moderation

Marwan Muasher

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An Arab diplomat’s inside perspective on the Arab-Israeli conflict and what must be done to resolve the continuing crisis in the Middle East.

Marwan Muasher, a prominent Jordanian diplomat, has been instrumental in shaping Middle East peace efforts for nearly twenty years. He served as Jordan’s first ambassador to Israel and was also ambassador to the United States, spokesperson at peace talks in Madrid and Washington, minister of foreign affairs, and deputy prime minister in charge of reform. 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.

Muasher’s insights into internal Arab politics and the successes and failures of the Arab Center are uniquely informed and deeply felt. 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. It is essential reading for all who share the hope that moderate, pragmatic Arab voices will be heard in today’s vitriolic debates over how to achieve an enduring peace in the Middle East.

Marwan Muasher has held many high-level positions within the government of Jordan, including Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Ambassador to the United States, and first Jordanian Ambassador to Israel.

Marwan Muasher is scheduled to make the following appearances (please note that Radio and TV broadcasts are subject to change):

Wednesday, May 28, 11AM-12PM ET, NPR Diane Rehm Show; Wednesday, June 11, 12-1PM ET, WILL Radio (Illinois Public Radio); Wednesday, June 11, 8PM ET, ABC broadcasting (Australia); Friday, June 13, 12:30PM, Washington DC, Brookings Institution with Tom Friedman,; Tuesday, June 17, 8AM, New York, Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs breakfast,; Tuesday, June 17, WNYC Leonard Lopate Show; Tuesday, July 8, 6PM, Commonwealth Club San Francisco Featured Event,; Tuesday, July 8, 10-11AM, KQED Forum; Thursday, July 31, 7PM, Washington DC, Politics and Prose,; Wednesday, September 10, 5:30PM, Chicago Council on Global Affairs,; Tuesday, September 30, Affairs Council, Hampton Roads VA.

“To be constructive, rational, and moderate in the Arab Middle East may be the most dangerous approach of all; Muasher therefore exhibits courage as well as intellectual energy applied toward making a positive
contribution.”—­Charles Hill, Diplomat-in-Residence, Yale University

“Must reading for those who recognize that a comprehensive strategic approach to the Middle East is indispensable to a more stable and secure U.S. and world.”—Mara Rudman, former Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Chief of Staff for the National Security Council

"Few Arab thinkers are better positioned to discuss the challenge to moderation in the Middle East, and I hope that Marwan Muasher's distinguished voice of reason and pragmatism will be heard well beyond our region."—His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan

“This book is a must read to understand how to address the challenges facing the Middle East today.”—President Bill Clinton

"Marwan Muasher is not just a witness, but also an active participant and a shaper of realities in the Middle East. His book is indeed a valuable and unique contribution to the field with insights, inside information, and a superb grasp of history in the making. Such an authentic Arab voice from within, writing in English to engage a Western readership, is an opportunity not to be missed.  I have developed the greatest respect for his integrity, courage, and humanity—precisely those qualities that make his book exceptional."—Hanan Ashrawi

"A fascinating inside look by a 50-year-old Arab statesman, the first to write a book in English, who was privy to all the secret machinations since the age of 30."—Arnaud de Borchgrave, UPI Editor-at-Large


"Marwan Muasher, a former Jordanian deputy prime minister and foreign minister, has just published The Arab Center: The Promise of Moderation. It's one of the most important books on the Middle East, and is required reading for everyone interested in finding solutions to the many problems the region faces today. . . . Arab leaders, and America's next president, would do well to heed the experiences and advice of an Arab statesman."—Scott MacLeod,Time's Middle East Blog by Cairo Bureau Chief 


"Watching the news from Lebanon, it's poignant to read the title of a new memoir by Jordan's former foreign minister, Marwan Muasher, The Arab Center: ThePromise of Moderation. The daily headlines tell us that centrist Arabs such as Muasher are becoming an endangered species. . . . Muasher's book raises what may be the most damning criticism of the Bush administration's Middle East policy -- that it has unwittingly undercut the very people the United States wanted most to help. In Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine and even Jordan, the moderate voices in the center are weaker now than they were when President Bush took office in 2001. The United States has exposed its allies to danger and has not had the diplomatic skills to create a stable new order."—David Ignatius, Washington Post

"Marwan Muasher, Jordan's former foreign minister has broken the tradition of silence with an account of his time in office, written in English and soon to be translated into Arabic. . . . One of [The Arab Center's] important contributions . . . is to question the meaning of an Arab 'moderate' and the selective application of moderation to a single issue—the pursuit of a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. . . . If the 'Arab Center' wants to keep power, [Muasher] rightly concludes, 'it must also share it'."—Roula Khalaf, Financial Times

"A gem of memoir as history, The Arab Center traces the torturous negotiations among Israel, the Palestinians, the Arab states, and the outside world from 1991 to 2004, with well-chosen documents appended."—L. Carl Brown, Foreign Affairs

"[Muasher's] account adds a rare Arab voice to the English-language literature on the subject. . . . For those interested in the inner workings of international relations, Muasher weaves amusing and revealing commentary throughout the narrative of his conflicts with the then-Syrian foreign minister Farouq al Sharaa. And he pulls no punches when describing the Syrian style of negotiating."—Kristen Gillespie, The National

"The Arab Center provides a rare peek into several core determinants of the condition of Arab societies and the wider Middle East. . . . This book is worth reading for both the valor and the failures it describes, and for outlining the vulnerable state of Arab moderation in a region in which extremism is the hallmark of Arabs, Israelis, Iranians and Americans alike. . . . It has the credibility, factual specificity and reflective, often self-critical, analysis that official government statements and authorized histories usually lack."—Rami G. Khouri, Middle East Times

"In this painstakingly fair-minded and sensible memoir [Muasher] tries to show why there is still no solution to the Palestinan-Israeli imbroglio. . . . His tome is a litany of disappointment and frustration, studded with plenty of useful insights and anecdotes. Yet it is not without hope; the outline of a two-state solution is still there for all to see. The next American president would do well to peruse Mr. Muasher's offering."—The Economist

"A gem of memoir as history. . . . The reader will relish the many intimate details presented."—Carl L. Brown, Foreign Affairs

"The Arab Center is in part a political memoir, in part an agenda for a solution to today's eight-year stagnation of the Arab-Israeli peace process. . . . Muasher makes a strenuous call for US reinvestment in the peace process. Already blueprints are in place, he feels and time is running out."—Colin Thubron, New York Review of Books

"[A] thoughtful, balanced, and relentlessly hopeful memoir."—Scott Appleby, Commonweal
ISBN: 9780300151145
Publication Date: June 30, 2009
336 pages, 5 13/16 x 9 1/16
21 b/w illus. + 4 maps
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