Working for Peace 33


A hopeful article in the Guardian claims that peace discussions between the US and Taliban have reached the stage where the Taliban may open a political office in Qatar to conduct negotiations, and that some of their leaders may be released from Guantanamo. Let us hope this is all true.

Those who have read The Catholic Orangemen of Togo will immediately see that the basic issues mooted in the Guardian are the same I was dealing with as UK Representative to the Sierra Leone peace talks, and indeed the very stuff of conflict resolution – the transformation of opposing armed forces into a political process. Demobilisation, rehabilitation, funding of political activity. It all gets very emotive and sticky. There is another similarity with the Sierra Leone process in that ostensibly the main participant is the government (be it Sierra Leone or Afghanistan) but in fact the real decisions are taken for that government in the West.

Sitting here with my laptop in Ramsgate, I believe that I would be able to make a contribution to the peace process. I am a highly experienced diplomat who knows the region. I am almost uniquely placed, as a western person with high level diplomatic background and experience of treaty negotiation, who might nonetheless be trusted by the Taliban. I resigned my career in an effort to stop the persecution and torture of Central Asiam muslims in the “War on Terror” and have campaigned consistently and in public to end the occupation of Afghanistan. I was Ambassador in neighbouring Uzbekistan and have spent the last three years studying Afghan history.

Whether they realise it or not (and I suspect they do) the Taliban will need assistance and advice in dealing with the peace negotiations and drafting of peace agreements. My opposition to neo-con foreign policy means the UK and US would never use me in the peace talks, and would block my role with any mediating agency. The only possible route to involvement – and a difficult one to achieve – would be to offer my services as an unpaid independent adviser to the Taliban side of the talks. I have at present no route of direct contact to the Taliban: if the office in Qatar materialises, I will turn up and knock at the door.


33 thoughts on “Working for Peace

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  • BrianFujisan

    Good on you Craig…Great to see someone out there with Balls….Amidst all the Elite puppets…..And i see Iran has just given the West a Subtle warning…Have a good year in 2012

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Here is the beginning of the stage where Taliban is to be westernised in the best Roman traditions (bribed, divided and then smashed).
    .
    On the other hand how would neo-con agenda deal with Taliban’s claims that is based deeply in their radical view of Islam combined with jihadist ideology?
    .
    Peace should be established but this will on the other hand bring all other great powers (China, Russia, India) and Central Asian states on full alert. China for instance would be very concerned with Taliban in power along their troubled region, and in the next 10 years China is going to be major player in that region.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    1773 AD – The 3M formula formulated:
    .
    M = Money control
    .
    M = Media control
    .
    M = Military control
    .
    Iraq war 2003 – 2005 2.5 million children orphaned: 32,300 children under 12 years murdered (Uruknet (2007-12-15)
    .

    Up to 15% of your PAYE buys the bombs and pays the salaries of troops to commit these atrocities. The war machine needs YOUR co-operation.

  • Chris

    I’d give a little for your airfare Craig, as I’m sure would others. Keep us in the loop.

  • Mr Ned

    Uzbek, “..in their radical view of Islam”. What is your view of Islam? combining prayers with alcohol, or practicing usury in finance? What do you know about Islam you pretend to be Umnik and preach the talk here? If Taliban has the support from the population, i believe they have, it is not your damn business what their view of Islam is. I could use other words but minded the moderator.

    On another note, Craig, you may want to try speaking to people from the Qatari embassy in London. They definitely may have some sort of idea on how to get you involved.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Mr Ned,
    .
    Somehow prohibited education for women, ethnic cleansing (by Taliban of ethnic minorities in Afghanistan), making children work on poppy fields, eradication basic healthcare etc. are not associated with Islam in my own mind. These all to me associated with something that is known as Radical Islam. And idealogy that is aimed on spreading these values over people who might not want them is called jihadists idealogy, or am I missing something here?

