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Talking to Terrorists

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Talking to Terrorists
Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair (R) and his chief of staff Jonathan Powell arrive at Buckingham Palace on April 5, 2005 in London, England / Scott Barbour / Getty Images

That’s the thing that gives me sleepless nights — the way we disappointed the Iraqis who hoped there was going to be a new life for Iraq, and the way we weren’t able to control the anarchy that sprung up after that, that led to the Sunni-Shia civil war that goes on today.

Jonathan Powell is CEO of the conflict resolution charity Inter Mediate and has made a career talking to some of the world’s most dangerous people. He was U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair’s chief of staff, chief negotiator in the Northern Ireland peace process, and the author of “Talking to Terrorists: How to End Armed Conflicts.”

In a frank, thoughtful and occasionally tense conversation with New Lines’ Faisal Al Yafai, they discuss why he advocated talking to the Taliban 10 years ago; the missed opportunities of the war on terror; what it was like negotiating with the IRA; how history will remember Tony Blair — and whether he has sleepless nights over the invasion of Iraq.

Podcast producer: Joshua Martin

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