March 21, 2008

Engaging Hamas

It's Good Friday, and that means Abu Muqawama is off to church in a minute. But it also means the 10-year anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland (which was actually signed on 10 April, but whatever -- we'll run the risk of annoying Pope Gregory XIII and go with the lunar calendar). The UK and the IRA, it has emerged, had high-level contacts in the years prior to the agreements, and that leads some to say that Israel should cultivate similar contacts with Hamas. Should they? We here at Abu Muqawama stay out of Israel-Palestine arguments, but this debate on engagement between Rob Malley and Rob Satloff is worth listening to because it has obvious relevance to counter-insurgency strategy. When -- and under what conditions -- do you meet your enemy at the negotiating table?