Top Blair Aide Urges Negotiation With Al Qaida

Jonathan Powell, who served as chief of staff for former Prime Ministr Tony Blair, now argues, “There’s nothing to say to al-Qaida and they’ve got nothing to say to us at the moment, but at some stage you’re going to have to come to a political solution as well as a security solution. And that means you need the ability to talk.” He admitted at this point it is unclear who exactly might be the person or group within al-Qaida that might even enter into discussions, but at some point, talks must begin.

In a wide ranging review of the Blair administration, Powell expressed the view Labor did not govern boldly enough because it feared losing power. However, the British government did initiate secret tlks with IRA leaders in Ireland that set the stage for the final peace agreements. Powell raises a central issue about the process of eventually ending the current state of unrest in the Middle East. Perhaps, one might begin by dealing with the Iranian government which provides extensive aid to militant groups.