The Iraqi IRA

Punditland is ablaze with analysis of Senator Edward M. Kennedy's recent fulmination that Iraq has become George W. Bush's Vietnam. As in so many things, the Senator is wrong. What is doubly surprising is that so many analysts with impeccable credentials in the study of history and political science are also so wrong.

Although there may be significant similarities between historical events no two are ever identical. The fact that Iraq is clearly not Vietnam does not mean that no similar situation has ever existed.  For example, there is a pattern of similarity between the events unfolding in Iraq and the British arrival in Northern Ireland.

If any British Muslims feel oppressed for the practice of their faith in 2004 they need to learn more respect for British history, for their position is as nothing compared to that of the Catholics of Northern Ireland in 1969. The exclusion of Catholics from the workforce and public life had led to the foundation of the civil rights movement, modelled exactly on the principles of non—violence espoused by Gandhi and King.
 
For this they drew more harassment, leading the Labour Government of Harold Wilson to send in the Army in 1969.

At first, the Catholic, mainly nationalist, community greeted them as protectors. Within a year, otherwise pacific nationalists were joining the IRA in numbers.

It is natural for those on the left to empathise with totalitarians like the Islamists, for any Islamic caliphate would make Soviet Russia look like New England. Like the Ba'athists and the Islamists, the IRA was and is informed by totalitarian ideology. At all times and under all circumstances, it has been the aim of the IRA and its political mouthpiece Sinn Fein to establish a Marxist state in Ireland. This is the first similarity. Like the Shi'ite militias and private armies in Iraq, but unlike the al Qa'edists and foreigners, they simply bided their time and agitated until what they perceived as the right conditions for their campaign were in place, and then they went to war.

Secondly, the support that the IRA drew, like the Islamists, is potent but small, now that the Ba'athists are spent. At no time could the IRA ever really count a membership of more than 1,000. The Iraqis have, by and large, stayed off the streets and declined to become involved in the rising.

Thirdly, the conduct of the Northern Ireland campaign was badly hampered by its domestic political opponents. The 'Troops Out' movement, merely another arm of international Marxism, agitated constantly for withdrawal. In the same way, Senator Kennedy, whose motives are not Marxist but still nakedly partisan, allies himself to the overt Marxists of the Anti—War Left and the Chomskyites for whom America can do no right. One wonders sometimes if the Senator has ever heard of an event called the Boston Tea Party, for he is no Sam Adams. This point is not clear to me. I would prefer to drop the sentence.

Fourthly, the IRA was part of an international terror movement that encompassed ETA, the PLO and the West German Red Army Faction. Moqtada Al—Sadr, Gerry Adams in a turban, has aligned himself with Hezbollah and Hamas. Even if he is not receiving direct aid from these killers, he considers himself part of the same 'movement,' in all likelihood run from Iran, which performs the same function for these people as Moscow and its puppet Gaddafi performed for the IRA, subversion by proxy.

One day, the shooting in Iraq will stop. It will stop more quickly than in Northern Ireland, where the killing lasted for nearly 30 years. The terrorists are now statesmen, disrupting the functions of the state while drawing public money to sit in its Assembly.

In November 2003, an election was held to reconstitute Stormont, the Assembly, but such is the failure of the Blair government to deliver on its promises, that the people produced what was for Blair the wrong result. The Unionist majority voted almost en masse for the Rev. Ian Paisley's hard line Democratic Unionists, with the nationalists putting Sinn Fein into the majority on their side for the first time in the province's history. Not surprisingly, the Assembly hasn't yet been reconstituted.

This kind of polarization is one possibility for Iraq of the future, unless the Coalition takes the step that the British in Ulster failed to take so often: deal with the opposition properly.

The IRA always used the terminology of war to decide its campaign, and successive governments failed to take this seriously. The likely Democrat candidate for the Presidency speaks of rolling the clock back to 1993 and indicting Osama, completely the wrong strategy for dealing with any form of terrorist, whether in Baghdad or Belfast. It's enough to make one wonder whether they want the Iraqis to live in a free and open society. They cannot surely be so partisan. Can they?

