Northern Ireland 1970–1998

Anthony James Joes

in Urban Guerrilla Warfare

Published by University Press of Kentucky

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780813124377
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813134833 | DOI:
Northern Ireland 1970–1998

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The fundamental cause of the fighting that started in 1968 in Northern Ireland was the unwillingness of the majority community in the province either to be reunified with the rest of Ireland or to grant the minority community those political and social rights considered the norm in Western Europe for generations. However, the progressive faction of the Irish Republican Army, called the Provos, which believed in the use of classic guerrilla insurgency and in the need for violent uprisings to achieve its republican ideal, could not muster enough popular support. Its use of violence and terrorist tactics, including robberies, assassinations, and arson, dismayed the Catholic community in the province even as it strengthened militancy among Protestant loyalists. Hence, it could be argued that the success of the government in containing the IRA in Northern Ireland owes much to the fundamental weakness of the position of Provos rather than on the brilliant and timely counterinsurgency strategy of the British Army.

Keywords: Northern Ireland; Irish Republican Army; Provos; terrorism; counterinsurgency; Protestants; Catholics

Chapter.  7690 words. 

Subjects: Military History

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