Prospects for a lasting peace in the Middle East: impressions from a trip to Syria, Jordan, and Egypt

by Mary E. Morris


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In the wake of the turbulent events of 1990 and 1991, the states of the Middle East are in the process of redefining their political agendas, their relationships with each other, and their visions of the future. This paper describes the political climate and attitudes of the people of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt as observed during the author's travels and interviews in the Middle East in November 1991. There is a noticeable trend toward democracy throughout the Middle East, but democracy is defined differently in each country, and the pace of reform varies. Despite the widespread desire for it, peace may still be beyond reach because of the rigidity of positions on both sides, differing definitions of the meaning of peace, and the complexity of the issues. Achieving peace in the Middle East, therefore, will involve choices and decisions that do not seem likely today.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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