Hamas and the IRA – terror as a political weapon

Two examples of the effective use of terror as a political weapon

Gerry Adams wearing the Easter Lily badge. The...

Gerry Adams - Image via Wikipedia

To attack a democracy in its soft underbelly the most effective method is that used formerly by the IRA, and latterly by Hamas.


The secret is to create or adjust the structure of the organisation, so that it has two “wings”.

There is the Political wing, which, ideally, features urbane, charismatic, softly spoken  and articulate front men. And then there is the Military wing, which comprises the bully boys and the thugs who do the real dirty work.

In the case of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) the “front”was an actual political party, Sinn Fein. Its president and  leading spokesman was Gerry Adams–  who fulfilled all the criteria for such a post – as described above.

By denying that it has any operational connection to the military wing,  a political wing absolves itself of the responsibility for any actions (read “terror attacks”) carried out by the military wing.

Thus for a period of about 30 years from the mid 1960’s the IRA carried out a series of bombing and shooting attacks , frequently on solely civilian targets.

The locations included : pubs, clubs, restaurants, shopping centres and, even, city centres.  They caused the deaths of around 1800 people – at least 650 of those were civilians. Thousands of others were maimed for life.

It can be assumed that there was a direct link between the extent of the terror and the political negotiations which took place in parallel.

The tactic proved successful in that it eventually resulted in the signing in 1998, of what came to be known as “the Good Friday agreement“.

This was a complex document which created a sort of power sharing arrangement between Republican Catholics and Nationalist Protestants for the governing of the 6 Irish provinces which constitute the territory of Northern Ireland , which is a part of the United Kingdom.

There  is some ongoing disagreement as to the ultimate success of this deal – and both the Republicans and, especially, the British government are still papering over the cracks and trying to pretend that all is well.

Spasmodic attacks still continue.


Although the two wings of Hamas are not as clearly separated as were those  of the IRA – they still exist.

English: Khaled Meshaal in a meeting with span...

Khaled Meshaal - Image via Wikipedia

The softly spoken, articulate and lounge suited front men are Khaled Meshaal , head of the political bureau and Ismail Haniyeh, who was elected as Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority but was subsequently dismissed from this post by the Palestinian president, Mahmood Abbas.

The “military wing”- which is a sanitised form of saying  “the terrorist’militants”  have been responsible, either directly or through their proxies, for some of the most horrendous terror mounted against civilians even by the standards of “terror”.

During the past 10 years or so, about 800 civilians have been murdered in Israel in terror attacks and thousands maimed.  Hamas has been responsible for a large proportion of these. Hamas has also been responsible for the firing of around 10,000 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel.

And Hamas introduced a new Muslim dimension to the terror process – the suicide bomber.

The IRA detonated their bombs by remote control to ensure their personal safety.

And people still think that the Irish are Dumb?

In Hamas , the frequency and intensity of the terror is co-ordinated within the organisation to maximise the political requirements at any given time.

It is important to state the one fundamental difference between the IRA and Hamas.

The IRA, at no time was seeking the destruction of the United Kingdom. Their battle was for independent rule within the territory of  Northern Ireland.


Ismail Haniyeh Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Hamas, on the other hand , according to its charter and numerous public pronouncements, seeks the total destruction and eradication of the Jewish state and, even, the Jews.

The objectives are different – the methods are almost the same

Andyboy – Telling it as it is


2 comments on “Hamas and the IRA – terror as a political weapon

  1. Pingback: The Hamas Charter « andyboy

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