Amr Moussa: In five years, ‘you will not recognize’ Mideast

“Two years, three years, five years maximum from now, you will not recognize the same Middle East or the same Arab world,” said Amr Moussa in an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor.

Moussa, who served as foreign minister of Egypt (1991-2001) and secretary-general of the Arab League (2001-2003), reflected on the changes sweeping the region on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate sponsored by the Emirates Policy Center.

Commenting on the demonstrations in Iraq, Moussa said the country is in “a preparatory stage for them to choose their way as Iraqis — the discord between Sunni and Shia is about to fade away.” He added, “I don’t say that it will happen tomorrow, but it will certainly happen in the foreseeable future, which will reflect on Lebanon too.”

Moussa’s optimism about the region includes Egypt, which he said needs a program of “comprehensive reform.”

“The agenda of Egypt should be reform — and we need a comprehensive reform,” he said. “Needless to say that economic reform is so important, but reform in education and in other fields is also necessary, vital. And all this needs stability, and Egypt is situated in the heart of a highly messy region.”

With regard to the current state of emergency, Moussa said, “The fact that Egypt has security and is under tight control is not negative but positive,” so that children can go to school and people can live their lives without fear. He went on, however, “I have to look to the future, and the future needs a different policy.”

Moussa called for the United States to adopt “a new kind of policy” toward the region, focused on “trade and … this mingling interaction between civilizations,” adding, “We all respect America as the country with the best universities, with the best hospitals, with the best everything. It has our admiration, at least my admiration.”

“We are in the 21st century. The card of buying armaments has been burned up, finished,” he said.

Moussa praised the mediation of the United States leading to last week’s joint statement among Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, the World Bank and the United States on next steps toward an agreement on cooperation on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

“Such roles played by United States rebuild, contribute and rebuild the image of the American administration, in particular the [Donald] Trump administration, after so many question marks,“ he said.

read the whole interview on Al Monitor