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Abdel Bari Atwan on How to Destroy Al Qaeda

Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation asked Abdel Bari Atwan, editor of Al-Quds Al-Arabi, what would have the biggest effect on Al-Qaeda.

He responded by saying things that are absolutely verboten in the U.S. but are more or less completely sensible.

First, you have to do something about the Arab-Israeli conflict, he said.

Then you have to recognize that “the war on terror is unwinnable.” That would deprive Al Qaeda of “a lot of ammunition… You have to pull out the troops from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq,” he continued.

“Talk to the Taliban…directly. The Taliban is not alien to Afghanistan, it is not like Iraq.”

Finally, “we have been listening to the Israeli point of view for the last 60 years. Let us listen to the other point of view — or at least let us list to Ehud Olmert,” the former Israeli prime minister who wants to withdraw from the West Bank.

Wow.

I don’t endorse withdrawing from Afghanistan, and we don’t have troops in Pakistan to withdraw, but the rest of that sounds rather sensible. (At the very least, a verifiable peace deal that would trade genuine Taliban disarmament and incorporation within the Afghan government for U.S. withdrawal sounds worth exploring.)

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