  • CanSpeccy

    What’s to negotiate?
    .
    An unmolested retreat down the Khyber Pass? You know how well that went last time.
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    Or a free pass for the rearguard off the embassy roof?
    .
    Or do you think they’ll throw in that pipeline right of way?
    .
    As for girls’ education, forget it. How do you think they’ve won the war. They value women for the warriors they raise, not for their degrees in womens’ studies.

  • John Goss

    Craig Murray, you would make a much much better Peace Envoy to the Middle East and North Africa than Tony Blair, whose name I can hardly get out without spitting. And you do have the diplomatic experience and you argue from an honest standpoint, unlike that lying (expletive deleted) who generates more spin than Jenny herself.

  • Geoff

    Fair play to you Craig, and while I fully support your stance, could providing negotiation assistance to what I *presume* is a proscribed terrorist organisation by Western nations, would you not run the risk of ending up in guantanamo, belmarsh or similar?
    Just because the US gov mentions talks with them, doesn’t mean they will welcome others trying to stop the afghans getting screwed over (again)

  • XXY

    Craig. I fear you would be assassinated by a suicide bomb, with the usual Qur’an left in a bin beside the killers suicide note and a BLT sandwich.

  • Geoff

    oh the marvels of cut and paste without checking – hopefully the general meaning was clear, even if the words were a bit mangled

  • Fedup

    Craig,
    A very admirable sentiment, alas I fear US is playing dirty.
    ,
    Casting your mind back to the inception of Taliban, that was in the same fashion; the Qatari, and Saudi sources funded the crystal seed that later became to be known as Taliban, as well as placing orders for their Toyota Vans in Japan, and delivering these to the Afghan theatre.
    ,
    Qatar is a hub for US to operate from. Therefore taking it upon yourself to arrive there on the door step would be unwise given the current lawless conduct of US. The same bunch who have been abducting/kidnapping various souls for their open criticism, or co operation with the “terrorists” have far more operational scope in Qatar than elsewhere. It is well worth remembering Clive Stafford Smith who was threatened to be sent to Gitmo for doing his job as a defence lawyer for some of the poor bastards caught up in the US version of the “great game”.
    ,
    Recollecting that Taliban have always operated from the Quetta region in Pakistan, to find a Taliban embassy in Qatar is in fact resurrection of the past arrangements; a return to the play that was disrupted by the US invasion of the Afghanistan. This move therefore needs to be thoroughly analysed in the light of the current difficulties presented by the Pakistanis.
    ,
    We could start by speculating;(kick starting the ball)
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    1-The long queues of parked fuel trucks, supplies trucks, are the force majeure for initiation of talks with Taliban that would effectively circumvent the ISI influence, and garner the help of Taliban for smuggling the much needed supplies.
    ,
    2- Regulation of the opium production given the troops departure in 2014

  • Fedup

    Mr Ned,
    Uzbek is the archetypal “news consumer” of the Commercial Media (pap on steroids). The stuff Uzbek writes, echoes closely the stuff heard/read on various Commercial Media, with no qualms or reservations. The best of Uzbek in other threads; “Greece is one good example. Their economy is not only unbalanced but their public sector is totally unproportionate”. (rofl)
    ,
    The endless talents of Uzbek in regurgitating the “news” he has been subjected to, which is then analysed through a particularly prejudicial view point leads to hilarious pontifications. Hence the “Taliban” becoming a source of concerns for the Chinese. Less said about the “radical Islam” that is bandied in the “news” to differentiate the various Muslim allies of the UK/US/NATO governments form the enemies of the said powers, for the benefit of their simple constituents, specifically those dumb souls who may experience difficulties in undertaking the tasks of walking and chewing gum, concurrently.
    ,
    Finally Qatari embassy ought to be the call of last resort, on the to do list, best to find contacts elsewhere as well as a different approach.
    ,
    Taliban set to open office in Qatar
    The oil-rich kingdom is said to be unhappy with a Taliban office in Qatar and wants to be involved in the process.
    ,
    This article is a glimpse into a complex set of arrangements, that is taking shape in umpteen countries with the aid of various interlocutors. The involvement of the Saudi only makes matters more murky.

