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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 21st, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

CGA – CENTER FOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2013,  6:30 – 7:45 PM

New York University Downtown – Woolworth Building, Room 430
15 Barclay Street (bet. Broadway and Church Street)
New York, NY

Contact Information: Email – scps.global.affairs@nyu.edu

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GLOBAL LEADERS: CONVERSATIONS WITH ALON BEN-MEIR
Alon Ben-Meir, professor of international relations, journalist, and author, hosts leaders from around the world in conversations that probe critical global issues and explore the policies designed to address them.

Featuring:
H.R.H Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United Nations

PRINCE ZEID: A PHOTO TRIBUTE from MaximsNewsNetwork by Dr. Max Stamper. PHOTO:  Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al-Hussein, Permanent Representative of Jordan to the United Nations, addressing the 111th plenary meeting of the General Assembly on the question of equitable representation on an increase in the membership of the Security Council at UN Headquarters. 11 July 2005. United Nations, New York. UN Photo: Rick Bajornas

Prince Zeid is now Jordan’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, a post he held previously from 2000-2007 then was away 2007-2010.

In 2006 Prince Zeid, at 42, was the youngest candidate to run for the position of United Nations Secretary-General, to replace Kofi Annan.

The selection of the S-G normally rotates from one world region to another, and in that year it was Asia’s turn to head the world body, with Jordan being classified as an Asian country by U.N.’s definition, even though it is on the far western edge of the region.

Despite Jordan’s size and location within Asia, the Prince was one of the most highly respected and well-liked candidates in the International Community and his candidacy gave the opportunity to have a Muslim leader as the world’s top diplomat.  However large East- and South-Asian countries prevailed and the selection went to Ban Ki-moon.

From 2007-2010 he was Jordan’s Ambassador to the United States of America; then in 2010 he returned to the UN.

Currently, Prince Zeid is Jordan’s “Sherpa” on Nuclear Security. From September 16, 2010 to March 7, 2012, he was the Chairman of the Country-Specific Configuration (of the UN Peacebuilding Commission) for Liberia.

From 2002-2005, he was the first President of the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. He was also Chairman of the Working Group on the Crime of Aggression at the Review Conference of the Rome Statute in Kampala.

While at the UN he chaired the Consultative Committee for the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) from 2004-2007 and, from 2004-2006, he was the Advisor to the Secretary-General on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by UN Peacekeeping Personnel.

In 1989, he received his commission as an officer in the Jordanian desert police (the successor to the Arab Legion) and saw service with them until 1994.

Prince Zeid holds a B.A. from The Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University (Christ’s College) and has served as an officer in the Jordanian military.

Prince Zeid is a member of the Advisory Committee to the Institute for Historical Justice and Reconciliation.

He was also a member of the World Bank’s Advisory Council for the World Development Report 2011.

His publications include: ‘A Nightmare Avoided: Jordan and Suez 1956’ in Israel Affairs (Winter 1994), and ‘Religious Militancy in the Arab Middle East: Threats and Responses 1979-1988’ in the Cambridge Review of International Affairs (Spring 1989).

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Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein was born 26 January 1964 in Amman, Jordan to Prince Ra’ad bin Zeid head of the Royal Houses of Iraq and Syria and pretender to the Iraqi throne and his Swedish-born wife Margaretha Inga Elisabeth Lind, henceforward known as Majda Raad.

The father, Prince Ra’ad bin Zeid was born 18 February 1936 in Berlin where his father, Prince Zeid (the grandfather) was Iraqi ambassador at the time.

Thus grand-father and -mother were  Prince Zeid bin Hussein, of the Hashemite House, and Princess Fahrelnissa Zeid (Fakhr un-nisa), a Turkish noblewoman. Upon the death of his father on October 18, 1970, he inherited the position as head of the Royal Houses of Iraq and Syria. Ra’ad has lived in London and Paris. The Kingdom of Jordan has confirmed his style as His Royal Highness and Prince.

Raad’s paternal first cousin once removed was Faisal II, the last king of Iraq, who was killed in a bloody coup d’etat on 14 July 1958 (Crown Prince Abd-al-Illah was also killed). Following the regicide, Prince Zeid, Raad’s father, took the representation of Iraqi monarchy as the next heir, and was recognized as the Head of the Royal House of Iraq by his remaining agnatic co-heirs of Jordan. They continued to live in London, where the family resided during the coup, as Zeid was the Iraqi ambassador there.

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The current Ambassador to the UN, Zeid the son of Ra’ad the son of Zeid the son of Hussein Kink of Heijaz, speaks a perfect British English and seems to be steeped in Western thinking.

He feels that troubles in the Middle East could be eased by turning to non-partisan thinkers or scientists, insulated from political elements, who could present ideas to find ways for solutions. Given the depth of feelings, specially when it comes to Jerusalem, there is no other way out – he said.

Now the situation seems to cry for above approach even more then ever. Now we have more construction by Israelis and the threat of a reaction by the Palestinians going to the International Criminal Court – the ICC. If these issues are moved to the courts this is the end of the search for a two-States solution, he said. There was an Arab peace plan, then there was the 2002 blow up in Netanya – and that was it. Israel stated to seek security in a garrison State surrounded by walls. A garrison democracy that does not talk to anyone while there seems a lack of trust in authority on the Arab side. Can the President’s trip to the region on March 20th help now – by starting something? A vehicle that the Arab side could see as acceptable to some issue? He added – a vehicle for “all of us” not just the Palestinians.

Professor Ben-Meir added that the Jewish Community in the US was “holier then though” and has sympathy for the settlements – I do not think that these people understand the hole Israel is digging for itself – he said. Diplomacy cannot solve this. Time has come for the sides to wake up.

The Ambassador thinks that someone could come and declare what every factor should do – this to avoid the going to ICC. Here Ben-Meir reminded that the danger from Iran shows that time is not on the side of the Israelis nor the Palestinians. There will be serious consequences if we do not solve the problems now. A problem he said is that there is so much mediocrity in public officials today. We cannot name ten people we trust, maybe even not five – he said.

Here I had a chance to ask something I was contemplating for a while – the difference between a de facto acceptance of a situation and grudgingly try to do some moves to peace, or rather a recognition de-jure of a situation, and then try to adjust. What if the Arab States that rejected 65 years ago the right of Israel to exist as an independent unit within an Arab world. would declare that they do now recognize this right and accept it?

Above, without being a declaration of Peace, so it does not indeed give up anything of real value, nevertheless removes the psychological obstacle that in 1948 led the Israelis to believe that nothing they would do for peace will help, when considering the absolute negation of their rights to existence as declared by the Arab side.

The Ambassador answered that something big should be contemplated, if not exactly what I suggested, but nevertheless something that can jump-start a new way of seeing the situation – so he thanks for the idea.

Start with a dramatic step he said. Also,  from his own experience as a negotiating intermediary – he would always summarize the common points and write them up as a starting point for next day’s negotiations – this in order to move by incremental steps to show progress.

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I had then further chance to talk with the Ambassador and ended the evening happy that I was in the academic environment of the NYU, considering that actually I had first intended to go this evening to the event at the Asia Society that I posted about earlier in the day. I did not get in there as the public relations office at the Asia Society gives no hoot about people that like to ask questions on the record. The meeting there was seemingly sold out to their regular membership with little access to the press. That meeting had also a good panel and was about Iran, but I doubt that it was as free and forthcoming as our event here.

It seems that with outside help some generic peace plan could be forged for the Middle East.

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