The IRA have recently reactivated, causing terror and chaos throughout Northern Ireland. On April 3 they assassinated a young policeman, Ronan Kerr, with the detonation of a car bomb in Omagh, United Kingdom. Today, an undetonated 500 pound bomb was discovered inside an abandoned van next to a major highway. Fast reacting bomb squads disarmed the explosives before it detonated, doubtlessly saving dozens of lives and millions of dollars of damages. Despite this decisive victory a dark, foreboding question has emerged in Northern Ireland: has civil war returned?
Why Have the IRA Gone on the Offensive?
They are copycats.
They are mimicking the violence seen around the world in the fallout of the Tunisia revolution. When the non-humanitarian government of Tunisia was overthrown a domino effect rippled across the world. The tyrants in Egypt and Algeria were overthrown and those nations are in the process of stabilizing. Meanwhile, other revolts around the world sprang up; for example there were anti-corruption protests throughout Croatia, the prime minister of Bolivia was forced to flee Oruro when outraged strikers invaded the city, and the IRA emerged from hibernation in Northern Ireland. The IRA’s actions were ignited by the sparks in the Middle East combined the yearning hope of a people’s revolution and what they believe to be a fair government.
Who Are the Modern IRA?
After the Belfast Agreement of 1998, which ended the century long struggle between Irish Separatists, Irish Loyalists, and the Her Majesty’s government the majority of conflict in Ireland ended. Isolated incidents, caused without the approval of any recognized party, continued until 2001, dwindling steadily in number and magnitude; the attacks are attributed to these two groups, one or both of wish have gone on the offensive once again.
These smaller, radical groups never accepted the ceasefire or turned in their arms, unlike the majority of the Irish Republican Army did after the Treaty of Belfast. They were still determined to bring Northern Ireland under Irish government, despite what the population want. The people of Northern Ireland, as a whole, may want to reunify with Ireland, but not at the cost of war.
Will These Incidents Ignite A Large Scale Revolution?
No. The population is too heavily divided for a large-scale rebellion to gain momentum.
There are major portions of the population who would be favorable of the IRA, many North Irishmen did not sympathize with the police in regards to the recent assassination of Ronan Kerr. However, these elements do not reflect the population as a whole.
Protestant minorities strongly favor the British Government and the Catholic majority in the region is heavily divided. This largely silent majority is split between favoring Irish and British; however both most definitely want to avoid further conflict. The region suffered billions of dollars of damage in the concluding years of the conflict; nobody wants to return to guerrilla warfare.
More incidents of death and destruction will occur, however once the culprits are captured these bombings will cease. Northern Ireland will return to its uneasy peace.