Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No justice, no peace

It's obvious, go talk to the Islamists
The Daily Star (Lebanon): Two intriguing reports from the United States and Afghanistan in the past few days suggest that more realism may be creeping into the toolkit...

In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai is reported to have approved a plan designed to reintegrate low-level Taliban foot soldiers and commanders into the government forces, while simultaneously making peace with more senior leaders and their backers in Pakistan... Karzai sensibly assumes that foreign military power cannot prevail against armed nationals who believe they are fighting to liberate their country from foreign occupation...

In the United States... a team of senior intelligence officers at US Central Command (CENTCOM) has just issued a report titled 'Managing Hizbullah and Hamas,' that questions the current US policy of isolating and marginalizing these movements, and instead suggests a variety of approaches that would integrate them into their Lebanese and Palestinian mainstreams... The report says that while Hizbullah and Hamas 'embrace staunch anti-Israeli rejectionist policies,' the two groups are 'pragmatic and opportunistic.'...

Islamist groups of all kinds -- from the docile reciters of holy scripture and purveyors of charity to children, to the militant resistance fighters of Hamas and Hizbullah, to the occasional Al-Qaeda-type terrorists -- are deeply driven by practical, identifiable grievances. These grievances are anchored in three main spheres: national socio-economic conditions, the autocratic policies of national governments and out-of-control security agencies in the Arab-Asian region, and the policies of foreign governments and armed forces (mainly American and Israeli) in the same region.

Addressing and ultimately relieving those underlying grievances is the key to dealing with these Islamist groups, most of which will transform or wither into other, non-militant organizations in the wake of redress of grievances. It is heartening that some people in positions of authority and power in Afghanistan, NATO and the United States armed forces are now considering this rational approach to conflict-resolution, which seeks to promote peace and stability by politically addressing basic needs of justice and dignity.

What took them so long to embrace the obvious?
Image source here.