reply to post by stumason
Stu, with all due respect there is not much in the way of comparison between the NI troubles and the troubles in the Middle East, although I can see
why it is a comfortable analogy. During Operation Cast Lead I had my own internal struggle and I thought the same thing at one point. However the
analogy does not stand up to reasonable scrutiny:
1) The IRA, or the republican movement, did not enjoy a majority of popular support in Ulster (although I understand they did in Ireland as a whole).
Hamas's goals (Islamification of the region, downfall of the Israeli government) do enjoy popular support amongst Palestinians in varying degrees.
2) The IRA did not have military control over any area - although they did have some authority over predominantly Catholic areas, they were not able
to operate freely in those areas. The British maintained control throughout. Hamas, on the other hand, has complete and total control over the Gaza
Strip (but not over its borders) - thanks to the disastrous concessionary policies of the Sharon government.
3) The attacks from Hamas are not comparable to the attacks on mainland Britain by the IRA. The IRA attacked civilian, political and military targets
using explosive devices. Hamas attacks civilian targets only, using ranged weapons. The difference is that the first type of attack can be dealt with
using traditional counter-terrorism methods (as Israel has also successfully done in the past against bombings), whereas the second cannot. I really
do not see an alternative to restricting the import of weaponry and military strikes on the launch sites.
4) The motivation is significantly different. The IRA's reason for its attacks was to create fear and reduce support amongst the British for the
Irish loyalist cause. Hamas's main reasons for attacking Israel are two-fold: To provoke a military response in order to garner sympathy and support
overseas, which translates directly into cash, and to make life difficult or impossible for people living in towns bordering Gaza, thus increasing
their sphere of influence.
5) We in Britain did not beat the IRA or republican terrorism. We maintained the status quo, and would have done so indefinitely. That's what
governments tend to do (except Labour governments, which tend to legislate like there's no tomorrow until everything's broken). What finally
defeated terrorism and the IRA was the drying up of funds from overseas (particularly the US) in the wake of 9/11. This made it easier to buy the IRA
6) We were never attacked by Ireland. If Ireland has started lobbing missiles into Protestant communities in Ulster, we would have retaliated with
extreme prejudice. And we would not have been taking the measures that Israel took to avoid civilian casualties, and we certainly wouldn't have paid
attention to the UN telling us to stop.
While the leaders of the republican cause (particularly Adams and McGuiness) sold out to Britain, the cause is still very much alive and well and all
of the hatred and resentment is still there. That will take generations of effort.
[edit on 2-9-2009 by mattpryor]