• November 25, 2006
  • 2 minutes read

Interview: Talking to terrorists

Interview: Talking to terrorists

ABC Radio National (Australia) interview with Alastair Crooke and Mark Perry, November 16, 2006

Alastair Crooke — The paradox is that most people ask us the question “are these people” — by which they mean the Islamist groups – ”willing to talk?” and actually we find that it is they who are the ones that are most ready to talk, most ready to listen and our problem is actually getting the West to listen and the West to try and begin engagement with them. We’ve never encountered any real problem with getting Islamists to talk and to deal with us at all.

Mark Perry — The groups we talk to … have welcomed an opening with the United States. [They say,] “Come and talk to us. We’re willing to stand for elections; we’re willing to be answerable to the people. Come and talk to us — we’re not always going to agree — but let’s talk.”

The real radicals — the al Qaeda radicals — believe that simply standing for election is acceptance of a Western program and is a kind of collaboration. They have actually marked out and targeted these — what we think of as moderate groups, Hamas and Hezbollah — for assasination, the leadership, for assassination. The terrible mistake that we make in the West is conflating these groups — conflating the more radical or revolutionary groups that want to burn the system down, with what are really revivalist groups.

Listen to the complete interview (streaming Real Audio or Windows Media). This 50-minute interview comes after an unrelated 4-minute introduction from program host, Phillip Adams.