Two Foreign Affairs Experts Differ on Hussein’s Prospective Role in the Mideast Peace Process

Two foreign affairs experts differed yesterday on whether the United States can expect King Hussein of Jordan to join the Middle East peace process.

Richard Allen, who was President Reagan’s first National Security Advisor, and Edward Luttwak, a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, presented their opposing views during a roundtable discussion on “Looking Ahead in the Middle East,” sponsored by the Heritage Foundation at the University Club here.

“I feel that Jordan has come a long way and is moving in the right direction,” Allen said. He said Hussein’s meetings with Reagan at the White House last month were “productive.”

Allen, now a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a senior foreign policy counselor for the Republican National Committee, said he believes that Hussein realizes that the U.S. is an “important guarantor” of his and his country’s security and continuing supply of arms.

But Luttwak disagreed, saying he admired Hussein, because of his “ability to attract the attention of successive foreign suitors without actually ever delivering anything.” He listed these suitors as first the British, then the Israel Labor Party and now the U.S.

“I can’t be hopeful, I can’t see him delivering,” he said. “If he does, it will be a real departure of character.”

PREDICTS DIFFICULT REAGAN-BEGIN MEETING

As for Israeli Premier Menachem Begin, Allen predicted a “difficult” meeting when the Israeli leader sees Reagan at the White House next month. He said the President should reaffirm the U.S. relationship with Israel and stress that it still considers it a “strategic ally” and an “asset.”

Allen said Reagan should also tell Begin that the U.S. will not take any steps to endanger Israeli security. But he also said Begin should be told a freeze on building any new settlements on the West Bank is the best way to achieve progress toward peace.

VIEWS OF SITUATION IN LEBANON

On the Lebanese situation, Allen said the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon — Israeli, Syrian and the Palestine Liberation Organization — is urgent for the reconstruction of Lebanon, But he noted that the Israeli troops will not leave until the others do and that Lebanon does not want them to do so.

He stressed that Israel should be assured that “we will not exert undue pressure” unless there is a clear indication that the Syrians and PLO are willing to leave and Israel refuses.

Luttwak said Lebanon is correct in trying to regain its sovereignty by asking that the foreign forces leave but it is wrong to be willing to relinquish some of its sovereignty by bending to outside pressure not to normalize its relations with Israel. He warned that if Lebanon waits too long for an agreement with Israel it could lose what has already been achieved by Israel’s military action.

Luttwak added he could envision the possibility of a “deal” between Israel and Syria in which the Israelis control southern Lebanon through a surrogate such as Maj. Saad Haddad and Syria controls eastern Lebanon. He said the two countries were capable of making such a deal as they had shown during the fighting in Lebanon.

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