  • marcus

    Am I missing sonmething – I thought the Taliban were offered a deal at the start of the war? What happened with that?

    Craig you are a very brave man if you’re thinking of setting foot in that part of the middle east, I worry a stray US bullet will find its way into your back.

  • CanSpeccy

    Come to think of it, you could negotiate for war reparations. For the stress of 10 years of war, say, $30,000 per capita, or $one trillion. Doesn’t seem excessive and it could be cheaper for the allies than another ten years of trying to convert the Taliban into politically correct liberals.
    .
    To provide the US with a fig-leaf, the Taliban might be persuaded to throw in the pipeline right of way or a couple of useless airbases.
    .
    Take it on a contingency basis and you could do OK.

  • wendy

    this taliban office is a weird one. in qatar of all places, the usa centcom hq for the region.
    .
    the narrative doesnt ring true, and for what purpose, its not as if the usa is about to leave considering the vast expenditure and continued building of military infrastructure . the uk generals have equally made it clear that they are there for the long term (as did liam fox).
    .
    why would the taliban want to negotiate a deal where the usa has bases, a military presence .
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    so the question is who are these taliban that the usa is looking to co opt into its war effort in afghanistan.
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    a divide and conquer strategy $$… cash in hand
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    one has to wonder what the real story is.

  • dunolie

    “In a geopolitical coup, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) summit in Moscow on December 20 took a momentous decision that for the setting up of foreign military bases on CSTO territory, there had to be approval by all member states of the Moscow-led alliance that also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Kazakhstan”

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/NA04Df01.html

    Looks like this might be the reason why.. As the Guardian said the US/NATO foces needs to plan the retreat and the northern routes will increasing become difficult. They will have to go via Pakistan.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    Craig,

    “Whether they realise it or not (and I suspect they do) the Taliban will need assistance and advice in dealing with the peace negotiations and drafting of peace agreements. My opposition to neo-con foreign policy means the UK and US would never use me in the peace talks….”

    For the same reasons – I would not be accepted as a candidate.

  • kingfelix

    Good move, Craig. As a quid pro quo, perhaps you can combine your two interests and have the Taliban take over one of the UK railway operators licences, I’m sure they’d provide a great alternative to South West Trains.

    “Infidels! The holy train now leaving from platform 3 is the 4.45 Mullah Omar Express, calling at Reading, Cheltenham Spa, Westbury, and expected, Allah willing, to arrive at Bristol Temple Meads at 6.49 pm”

  • anno

    Craig
    This was a war principally about religion, and with all due respect, you are not remotely interested in religion. Blair knew nothing about religion when he started it and the only people who will achieve anything there will have to take religion into account as much as other aspects of the region.
    There again, why should the UK not continue as it has begun. plundering arrogantly around with gung-ho partner US, both now bankrupt, with absolutely no clue what they are doing except to appease the blackmail of the Zionist bankers and keep the Western system going.

  • alan campbell

    Perhaps you’d like to offer your services to the Khmer Rouge too, Craig? I believe they’re having a bit of litigation trouble.