Martin Kelly is a free—lance writer in Glasgow, Scotland
 

 

Punditland is ablaze with analysis of Senator Edward M. Kennedy's recent fulmination that Iraq has become George W. Bush's Vietnam. As in so many things, the Senator is wrong. What is doubly surprising is that so many analysts with impeccable credentials in the study of history and political science are also so wrong.

Although there may be significant similarities between historical events no two are ever identical. The fact that Iraq is clearly not Vietnam does not mean that no similar situation has ever existed.  For example, there is a pattern of similarity between the events unfolding in Iraq and the British arrival in Northern Ireland.

If any British Muslims feel oppressed for the practice of their faith in 2004 they need to learn more respect for British history, for their position is as nothing compared to that of the Catholics of Northern Ireland in 1969. The exclusion of Catholics from the workforce and public life had led to the foundation of the civil rights movement, modelled exactly on the principles of non—violence espoused by Gandhi and King.
 
For this they drew more harassment, leading the Labour Government of Harold Wilson to send in the Army in 1969.

At first, the Catholic, mainly nationalist, community greeted them as protectors. Within a year, otherwise pacific nationalists were joining the IRA in numbers.

It is natural for those on the left to empathise with totalitarians like the Islamists, for any Islamic caliphate would make Soviet Russia look like New England. Like the Ba'athists and the Islamists, the IRA was and is informed by totalitarian ideology. At all times and under all circumstances, it has been the aim of the IRA and its political mouthpiece Sinn Fein to establish a Marxist state in Ireland. This is the first similarity. Like the Shi'ite militias and private armies in Iraq, but unlike the al Qa'edists and foreigners, they simply bided their time and agitated until what they perceived as the right conditions for their campaign were in place, and then they went to war.

Secondly, the support that the IRA drew, like the Islamists, is potent but small, now that the Ba'athists are spent. At no time could the IRA ever really count a membership of more than 1,000. The Iraqis have, by and large, stayed off the streets and declined to become involved in the rising.

Thirdly, the conduct of the Northern Ireland campaign was badly hampered by its domestic political opponents. The 'Troops Out' movement, merely another arm of international Marxism, agitated constantly for withdrawal. In the same way, Senator Kennedy, whose motives are not Marxist but still nakedly partisan, allies himself to the overt Marxists of the Anti—War Left and the Chomskyites for whom America can do no right. One wonders sometimes if the Senator has ever heard of an event called the Boston Tea Party, for he is no Sam Adams. This point is not clear to me. I would prefer to drop the sentence.

Fourthly, the IRA was part of an international terror movement that encompassed ETA, the PLO and the West German Red Army Faction. Moqtada Al—Sadr, Gerry Adams in a turban, has aligned himself with Hezbollah and Hamas. Even if he is not receiving direct aid from these killers, he considers himself part of the same 'movement,' in all likelihood run from Iran, which performs the same function for these people as Moscow and its puppet Gaddafi performed for the IRA, subversion by proxy.

One day, the shooting in Iraq will stop. It will stop more quickly than in Northern Ireland, where the killing lasted for nearly 30 years. The terrorists are now statesmen, disrupting the functions of the state while drawing public money to sit in its Assembly.

In November 2003, an election was held to reconstitute Stormont, the Assembly, but such is the failure of the Blair government to deliver on its promises, that the people produced what was for Blair the wrong result. The Unionist majority voted almost en masse for the Rev. Ian Paisley's hard line Democratic Unionists, with the nationalists putting Sinn Fein into the majority on their side for the first time in the province's history. Not surprisingly, the Assembly hasn't yet been reconstituted.

This kind of polarization is one possibility for Iraq of the future, unless the Coalition takes the step that the British in Ulster failed to take so often: deal with the opposition properly.

The IRA always used the terminology of war to decide its campaign, and successive governments failed to take this seriously. The likely Democrat candidate for the Presidency speaks of rolling the clock back to 1993 and indicting Osama, completely the wrong strategy for dealing with any form of terrorist, whether in Baghdad or Belfast. It's enough to make one wonder whether they want the Iraqis to live in a free and open society. They cannot surely be so partisan. Can they?

Martin Kelly is a free—lance writer in Glasgow, Scotland