Wednesday, July 27, 2005

IRA to Give up Armed Struggle 

Expect the official annoucement as soon as tomorrow:
The Irish Republican Army has given up its armed struggle for a united Ireland, agreeing to turn solely to political methods, an American businessman said yesterday after being briefed on a statement expected from the guerrilla group later this week.

The agreement, if borne out, would be a historic turning point in the violent history of Ireland and Northern Ireland. But there is still widespread official skepticism about I.R.A. promises, particularly when it comes to the issue of disarmament.

Indeed, it was not immediately clear whether the I.R.A. would address how several tons of arms, hidden in bunkers across Ireland, would be disposed of, according to the businessman, Niall O'Dowd, who brokered talks between the I.R.A. and American officials that helped lead to a cease-fire in 1994. The continued existence of those weapons, which were to have been destroyed under an agreement reached after the cease-fire, contributed to the collapse of the Northern Ireland government in 2003.

If Nial O'Dowd says it's going to happen, than that's a good sign. Typically, when a major IRA annoucement is about to be made, Irish American supporters get tipped off.

More from the Guardian:
Speculation has been ebbing and flowing since April, when the Sinn Féin leader, Gerry Adams, made a groundbreaking speech challenging the IRA to abandon its armed struggle and embrace politics, discarding the old strategy of the Armalite in one hand and the ballot box in the other...

But Sinn Féin says the IRA has spent months in an intense internal debate over abandoning guns for pure politics. It is thought that the organisation could issue a statement this week saying members are to end "active service" and transform themselves into an old boys' network of republican clubs.

But timing is everything and many remain cautious. The republican machine prides itself on news management. It would not want to make its historic announcement when it was not guaranteed to top the news agenda. Having often bombed London, the IRA does not now want to be associated with Islamist suicide bombers or risk seeing its groundbreaking announcement relegated to a paragraph on the wider terrorist threat...

Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness were in talks at Downing Street this week, and General John de Chastelain, the disarmament chief who would oversee any decommissioning that followed an IRA statement, is on standby in Dublin.

Last night Sinn Féin announced that Mr McGuinness and party colleague Rita O'Hare would head to the US today, heightening speculation that an announcement is imminent. A party spokesman said: "The purpose of the visit is to brief political opinion and Irish America on the political situation."

Let's see what happens next, but through the last 80 years, whenever the IRA issues a cease fire, or changes their goal, splinter groups break away, and often prove to be more deadly than the previous.

Frankly, I think the IRA won this battle, and possibly the "war". The 32 Counties will probably be united sooner than we think. Loyalists seee their rule slipping away, and are now attacking themselves. I expect to see some anti-Catholic violence next, possibly as an attempt to get the IRA to strike back at them, and give up the "political struggle" for an armed one. Thus, allowing Loyalist to say that the IRA can't be trusted. Whatever happens, it should be interesting.


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