March 28, 2005


Ex-MI6 man starts US-Hamas talks (Stephen Grey, 3/27/05, Sunday Times)

As deputy leader of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group, Musa Abu Marzouk is a potential target for assassination by Israel. Yet there to greet him last week was Alistair Crooke, a veteran of nearly 30 years with MI6 and until recently a European Union negotiator with the Palestinians.

As they made their way upstairs, they were joined by several Americans, some of them former members of the CIA and others with links to the US administration. They had gathered in the Lebanese capital for an initiative launched by Crooke: the first talks for more than 10 years between senior Americans and radical groups denounced as terrorists by Washington.

Although still defiant in their anti-American rhetoric, the militants were staking a claim to be part of the so-called “Arab spring” of democratic change that has encompassed elections in Iraq and protests in Lebanon against the presence of Syrian forces.

The Beirut meeting was attended by almost half the leadership of Hamas, which has used suicide bombers in Israel but is taking part in Palestinian parliamentary elections this summer.

The delegation from Hezbollah, which has elected members of the Lebanese parliament but remains a terrorist organisation in the eyes of the United States, included Nawaf Moussawi, the group’s chief political negotiator.

There were also representatives from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in many countries, and from the Jamiat-i-Islami party in Pakistan.

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 28, 2005 12:59 PM

Me he-man, beat on chest.

don't kill me, pls.

Posted by: Sandy P at March 28, 2005 7:06 PM

Sounds like a target-rich environment, if you ask me.

Posted by: ratbert at March 28, 2005 11:38 PM