Talk to terrorists

Jonathon Powell, a former aide to Tony Bliar, has said that the Government should enter into dialogue with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. He said that Northern Ireland proved that talking with murdering thieving bar5tards (my wording) worked. Full story in the Guardian but quoted in BBC News. (No link sorry).

It does pay but only for those who have murdered innocent men women and children not to rot for the rest of their lives in prison. :x :x :x :x
He obviously blissfully unaware then that by the time we started talking to the Rai, it was mainly because they knew they had little mileage left. We smashed them up a little bit on the military front, and the citizens had had enough of living in a war zone.

Can the same be said of AQ?
One ticket for Mr Powell coming up...

I presume that he'll want to go alone. He certainly won't want a protection force as the presence of arms may raise suspicion that it's not a peace-making initiative.

Now, should that ticket be one-way, in anticipation....?

The bloke's a clot. NI was a situation where, if both sides stopped fighting, normal service could be resumed. Afghanistan, on the other hand, is where "invaders" have stepped in, in an attempt to quell international troubles.

Given that AQ is not an Afghan orginisation, even if the fighting stopped there, where would this leave the participants? The Coalition (for want of a better word) Forces pulling out and AQ staying where they are? Wouldn't this have the same result as the Coalition Forces pulling out without the need for "talks?" - and result in the Coalition Forces going back in, for the same reasons that they did in the first place?

Even if AQ were to agree to pull out of Afghanistan, there'd just be an invasion of whichever country they "settled" in, so back to square one.

Soldiers take ground. Soldiers defend ground. Civilians in that ground can be for or against the occupying forces and history tells us that it's only a matter of time before the civilians resent the occupation. So a prolonged occupation becomes counter productive.

Politicians can massage governments. In NI, the IRA et al were pseudo governments, so the political process had a chance. AQ (from what I understand) don't profess to represent the interests of "the people" and seemingly have no ambition to form a government in any of the countries in which they are present. Political massaging techniques (embargoes, sanctions, preferential trading, etc) therefore have no clout.


IMHO, the way to kill off AQ is to gradually dilute it until its members lose interest. This can be achieved by the host nation governments putting in measures to deal with AQ internally e.g. conferring criminal status and actively prosecuting this action. (For this to work, those nations need to stamp out corruption - not an easy task in places where corruption is almost traditional.) Eventually AQ will despair of being moved on and just peter out.

The political process needs to massage the host nation governments and provide direction and financial assistance to achieve aims. FFS, if the cost of ammunition expended in Afghanistan in one year were to be ploughed into the Afghan Police Force, they could be the most efficient and incorruptible police force on the planet

AQ needs to be thought of as a mind-set rather than as an organisation. Killing a member of AQ doesn't reduce its number by one, it creates a martyr and increases membership by two, five, ten or whatever. Water down their objectives and give them other concerns and they'll lose membership.

The alternative is to kill all women and children in the areas where they are, or are likely to become, active and I guarantee that the organisation will cease to exist within 50 years. This may not get the support of the host nation governments, though.

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