Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Re-visiting Bombings In Baghdad And Beatings In Belfast

On 5/3 I posted:
Read Wretchard's analysis of Non-State Belligerents and apply that analysis to the current state of conflict in Northern Ireland. Isn't this a better schema for understanding the murder of Robert McCartney and its aftermath (here and here)? The Provisionals and Unionists at the extreme (and sometimes not so extreme) end of the spectrum seem more like organized crime, both in means and in ends, than political aspirants. It is not a term of endearment when the IRA is called the "rafia" in Catholic neighborhoods. This would also explain this response by Sinn Fein to Republic Of Ireland's involvement in Northern political campaigns.
Wretchard's central point is the following:
What they are about is local, private fiefdoms. Rather than a strong central government, the strategic goal of the Iraqi insurgency may in fact be chaos; the endpoint not a nation-state but warlord-power in an atmosphere congenial to criminal activity.
Slugger O'Toole published an article decrying the hypocrisy of Unionist politicians regarding the murder of a private citizen by Unionist paramilitaries. This article also points to evidence to support the above thesis. Slugger links to an editorial in the Irish News. To quote:
While the UVF and LVF are engaged in some sort of power struggle - the exact reasons for which no-one really knows - the UDA are also apparently troubled by internal rifts.

Last week we had the unedifying spectacle of hundreds of UDA members facing each other down after a number of attacks on bars in different areas of Belfast. It would not take a lot for that dispute to end in death and injury as well.

As we await a statement from the IRA, hopefully bringing an end to that organisation's existence, is it too much to hope for loyalist organisations to do the same?

It is surely not too much to hope for a concerted effort from all shades of political opinion towards that goal. Think of the police resources which could then be freed up to deal with other forms of criminality.
Slugger quotes extensively from this editorial by Lindy McDowell, which opens with:
The LVF and the UVF are locked in bloody combat. The UDA is also at war - with itself. The IRA really hates the Real IRA. The Real IRA continues to hate the Continuity IRA. And the INLA hates everybody.
But this internecinene warfare, and the conflict between the republican and unionist paramilitaries, serves a greater purpose.
There is a point to paramilitary violence and those of us who just get swept away by the sheer horror of it all miss that point.

The point is about paramilitary self perpetuation.

The latest loyalist feud is part of that trend. It's about one group attempting to assert supremacy over another in a community that is already entirely revolted by all their methods and means.
. . . .
They also need to make a little more clear the revulsion of so many people at how these gangsters have attempted, and in some cases succeeded, in hijacking aspects of their culture.
. . . .
We allow paramilitaries to set the agenda in Northern Ireland - to set, not just one side of the community at the other's throat but to tear individual communities, streets, even families apart. Put simply, they know how to wind us up.

The paramilitaries by unspoken agreement, sustain each other's existence and excesses.
In this world, the herd is kept divided, confused and defenseless. The predators then feast as they will.