Terrorists at the Table: Why Negotiating is the Only Way to Peace

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9781250069887: Terrorists at the Table: Why Negotiating is the Only Way to Peace
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Should governments talk to terrorists? Do they have any choice?

Without doing so, argues author Jonathan Powell in Terrorists at the Table, we will never end armed conflict. As violent insurgencies continue to erupt across the globe, we need people who will brave the depths of the Sri Lankan jungle and scale the heights of the Colombian mountains, painstakingly tracking down the heavily armed and dangerous leaders of these terrorist groups in order to open negotiations with them.

Powell draws on his own experiences negotiating peace in Northern Ireland and talks to all the major players from the last thirty years―terrorists, Presidents, secret agents and intermediaries―exposing the subterranean world of secret exchanges between governments and armed groups to give us the inside account of negotiations on the front line. These past negotiations shed light on how today's negotiators can tackle the Taliban, Hammas and al-Qaeda. And history tells us that it may be necessary to fight and talk at the same time.

Ultimately, Powell brings us a message of hope: there is no armed conflict anywhere in the world that cannot be resolved if we are prepared to learn from the lessons of the past.

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About the Author:

JONATHAN POWELL worked for the British Foreign Office for fifteen years until, in 1994, Tony Blair poached him to join his ‘kitchen cabinet' as his Chief of Staff. Since leaving the Prime Minister's office, he has worked with a Geneva-based NGO, negotiating between governments and terrorist groups in Europe, Asia and Africa, and has now established his own NGO, InterMediate, to continue this work. He lives in London with his wife and two daughters.

Review:

“Jonathan was my point man for ten long years on the negotiations on Northern Ireland. He was not only a great negotiator but also a brilliant strategist. The lessons he learned there have been put to good use in the work he now does between governments and armed groups around the world.” ―Tony Blair

“Powell's urgent, reasoned, and impassioned argument for negotiation has the potential to contribute significantly to public debate.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Addresses the practice of negotiating with terrorists...Powell's compelling argument on a touchy topic makes one consider that without attempting to engage in negotiations, a resolution cannot be reached.” ―Library Journal

“Over the course of his decade as Blair's most important aide, Powell came to recognize that terrorism cannot be solved exclusively or largely by military means...Powell argues forcefully that historically, conflicts like the one in Afghanistan have ended only through negotiations.” ―Fareed Zakaria, The Washington Post

“An important book about terrorism...a significant contribution to the understanding of how we can and often do deal with our most adamant opponents.” ―David Holahan, The Christian Science Monitor

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