IRA Dumps Weapons

I’m sitting in my hotel room in Derby (pronounced “Dahby”), listening to the BBC News discuss today’s announcement that the IRA has announced an end to terrorist attacks.

It’s an interesting – and hopeful – piece of news. They have been running down the history of IRA violence since the 1970’s, and point out that over 3,000 people were killed in the IRA conflict. I hadn’t thought of it as being that deadly, thinking more of the polite warnings before bombs were set off in London in the 1980’s.

The interesting question, obviously, is the effect of 7/7 and 7/21 on this decision.I’ve been dining with my co-workers – part of the reason for my trip is to take the folks here out and get to know them. They’re young information workers, hip, liberal, anti-war marchers almost to a man.

And the bombings have made them quite willing to see the Muslim community in the U.K. placed under close watch; the radical imams deported or jailed, their anti-Western mosques closed, and their disaffected young followers deported – or jailed. Political correctness? Fuggedabout it. Civil rights? “What about the civil rights of the victims?” they reply.

This is a big deal. The political cost of terrorism just went up. I think the IRA just did the math and decided that a change was necessary.

It’s never been free…note Hammes’ book talks about this loss in his discussion of the second Intifada… but somehow I’m wondering of the cost hasn’t gone up dramatically.

I’d always assumed that the IRA had been badly weakened by 9/11, as much of it’s financial base in the 70’s and 80’s was in the American Northeast. And I can’t believe that the donations were as forthcoming in October.

It’ll be interesting to watch and see how tis plays out.

2 thoughts on “IRA Dumps Weapons”

  1. - Probably the ETA Basque separatists faced the same decision after the Madrid bombings, but chose to continue the violence even at the risk of being lumped in with al-Qaeta. The difference might have been the existance of a viable political representative in Sein Fein for achieving the IRA’s goals, something I don’t think ETA has.

    – This is a hopeful development, and it puts a lot of pressure on the Ulster loyalists to follow suit, especially if the IRA follows it up with verified arms turnovers. Unfortunately, there’s a number of splinter groups like the “Real IRA” who won’t feel obligated to follow the IRA’s lead, and it’ll only take a couple of bombings from them for the loyalists to use it as a pretext for refusing to disarm their forces…which could well start the spiral going again between them and the IRA.

    – Frankly, one can’t help but admire the canny timing in this on the IRA’s part. Right now, most of British security is focused on stopping Islamist extremists, so the UK is probably more than happy to consider making significant political concessions to the IRA in things they care about like power-sharing and prisoner releases, in exchange for not having to devote resources to combating the IRA. Very much a matter of “striking while the iron is hot” on the IRA’s part.

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