weapon was the Armalite, the civilian version of the American MI6 assault rifle, a high-velocity semiautomatic, which is small and easily concealed.

For the long haul of continuing, low-level conflict since the late 1970s, the war has been fought between two sets of professionals. The reorganization of the IRA in the latter part of 1978 into ASUs brought a distinct change of tactics. The cells began to operate independently of the local population, mostly, for security's sake, outside the home areas of its members. This diminished the potential spontaneity of their attacks. The IRA turned to once-off, highly planned bomb attacks like Mullaghmore and Warrenpoint in August 1979 and Camlough in May 1981. The bombing campaign was extended in the late 1980s from Great Britain to British military installations, personnel and their families in Germany and Belgium. Gibralter seems to have been another target. The close involvement of fighters with the people has been severed and replaced by the political tactics of Sinn Fein, leaving "a stratum of intelligent, astute and experienced terrorists," to quote the Glover Report, at war with the British Army and police. In November 1989 Peter Brooke, the secretary of state for Northern Ireland, attracted a storm of protest from Unionists and loyalists when he admitted that military defeat of the Provos was not in sight and that "a policy of containment" was the only prospect. He hinted at willingness to talk to Sinn Fein: "If in fact the terrorists were to decide that the moment had come when they wished to withdraw from their activities" ( Hearst and Wintour, 1989).


CONCLUSION

Both the evidence of the geography of violent events and the strategic statements of British authorities and the IRA bear a strong resemblance to the prescriptions of the gradient of power model. The incumbents hold the center and contain the insurgents on the periphery. The insurgents survive most easily in the outer fringes but must press into the core area when they can to erode and question the government's ability to govern. This pattern, established by 1974, has survived for more than a decade. The low level of this equilibrium of violence, giving Northern Ireland a lower death rate than most major U.S. cities, is accompanied by continued competition by more politic means as well as a terrorist campaign that extends to Great Britain and the European mainland. In the turn to politics and the prospect of negotiation, as well as the demise of Northern Ireland's strategic significance, lies the hope for a solution.


REFERENCES

Baynard P. 1985. "The Security Forces 1969-1985." In The Divided Province: The Troubles in Northern Ireland 1969-1985, edited by K. Jeffery. London: Orbis.

-161-

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Terrain and Tactics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Tides in Contributions in Military Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vii
  • 1 - Military Geography 1
  • References 3
  • 2 - Some Third World Wars 5
  • References 30
  • 3 - The Lie of the Land 31
  • Reference 39
  • 4 - The World at War 41
  • References 68
  • 5 - Geography of Revolution 71
  • References 85
  • 6 - The Geography of Battles 87
  • References 103
  • 7 - Classic Spatial Ploys 105
  • References 111
  • 8 - Terrain and Tactics 113
  • References 123
  • 9 - Guerrillas and Counterinsurgency 125
  • Conclusion 134
  • References 135
  • 10 - War in Cities 137
  • References 148
  • 11 - Northern Ireland 149
  • References 161
  • 12 - Fighting in the Landscape and Fighting for a Place 163
  • References 167
  • Bibliography 169
  • Index 175
  • About the Author 183
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