Calls grow for talks with al-Qaida

The man widely regarded as frontrunner to become the next commissioner of the Metropolitan police has said the government should consider talking to al-Qaida.

The comments come two months after Jonathon Powell, former chief of staff in Downing Street, made similar calls for talks.

Talking to the Guardian, Sir Hugh Orde, currently chief of Northern Ireland police, said IRA members has entered into negotiations after realising a violent method “wasn’t ever going to work”.

He added talks with al-Qaida were just “a question of timing”.

But he also stressed maintaining a tough law enforcement strategy would help in bringing terrorists to the negotiating table.

Both Sir Hugh Orde and Jonathon Powell appear to have been influenced by the success of the Northern Ireland peace agreement, but the Foreign Office refuses to countenance any suggestion of negotiation.

Military and terrorist experts often treat such comments with suspicion as well, with criticism that they refer to al-Qaida as if it had a traditional military organisational structure. Most experts believe different cells act independently of each other, and that an agreement with one will not necessarily entail agreement with another.