  • ingo

    I’m with Wendy, this office in a westernised islamic emirate is weird and we are putting too much into this. Craigs suggestion to offer himself up peace keeeping is laudable, but tantamount to suicide, no better opportunity than to popp off a major antiwar pro human rights voice.

    peace will come through the treasury, only the ravages of a collective tax boycott will stop these warmongering idiots. this would need an ultimatum to our puppets and a collective consciousness, both would never happen here as our opposition politicians are playing games and are equally compromised.

    peace in the world is a figment of our principled imagination, it will not come about by itself nor would change to such bliss be non violent.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    @ Fedup
    .
    Do you have counterarguments about the economy of Greece then please bring them up and lets concentrate on the matter without prejudice?
    .
    Are you saying that there is no such ‘thing’ as Radical Islam? So basically you are putting equation mark between Islam-known for centuries as religion of tolerance, enlightenment, science, philosophy while Europeans have been dying from plague and killing each other in religious wars -AND what Taliban stands for today? Then I totally disagree with you about Islam. Radical Islam differentiate not Muslim allies of the UK/US but Muslims within Muslim world at first. I would also argue with the point that Taliban is widely supported by Afghans. Also Pushtuns are majority in Afghanistan but you should not forget that there are number of ethnic minorities who live in the North and comprise majority there. They from the start have been strongly opposing Taliban and their idealogy. Do they have to be now sacrificed?

  • Abe Rene

    Perhaps some people whom you know, or who contribute to your blog from time to time, know people who could arrange for you to meet the Taleban, on a visit to Pakistan? It might be risky, though.

  • Abe Rene

    PS. If it’s not urgent, perhaps you could wait for Daniel James to be released, and engage him as an interpreter. 🙂

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Anno
    .
    All 5 wars that Afghans experienced on their territory in the last 170+ years was mostly for the reason of geopolitical value of Afghanistan. Players (who attack Afghanistan) change but objectives remains the same. This time is US, yet another superpower that breaking its last remaining teeth over Hindukush mountains.
    .
    And also to understand religion and religious people one does not necessary need to be religious him/herself. Mr Murray for instance enjoys much more respect amongst Uzbeks (those who met him and those who have heard about him) than for instance president Karimov (who performed Hadj and even entered Qaaba).

  • Friedrich von Mauer

    Speaking of the Guardian, they’ve made arses of themselves again. I’ve just sent them this email:

    Jeb Bush was widely mocked when he spoke of the ‘President of Spain’.

    http://articles.cnn.com/2003-02-17/world/jebbush.spain_1_madrid-spain-king-juan-carlos?_s=PM:WORLD

    Now the Guardian is doing the same thing.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/jan/05/us-pressured-spain-online-piracy

    “US ambassador Alan Solomont wrote to the outgoing Spanish president”

    “the letter to president José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero”

    While the Prime Minister’s formal title translates as ‘President of the Government’, it is not correct to refer to him as ‘the Spanish President’ or as ‘President X’. The Spanish government website refers to him always as the ‘President of the Government’. ‘President’ by itself carries the implication of ‘head of state’ – he is normally referred to in English as the Prime Minister.

    http://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/IDIOMAS/9/Presidente/index.htm

    Of courses, the biggest arse here is the US ambassador. If I were Prime Minister of Spain and an ambassador spoke to me like that I’d show him the door.

  • Mary

    @Friedrich von Mauer
    They (the Guardian) must read this blog. They have altered their copy to read:
    .
    In a letter dated 12 December and obtained by Spanish newspaper El Pais, US ambassador Alan Solomont wrote to the outgoing Spanish prime minister expressing his concern about the lack of movement on a online piracy bill, known as the Sinde law.

  • opit

    Afraid I have to shake my head too. I put the Taleban in the same bin as the loyal puppet dictators which the U.S. discards as part of its game plan of Arab Spring and Colour ( Twitter ) Revolutions. Even Iran (Green) is said to have a CIA mole in the top echelons of the `religious authorities`. Remembering the Iran Contra games and the discarding of Carter via Iranian politics means you really need a scorecard to sort the backstabbing – rather like the Bush abandonment of their friendly banker bin Laden as he was dying from kidney failure back in 2001…though the FBI escorted his family out of the country a week after 9-11.
    Meantime I started somewhat while thinking about the Julian Assange pseudo-legal persecution upon reading a note from Mother Jones
    http://motherjones.com/mojo/2012/01/fbi-changes-definition-rape

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