Former British intelligence agent Alastair Crooke has published a new book which one reviewer says is aimed at reassuring the West that Hamas and Hezbollah are not enemies of the West. According to a review of the book by journalist Seymour Hersh posted on the website of Crooke’s organization:
Crooke’s mission in this erudite and most readable book is to reassure America and the rest of the world that Hamas, Hezbollah and the seemingly menacing Islamic governments in Iran and elsewhere are not the enemies of the West… a scholarly and closely argued critique of what passes for Western diplomacy today.
Crooke is a a former agent of the British MI6 foreign intelligence agency and is described in a media report as secretly one of Britain’s leading intermediaries with militant groups. Former CIA agent Milt Bearden, who played a leading role in the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, and Graham Fuller, a former Vice-chair of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, are members of the Advisory Board of the Conflicts Forum headed by Crooke. Also a member of the Advisory Board is Azzam Tamimi, a leader figure in the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood and often described as a Hamas spokesman.
The media reported cited above describes a March 2005 meeting in Beirut attended by Crooke that included the Muslim Brotherhood as well as Musa Abu Marzuq, deputy leader of Hamas, and two of his senior colleagues, leaders of Lebanon’s Hezbollah and representatives of Pakistan’s Jamaat-e-Islami party. The report states that Crooke is part of an effort to establish a dialogue with radical Islamists through the Conflicts Forum, described by Crooke as an “action tank, not a think-tank”.