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International Mediation During The Siege Of The Iranian Embassy Vs. Egypt And Istrael Dispute

1935 words - 8 pages

The aim of this essay is to compare two examples of international mediation and determine what were the strengths and weaknesses of the mediator/s in each case. The chosen cases that will be discussed in this paper are Iranian hostage crisis of 1979 with Algerian representatives as mediators between the United States and Iran, and the Camp David case with American president Jimmy Carter as a mediator between Egypt and Israel.
In 1979 the embassy of the United States in Tehran was attacked by a group of Iranian students who held the staff of the embassy as hostages. This event put a strain on Tehran-Washington diplomatic relations, which subsequently were completely cut. Therefore, Algeria was chosen as the official mediator, because it was already playing important role in “ non-existing” diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States. Not only the Algerians were familiar with the issue, but also the delegation consisted of four experienced and high-positioned professional negotiators. The siege of the embassy continued for 444 days, and ended on 20 January 1981 after successful mediation exhibited by Algerian representatives, all the hostages were finally released.
In contrast, the dispute between Egypt and Israel was ongoing for many years and there was no real urgency to solve issue. It was an initiative of newly elected President of the United States Jimmy Carter, who had a strong belief that the peace in the Middle East should be central objective of the US foreign policy, despite that he was warned about many previous failed attempts to find a solution for this issue.
Nevertheless, after thorough study of the subject Carter came up with an idea of a “just settlement”, which meant that Israel had to go back to the borders prior to 1967 and the Palestinians would settle in Gaza and the West Bank. This plan was strongly opposed by the government of Israel headed by Menachem Begin, however he offered to return the Sinai to Egypt instead. Egyptian president Anwar Sadat..

Comparison: difference and similarities comparing
Analyzing two cases, firstly, obvious difference that stands out in Algerian mediation case is that there was no face to face contact between the disputants. In addition, the mediation was very formal, according to protocol. In comparison, at Camp David Egyptian president and Israeli prime minister had a one-on-one negotiations first. Also, Carter preferred less formal way of meeting, for example, there was no protocol “for table seating at meals or for dress”. Secondly, the Algerian mediators were rather impartial toward Iran or the USA, and had not much to lose or gain from the outcome of the mediation, whereas at Camp David, Carter not only had geopolitical interests in the region as the President of the United States, but also he felt if he succeeded, it would have a positive influence on his political career. Thirdly, Algerians had a time pressure because of the hostages, comparing to Carter’s mediation,...

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