King's Counsel: A Memoir of War, Espionage, and Diplomacy in the Middle East

Jack O'Connell with Vernon Loeb, Norton, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-393-06334-9
O'Connell, a former CIA agent and attorney for Jordan's King Hussein, recounts four decades of Middle East history in this provocative memoir. The author, CIA station chief in Amman from 1963 to 1971, was delegated to "keep King Hussein in power" and served as the young king's main point of contact and channel to the U.S. Following his retirement from the CIA, O'Connell became Hussein's U.S. attorney and Jordan's American lobbyist until the king's death in 1999. Drawing on his unique access, the author argues that while the Arabs wanted an end to hostilities and Hussein relentlessly pursued secret negotiations with the Israelis, neither Israel nor the U.S. wanted or actively pursued peace. O'Connell characterizes U.S. diplomacy in the region as hypocritical and charges that Kissinger fomented the 1973 Yom Kippur war. He also contends that the U.S. was doing Israel's "dirty work" in opposing Saddam Hussein in 1990 and could have negotiated an Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait without resorting to war. O'Connell's eyewitness account of a tragic era in a tumultuous region is long on drama, revealing vignettes, and controversy, but short on balance. More than memoir, this is a passionate brief for King Hussein and the Arab pursuit of peace. (May)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 266 pages - 978-0-393-08803-8
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