Satloff, Robert B.
Satloff, Robert B.
Married Jennie Litvack; children: Benjamin, William. Education: Duke University, B.S.; Harvard University, M.S.; St. Antony's College, Oxford, Ph.D.
Home—Chevy Chase, MD. Office—Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1828 L St. N.W., Ste. 1050, Washington, DC 20036.
Washington Institute for Near East Policy (foreign policy think tank), Washington, DC, executive director, 1993—. Creator and host, Dakhil Washington (news program), broadcast on al-Hurra satellite television.
Troubles on the East Bank: Challenges to the Domestic Stability of Jordan, foreword by Robert G. Neuman, Praeger (New York, NY), 1986.
Army and Politics in Mubarak's Egypt, 1988.
After Arafat? Succession in Palestinian Politics, 2002.
The Battle of Ideas in the War on Terror: Essays on U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Middle East, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (Washington, DC), 2004.
Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach into Arab Lands, Public Affairs (New York, NY), 2007.
The Politics of Change in the Middle East, Westview Press (Boulder, CO), 1993.
Approaching Peace: American Interests in Israeli-Palestinian Final Status Talks, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (Washington, DC), 1994.
War on Terror: The Middle East Dimension, Washington Institute for Near East Policy (Washington, DC), 2002.
Contributor to Peacewatch Anthology: Analysis of the Arab-Israeli Peace Process from the Madrid Peace Conference to the Eve of President Clinton's Inauguration, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1993; author of foreword, The Political Legacy of King Hussein, by Alexander Bligh, Sussex Akademic Press, 2002. Editor of monograph series Policy Focus, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 1985. Contributor to periodicals, including Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post.
The head of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Washington, DC, think tank, Robert B. Satloff is a recognized authority on the Middle East and Arabic culture. His writings typically cover such topics as twentieth-century history and politics in the Middle East.
From Abdullah to Hussein: Jordan in Transition, for example, is a study of three generations of Jordanian kings and how political stability was maintained despite the assassination of King Abdullah. A cadre of men closely associated with the king, known as the "king's men," helped to ensure the transition of power went smoothly, reveals Satloff. "This excellent study of the transition from Jordan's first to third king helps explain why this small country with few resources has done so well," asserted William B. Quandt in a Foreign Affairs review.
After the 2001 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, many books were published concerning the war against terrorism. Satloff offers his own advice in The Battle of Ideas in the War on Terror: Essays on U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Middle East. Containing seventeen essays, the book provides practical, nonviolent alternatives to stemming violence in the Middle East and the threat to America through wise foreign policy. Describing the book as a "rousing call to action," Alberto Fernandez wrote in a Middle East Quarterly assessment that the author "deftly identifies the structural barriers [to effective Middle East policy], most of which have their genesis inside the Beltway."
Satloff addresses a little-understood topic in his more recent work of history, Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach into Arab Lands. When the subject of the Holocaust is mentioned, most people think of concentration camps in Europe and other such mistreatment of the Jews. Satloff, however, recognized that Germany and Italy exported their anti-Semitism to North Africa and the Middle East, as well. Among the Righteous is the result of four years of research in which Satloff discovered cases both of complicity and of heroism on the part of Arab people. Sometimes, they helped the Italians or the Germans to put Jews in prison, while the author also discovered examples in which Arabs helped save thousands of Jews. The Tunisian Khaled Abdelwahhab, for example, kept two thousand Jews safe from deportation to concentration camps; King Mohammed V of Morocco resisted the Vichy government of France when they tried to enforce their anti-Semitic policies.
Curiously, Satloff found that modern-day Arabs do not wish to discuss the role of their people during the Holocaust, even when they played heroic parts. "They are not about to deny that they saved their neighbors when they did—they liked their neighbors—but they refuse to connect this to events that, in their reading of history, were strictly a European injustice for which they are still paying," related Roger Kaplan in the Weekly Standard. Although Kaplan found the author somewhat naively optimistic on this point, the critic reported that Satloff believes that if Arabs acknowledge their part in this chapter of Jewish history then this might serve as an opportunity for dialogue that might mend bridges between the two peoples. In the Washington Post Book World, Deborah Lipstadt concluded that "Satloff's efforts to tell the story of Arab behavior—both complicity and heroism—during the Holocaust are important…. But these stories should be uncovered for the sake of history, not for the purpose of changing irrational attitudes. Satloff has told an important story and told it well, but he has done so for noble but misguided reasons." A Kirkus Reviews contributor concluded that Among the Righteous is a "thoughtful work" and found that this "engrossing and deeply personal study shows how Europeans brought the Holocaust to the Sahara."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Arab Studies Quarterly, spring, 1994, Michael J. Nojeim, review of The Politics of Change in the Middle East, p. 98.
Booklist, October 1, 2006, George Cohen, review of Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust's Long Reach into Arab Lands, p. 23.
Choice, December, 1994, E. Biparva, review of From Abdullah to Hussein: Jordan in Transition, p. 663.
Foreign Affairs, September-October, 1993, review of The Politics of Change in the Middle East, p. 175; July-August, 1994, William B. Quandt, review of From Abdullah to Hussein, p. 178.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2006, review of Among the Righteous, p. 892.
Library Journal, November 1, 2006, Frederic Krome, review of Among the Righteous, p. 87.
Middle Eastern Studies, April, 1994, P.J. Vatikiotis, review of The Politics of Change in the Middle East, p. 434.
Middle East Journal, autumn, 2002, Michelle d'Amico, review of War on Terror: The Middle East Dimension, p. 742; autumn, 2005, Feras Sleiman, review of The Battle of Ideas in the War on Terror: Essays on U.S. Public Diplomacy in the Middle East, p. 705.
Middle East Quarterly, winter, 2003, David Pryce-Jones, review of War on Terror, p. 94; summer, 2006, Alberto Fernandez, review of The Battle of Ideas in the War on Terror, p. 85.
Publishers Weekly, September 4, 2006, review of Among the Righteous, p. 50.
Washington Post Book World, December 10, 2006, Deborah Lipstadt, "The Schindlers of the Middle East," review of Among the Righteous, p. 5.
Weekly Standard, January 1, 2007, Roger Kaplan, review of Among the Righteous.
Washington Institute for Near East Policy Web site,http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/ (March 29, 2007), biographical and career information on Robert B. Satloff.