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April 17, 2004



Interestingly, I've been reading John Simpson's excellent book "A Mad World, My Masters" which features the venerable BBC journalist encountering a young Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan whilst Simpson was travelling with Mujahedin fighters covering the war in the 1980s.

Anyone who thinks Osama is a reasonable man who can be negotiated with would do well to read it.

Damian P.

I agree wholeheartedly, but I wouldn't lump Hamas in with politcal movements like ETA or FARC. A quick look at the Hamas Charter, with its repeated references to the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion' and its disavowal of negotiating with the hated Jews, shows that they're a "theorcratic fasicst" movement at least as much as Al-Qaida.

Canadian Headhunter

Oliver, I like what you said. But, theoretically speaking, when a terrorist organization is not internal, when it represents a group outside of one's own country, isn't it simply like an enemy government with which one is at war. And, don't warring countries sometimes make peace based on mutual concessions without one side obliterating the other? This suggests that if a foreign terrorist organization is stupid and goes to war when it can actually pursue its legitimate goals through other means you can derail its violence by bringing it to the negotiating table. Of course, the problem then is that you might be setting a bad example.


We could offer them France.

Chris Lightfoot

There's one thing I find intriguing about the latest Osama communiqué: we are repeatedly told that it would be a mark of weakness for Western governments to negotiate with al-Qaida. Nobody seems to be remarking on the fact that for al-Qaida to offer to negotiate -- no matter how absurd their terms -- demonstrates weakness on their part. Implicitly we learn that their goals have been scaled back: they no longer want to destroy all of Western civilisation, but only bits of it (for now, anyway). At last some progress in the "War on Terror"?


As far as I know, al-Qaeda's goals, as pernicious as they are, aren't to "destroy all of Western civilisation". Osama bin Laden (who never even used the term "al-Qaeda" prior to 2003) has declared the following, relatively more "modest", goals:

1) to drive Americans and American influence out of all Muslim nations, especially Saudi Arabia;

2) destroy Israel;

3) topple pro-Western dictatorships around the Middle East;

3) unite all Muslims and establish, by force, an Islamic nation adhering to the rule of the first Caliphs.

I may be misinformed.



It is the *scope* of #3 that represents the long-term problem (to say nothing of what goes on along the way - #'s 1-3).


Sorry, I misnumbered those. Solomon, by "3", I presume you mean "4" :)

I agree, but the point is that al-Qaeda's offer to negotiate with Europe can't really be interpreted as a sign that it is "scaling back" its goals, as Chris Lightfoot argues, or that the WoT is "making progress".


'Asked about his comments that he wanted to have the banner of Islam at 10 Downing Street, Muhammad said, “Yes, it’s my dream. I believe one day that is going to happen. Because this is my country, I like living here.”'
The long-term aim of the islamists is that a Caliph rules the whole world.

Peter Bocking

No this is merely a truce of Khudaybiyyah,al Qaeda are taking setbacks they need time to regain their srength.As in the historical truce ten years later they broke the truce and slaughtered their enemies.
This line also plays well with some European countries.Zapatero has been given safe conduct for his troop withdawals by Al-Sadr.
The siren voices will be urging the safe road out of danger.Then when they have got what they want the will strike us again


If the arms commission reports as expected that the IRA/Sein Fein still have weapons, does Mo expect Bin Laden to be given a goverment job if he promises to hide his guns??


We sit down with Sharon and the other Zionists, who some would regard as both theocratic and fascist.

Sad thing is I used to support Israel strongly.I now think it was a mistake ever to create the state, and think its demise may be the only realistic answer.

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