Talking to Terrorists

Talking to Terrorists

How to End Armed Conflicts

Book - 2014
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From jungle clearings to stately homes and anonymous airport hotels, Talking to Terrorists puts us in the room with those who seek to change the course of history. Here are the terrorists, secret agents and go-betweens who make up the invisible world of negotiations between terrorists and governments.

Across the world governments proclaim that they will never âe~negotiate with evilâe(tm). And yet they always have done and always will. Why then do we ignore the lessons of this history of clandestine communication, often with devastating consequences?

Jonathan Powell has spent nearly two decades mediating between governments and terrorist organisations. Here he argues that no conflict âe" however bloody, ancient or difficult âe" is insoluble. With attention to the lessons of the past, patience and above all political leadership, they can be solved, even where previous attempts have failed.

Talking to terrorists will always be practically difficult and morally hazardous. But it is the right thing to do. Drawing on conflicts from Colombia and Sri Lanka to Palestine and South Africa, this optimistic, wide-ranging, authoritative book is about why we should and how best to go about it.

Publisher: London : The Bodley Head, 2014.
ISBN: 9781847922298
Characteristics: 408 pages ;,25 cm


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Apr 24, 2015

Most countries officially have a policy of never negotiating with terrorists. The author, who was involved with the Northern Ireland peace talks among others, points out that many of those same nations will use back channels (offering plausible deniability) to reach out to those groups and try to find common ground between warring factions. Among the cases discussed are the Basque country, El Salvador, the Middle East, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and perhaps significantly the war between the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (try the initials). The key point here is to always keep an open mind, and to never say never about an opposing side. A helpful manual for the most intransigent states on this issue, particularly the US.

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