Amr Moussa’s book and his understanding of the region

Mashari Althaydi

Published: Updated:

Veteran Egyptian diplomat Amr Moussa recently published his first memoirs. The book stirred controversy and sparked political and media battles.

Moussa was an envoy and minister and also former chief of the Arab League. As he has occupied many positions, he knows a lot about the region’s secrets and he is actually a part of many such secrets.

He did not write his memoirs after decades of retirement as he has been active during Egypt’s recent developments when he headed the committee to draft a new constitution after the end of the Brotherhood’s and Mubarak’s rule. His memoirs angered some people, particularly Gamal Abdel Nasser’s supporters, and perhaps also Anwar al-Sadat’s supporters.

Also read: Gamal Abdelnasser and the Al-Gama’a series

The Nasserists’ anger is usually fiercer though. They got angry because Moussa described President Abdel Nasser as a dictator who caused Egypt’s biggest political disaster, i.e. the 1967 defeat. Moussa also strongly refused to call this defeat a relapse. Moussa, who worked at the Egyptian embassy in Bern, also wrote that Abdel Nasser used to order special food from Switzerland.

He also commented on the popular protests held in support of Abdel Nasser after he stepped down, and said they were a charade. This statement specifically angered Abdel Nasser’s secretary Sami Sharaf who responded via MP Mustafa Bakri and challenged Moussa to prove his allegations.

Any Arab politician who writes his memoirs must be thanked for having done so, especially amid this darkness resulting from all the suspicion

Mashari Althaydi

Book launch

Moussa’s book launch was attended by prominent Egyptian diplomats such as Ahmed Abul Gheit and Mostafa El Feki. Here are excerpts of what Egyptian author Alaa Abdelhafez published in Almasry Alyoum.

-Sadat viewed himself as bigger than the entire Egyptian diplomacy

-Information conveyed to us through an Egyptian party stipulated that secret meetings were held between the Syrians and the Israelis in the Swiss capital of Bern

-If it hadn’t been for President Mubarak’s sudden action to propose voting on condemning the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait – during the emergency Arab League meeting on August 1990 – and if he hadn’t counted the votes himself then announced the result, the decision would not have been made and supporters of the Iraqi invasion would have organized themselves to prevent it.

Also read: Amr Moussa hints at Egypt incursion into Libya

We do not know if Moussa talked about his role in the Arab League, especially after Sheikh Zayed al-Nahyan’s initiative to get Saddam Hussein out of Iraq after the American invasion in 2003.

Any Arab politician who writes his memoirs must be thanked for having done so, especially amid this darkness resulting from all the suspicion. We wish this good habit spreads more in the Gulf. We will passionately read Moussa’s book “My testimony.”

This article is also available in Arabic.
Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.