IPI President Terje Rød-Larsen answered wide-ranging questions on CNN Abu Dhabi about politics and conflict resolution in the Middle East.
On the Arab-Israeli peace process, Mr. Rød-Larsen said, “The process is completely stalled” and is at a crossroads, where the two-state solution, long agreed as the way forward, has collapsed, “and there is a much broader canvas opening up.” He went on to say there are now three possible outcomes being discussed: status quo, two-state, or one-state, calling the one-state solution “not very realistic.” He also said if a snap election in Israel did come to be, there are strong arguments in favor of the United States putting out their peace plan and forcing Israel to take a stand on it, or come up with alternatives. He said the US peace plan, “is very close to being finished” but “has been shared with very, very few people.”
While Mr. Rød-Larsen expressed pessimism about the Arab-Israeli peace process, he said some recent events in the region are cause for optimism. “Very recently, the President of Iraq met with the Emir of Kuwait in Kuwait City. This was a country—Iraq, under Saddam Hussain—that invaded Kuwait and killed the brother of the Emir in front of the palace. And look what these two leaders are showing—compassion, forgiveness, and reconciliation. And the Emir of Kuwait is now leading the reconstruction of the work in Iraq.”
Mr. Rød-Larsen also said the fault lines in the Middle East are now being redrawn away from Arab-Israeli and toward Iran-Saudi Arabia. During the 20-minute conversation, Mr. Rød-Larsen discussed Yemen and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, among other topics.
As an example of Mr. Rød-Larsen’s personal and deep ties to the region, CNN host Becky Anderson reminded him that “he may be the only person in the world who has babysat for both Yasser Arafat and Bibi Netanyahu.”