The History of the IRA

Northern Ireland has been plagued by bloody and virtually ceaseless violence for the better part of the last hundred years.The conflict in Northern Ireland is a combination of religious strife between Catholics and Protestants, nationalism versus colonialism and a search for a true Irish identity that has been elusive since the colonization of Ireland in 1603.Republicans in Ireland seek a unified Ireland, one that is free from the imperialistic hands of the British crown.In hopes of achieving this goal, the Irish Republican Army has waged a violent and bloody campaign against both Protestant unionists in the North and the English themselves.From 1920 until 1998 the IRA methods of terror instilled fear in the people of Northern Ireland while the division within its population grew deeper.The Belfast Agreement of 1998 represents the most promising opportunity for a peaceful political resolution and an end to IRA violence in Northern Ireland because the recent approach towards peace contrasts the approaches taken in previously failed attempts.
The process of politics in Northern Ireland bears the scars of long years of violence.The republicans, unionists and the British have all suffered high casualty rates from political and religiously motivated aggression.During the eighty or so years of violence there have been only two respectable attempts to establish a platform of peace that would satisfy each of the three key actors in this conflict.Each of these moves for peace crumbled because they were constructed on a weak and susceptible foundation.As Irish history demonstrates, reaching a peaceful solution will require a foundation that satisfies the needs of all those involved."Politics in Northern Ireland has never been a process.There, politics has been a zero-sum game with all the spoils going to the victors, with a huge dose of fatalism and frustration residing with the vanquished" (Arthur & Jeffe…


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