Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Is Jihadi terrorism like the IRA?

This comes from a friend, Ian Barrs, on Facebook

I do recognise that dealing with radical Jihadis is different from dealing with the IRA/INLA etc. Those were groups with essentially political aims who happened to be associated with one side of a religious/cultural divide, but were not primarily motivated by religious ideology. ISIS is, as Alexander Staniforth put it, an "apocalyptic death cult". Their aims and ambitions are fundamentally incompatible with Western civilization. We can't negotiate with them in the way that we did (like it or not) with the IRA, whose final "abandonment of the armed struggle" came about in part because they came to believe they could achieve a substantial proportion of their political goals without violence. While I recognise their are political elements to Islamic Jihadist terrorism, I'm less optimistic than some that any change to, for instance, US or British foreign policy would make a major or rapid difference.

BUT: their *tactics* - terror attacks on civilians in major cities - are very similar, and that was the comparison I was drawing. If I was making a prescriptive point, it was not what we *should do*, but what we *should not* do.

We should not think that a terror campaign can defeat a civilised country. A terrorist group is not an existential threat to the existence of our countries, to our systems of government and law, to our fundamental principles as a culture.

The only way it can become so is if we, out of fear, change our own nations so radically we cease to be what we were. 

Don't give them that victory.

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