Three questions to Jonathan Powell on why to talk to terrorists

Jonathan Powell, British diplomat and former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s chief of staff, one of the architects behind the Good Friday peace agreement on Northern Ireland and founder of the NGO Inter Mediate, participated in FBA’s seminar in Almedalen on Tuesday 30th of June.

He recently published the book “Talking to Terrorists” where he advocates that sooner or later we always need to negotiate with terrorists; and why not sooner?

Why should governments talk to ISIS or Boko Haram?

Looking back in history, every time we meet a new terrorist organisation we say we will not talk to them and every time so far we eventually have done so to create a peace process. If this process has happened to PLO and IRA – why not for al-Qaida or ISIS?

Can you be friends with a terrorist?

As a negotiatior you need to be trusted by them and you need to have a working relationship with them. If you become friends you can fall into a “Stockholm syndrome” since they often are underdogs.

The Middle East is more unstable than in many years – what’s your prediction on the near future?

I believe we’re making a mistake to think that the Arab spring has ended. Every revolution has a counter revolution and I believe we’re looking at the middle of the Arab spring saying that it’s over, when this is just the beginning.

MORE FROM HOME

Strengthening Africa’s regional forces for peace

Millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa are displaced due to war. FBA is now establishing long-term collaborative relationships with various regional organizations in order to contribute to a peaceful development on the continent. At the forefront is the cooperation with ECOWAS, a community of 15 countries in West Africa, to which FBA offers training for key personnel.

2017-11-10 13:23

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Responsive and Responsible: Politically Smart Rule of Law Reform in Conflict and Fragile States

There is a long-standing recognition that rule of law is an essential element in achieving sustainable peace and development. In recent years it has gained even more prominence in policy discourse and as a core ingredient of broad-based international commitments, with the Sustainable Development Goals and in particular Goal 16 as a clear indicator for where we are headed. Yet, what has been lacking in rule of law reform, or at least it has been only marginally represented, is a political approach to address the underlying causes of problems and obstacles to rule of law.

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Author:
Richard Sannerholm, Shane Quinn and Andrea Rabus
Year:
2016

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Gabriela Elroy

Gabriela is expert on women, peace and security

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