IRA No Longer a Terrorist Threat
Encouraging news out of Northern Ireland: according to the Independent Monitoring Commission, established by the British and Irish governments in early 2004 to help promote the creation of a peaceful and inclusive Northern Ireland, the Irish Republican Army is no longer a terrorist threat:
We believe that PIRA has taken a strategic decision to follow a political path. It does not in our view present a terrorist threat and we do not believe it is a threat to members of the security forces. The leadership has given instructions that the membership of PIRA should not engage in public disorder. Any illegal activity which may be engaged in by the organisation or its members is mainly of a kind to be addressed by the police without need for military assistance.
The IMC’s report is not as positive — though also not completely pessimistic — regarding loyalist paramilitary groups such as the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF):
Loyalist paramilitaries are heavily involved in organised and other crime, including drugs. They have shown themselves capable of extreme violence, for example, during the UVF/LVF feud in the summer of 2005 and at the Whiterock disorders in September. Though we do not think they present a continuing terrorist threat to the security forces akin to that of the dissident republicans, they showed in those disorders that they were ready to mount attacks on the security forces, having planned and equipped themselves in advance to use extreme violence. Though none of the loyalist groups have taken strategic decisions similar to that taken by PIRA, we believe there are signs of a possible readiness to turn away from some of their present criminality. It is impossible to say at this stage how far, if at all, these signs will develop into any real changes of behaviour.
The complete IMC report is available here.