Conflicts Forum

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Think-tank founded by former MI6 agent Alistair Crooke in 2004 which 'aims to open a new relationship between the West and the Muslim world.'

Roberts Center Dialogues

Conflicts Forum has engaged in dialogue with a number of Islamist groups:

Through 2005 and 2006 a series of such meetings have taken place and garnered significant public and governmental attention. In 2005 we had two major meetings in March and July where we brought participants from the US and Europe to Beirut to meet with representatives from Hamas, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood and Jammat-e-Islami of Pakistan. [1]

Co-Director Mark Perry said in 2006 that the US Government did not support this initiative:

What's your relationship with the American government?
We have none. I talk to some people in the American government. They don't like what we do, they don't endorse what we do, they don't condone what we do. But we have shown that we do what they should have done, and they almost feel like they have to listen [to us]. We're doing what they're supposed to be doing: diplomacy and politics. [2]

Neocon criticism

Conflicts Forum's call for a dialogue with Islamism has aroused the opposition of neoconservatives. In April 2005, Melanie Phillips asked: "who exactly is currently responsible for the potentially lethal activities of the ‘former’ British MI6 officer Alistair Crooke?" [3]

When director Alistair Crooke called for a dialogue with Hamas in the pages of Prospect magazine in June 2006, he was denounced in the next issue as a product "of late-imperial British defeatism: an era when the main issue was the terms on which to exit the colonies," by Dean Godson of Policy Exchange.[4] [5]

Godson wrote:

Is Crooke a maverick? Or does he reflect a strand of thinking in the western intelligence services—the PC spook? One high-ranking ex-colleague of Crooke from MI6 emphasises that his views are not representative, and he has been out on a limb since he went on secondment to the EU in 1997. And yet he does not exist in a complete vacuum. For the post-imperial intelligence services are light years removed in values from their officer-class predecessors, so effectively lampooned in Christopher Andrew's Secret Service. Unlike the old guard, few serving officers axiomatically believe in the superiority of the British or even western way of life. Indeed, Paddy Ashdown noted in one of his diaries after addressing new MI6 entrants that he doubted there was a single Tory among them.


In October 2006, the United States Institute of Peace awarded Conflicts Forum $50,000 to conduct a research study of 'Disarmament vs Demilitarisation', and which of the two approaches might best be applied to the case of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

In January 2007, the European Union awarded €500,000 over two years starting in 2007 for a project to 'help develop more inclusive and legitimate approaches to transforming the Middle East conflict':

From Crisis to Opportunity: Inclusive Approaches to the Arab-Israeli Conflict - In partnership with The Middle East Policy Initiative Forum and the Oxford Research Group, a project funded by the European Union under its Partnership for Peace Programme. [6]


Board of Advisors




  1. Conflicts Forum - What We Offer, accessed 23 February 2008.
  2. The Rules of the Game, Laura Rozen, American Prospect, 14 July 2006.
  3. The crooked response to terror, Melanie Phillips's Diary, April 19, 2005.
  4. Talking to Hamas, Alistair Crooke, Prospect magazine, June 2006.
  5. Gone Native, Dean Godson, Prospect magazine, July 2006.
  6. Conflicts Forum - CF News, accessed 23 February 2008.