The IRA: The Irish Republican Army

The IRA: The Irish Republican Army

The IRA: The Irish Republican Army

The IRA: The Irish Republican Army

Synopsis

Authored by an individual with 30 years of experience studying terrorism as well as access to the most senior counter-terrorist army and police officers combating the IRA, this book provides the first complete analysis of the world's premier terrorist group to explain them in ideological as well as operational terms.

Excerpt

This book is an attempt to examine and explain one of the world’s most notorious terrorist groups—the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its modern incarnation the Provisional IRA (PIRA). It sets out from the premise that to understand any terrorist group one must first understand that group’s history, political philosophy, and social, cultural, economic, and political environment and circumstances. Note that psychology is not listed here, as very few terrorists or terrorist groups are driven by psychological factors in the sense that they are somehow abnormal, mad, or bad. In fact, as I have argued elsewhere, terrorism may well be quite a normal response for normal people given their circumstances. The problem is that we often fatally fail to understand their circumstances and their normality, instead simply assuming that our own normality applies to them.

In particular, this analysis emphasizes three key areas for understanding the IRA: classical social theory, the political theory of nationalism, and the political philosophy of Romanticism in opposition to the Enlightenment. All of these areas address directly the kind of sociopolitical problems confronting the men who made up the IRA. Meanwhile, a number of good books provide an excellent narrative history of the IRA (English’s Armed Struggle is highly recommended), so there is no reason to reinvent that wheel. What is in short supply, however, are serious attempts to analyze the IRA from a theoretical perspective. Indeed, good social theory analysis of Ireland in particular and terrorism in general is largely lacking in both fields.

The aim here is to develop an analysis that is theoretically informed, with particular reference to the ideas and the socioeconomic, religious, and . . .

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