The IRA Bows Out

The Irish Republican Army has announced it will lay down its arms and press forward with devolution – the political process of obtaining local governing rights within the United Kingdom. The timing of the IRA decision is curious, and one cannot help think the London attacks played some part in the decision by the IRA to end their thirty year campaign of terror.

Armed Liberal posits “the political cost of terrorism just went up” , that there is less tolerance to acts of terrorism among the traditional financial support in the American Northeast since 9/11, and particularly in London since to 7/7 and the [failed] 7/21 bombings of the subway system. He explains how liberal Londoners are more than willing to put aside political correctness and civil liberties to root out the terrorists:

[T]he 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.

Another possible motivation for the IRA is the increased scrutiny that all terrorist operations will come under in the wake of the attacks on London. The investigation is intensifying, with four of the suspects in the failed 7/21 attacks arrested and the suspected mastermind detained in Zambia.

The global nature of terrorism ensures that at some point new connections between al Qaeda and the IRA will be uncovered, potentially unleashing a political firestorm for the IRA. Rachel Ehrenfeld documents the IRA’s long and varied hooks into the international terrorist community. These groups inevitably share training, logistics, knowledge and contacts to further their goals, despite their ideologies.

Students of terrorism can easily trace the IRA’s connections to the PLO and its numerous factions back to the 1970s and 1980s, when IRA and PLO operatives trained together in Libya and the Bekaa Valley. Today, IRA involvement is ongoing in Colombia, where al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad factions – to name a few – are engaged in illegal arms and drug trafficking and money-laundering. Recent revelations about al Qaeda training methods has been also identified as carrying some of the IRA’s trademarks.

There have been no connections between the London attacks and the IRA, but enough digging by British police could turn up some unpleasant information. This can now be mitigated by the IRA’s renouncement of terrorism.

It appears the IRA was an unintended casualty of al Qaeda’s quest for blood, removing a deadly organization from the terrorist mix. If they keep their word, that is.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.


  • F.Gael says:

    Well since the IRA has not conducted a bombing since 1995 I think you oversell your point. Certainly 9/11 and 7/7 made the group’s return to terror nearly impossible but they have been moving away from terrorism (not violence per se) since as early as 1991 (secret communication with PM Major) 1994 (cease fire) or 1998 (Good Friday Accord).
    The reaction in both NI and the Republic to the pub murders and the bank heist had sealed the fate of the IRA well before 7/7. There are still several splinter groups involved in tribal justice and sectarian killing on both sides. There is also the question of what will happen to the Loyalist paramilitaries which have killed about half the number of the IRA.

  • evariste says:

    F. Gael, do you mean that the Loyalists killed half as many innocents as the IRA, or that the Loyalists killed half the IRA’s members?

  • Walter E. Wallis says:

    Do they give back the money, too?

  • Victor says:

    The london blast not only hurt london it hurts all world. Not only the london blast america’s twin tower trageedy is also the biggest terror in the world.We should stand together against terror.

  • Walter E. Wallis says:

    Someone needs to hunt down Bernadette Devlin and ask if she is proud of what she started.


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