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

Application is open for the Zaida Catalán scholarship in support of women, peace and security

FBA is now welcoming applications for the second round of the 1325-scholarship in support of women, peace and security in memory of Zaida Catalán. The scholarship targets young peacebuilders at the beginning of their career, with a confirmed strong dedication to the women, peace and security agenda and efforts for gender equality. The application is open 1-31 October 2021.

2021-09-29 11:08

Read our publications

Youth, Peace and Security Agenda - Strengthening institutional capacity for implementation

This policy brief aims to support organizations working on peace and security to strengthen institutional capacity and operational readiness for accelerating the implementation of the Youth, Peace and Security (YPS) agenda. The policy brief aims to guide decision-makers, managers and senior officials on how to create an enabling environment within their own organization by providing tangible entry points and recommendations in six priority areas.

Documents
Attributes
Author:
FBA
Year:
2021

THE FBA BLOG

""

Johanna Gårdmark

Johanna is expert on international peace operations and civil-military cooperation

More about our experts

Upcoming courses

""

Our partner countries

FBA is part of Sweden’s development aid within the area of peace and security

Read more about the countries where we work

Twitter