In this article, I will be taking an academic, analytic approach to the situation known as The Troubles, the period of violence in Northern Ireland in the latter half of the 20th century. I find it a valuable source of information for Nationalists to learn from, as it is one of the few examples of a widespread, sustained insurgency in the western world by western peoples and can be used to draw many parallels with what may happen in the future.
Since I’m writing for an international audience, the full details of The Troubles might not be known so I’ll give a brief overview, while I’m sure everyone knows about ‘The IRA vs The Brits‘, the situation goes back farther than that. Ireland had long been the rebellious part of the United Kingdom, and in the early 1600s King James decided to settle another troublesome group of people, the border Scots into the recently conquered Irish province of Ulster. The two peoples did not get along and there was frequent conflict between them, the focal point being the Battle of the Boyne, where the last Catholic monarch of England, James II with his largely Irish army backed by France was defeated by Prince William of Orange and Protestant supremacy in Britain, and Ireland in particular was assured afterwards. The battle remains an emotional part of the folklore of both peoples and an important part in their history.
Things mostly went along as normal (aside from a few rebellions here and there) until after the First World War, where the Irish finally launched a successful rebellion and became an independent republic in 1921. But the future issue was that 6 counties in Ulster, with a Protestant, Loyalist majority would remain part of Britain and thus the stage was set for the later conflict that we all know. Things boiled over again in the 60s when decolonization was going on and the ethnic Irish in Ulster felt that it was time the British left the island for good. The Loyalists were willing to do anything to prevent that, and the British government mostly just wanted to keep the peace. What followed was a 30 year, three-way conflict that would see 50,000 people killed and wounded before things reached a stalemate in 1998.
I’m not going to do a history of The Troubles, there’s a great many resources out there you can learn from if you’re interested (if you want something to start with, try the BBC documentary Provos Loyalists and Brits). I will be analyzing the various strategies the paramilitary/insurgent groups used, the counter-insurgency methods used by the British government and where they fucked up and where they went right. So let’s dive right in.
Claiming Territory: Like current Islamic ‘no go‘ neighbourhoods for police and ethnic Europeans, the community boundaries of Northern Ireland were clearly marked. You know exactly whose neighbourhood you’re in at any given moment by the plethora of flags flying and countless wall murals and symbols. It’s dangerous to be in one not your own, you risked getting the shit kicked out of you if someone picked up on your accent or asked where you were from at the very least.
These communities were effectively under the control of either side’s paramilitary group, British troops or Ulster policemen did not enter Irish neighbourhoods without a serious amount of backup and a reason to go in. Once you did, you can be sure the locals were going to be putting up a racket to alert the IRA to your presence (usually by banging metal garbage lids on the concrete) and a mob would start forming to pelt you with garbage and rocks.
What we can learn from this is that while Muslims have already established something similar to their own, perhaps in the near future, it’s highly probable that European Nationalists may establish ‘no go‘ neighbourhoods for migrants. A few flags, graffiti on walls and the occasional bashing of the stray paki that wanders in will mark this territory as their own and draw the future battle lines clearly.
Drawing the Public In: I can already hear the groans about trying to mobilize the clueless masses, it’s been tried countless times but nothing yet has seemed to get them off their asses and their faces out of the electric Jew. The Muslims will, I have no doubt about that. If they are provoked (pray for a German Breivik), they will most assuredly start to attack with more frequency and intensity. This is what we want, in Northern Ireland you were born into a side in an active war, there were no bystanders, no non-combatants and you’d be reminded of that if you decided to try and act otherwise by a knife in the ribs or a few boots in your spine.
People will bitch and moan about ‘heinous acts‘ from their own side as long as they feel they’re in peace and comfort. The communities in Northern Ireland honored the fighters on their side regardless of what they did, I’m reminded of the incident with Michael Stone, a loyalist who ambushed a funeral for three IRA members killed by the SAS and lobbed a few frag grenades into the crowd of mourners before fending off the mob with a pair of pistols. He’s a hero to the Ulster Loyalists while most people would decry him as a heartless terrorist nowadays. Get the situation tense enough and nationalists will be able to act with much greater freedom than before. This leads into my next point.
Never Let Things Cool Off: There were obviously ebbs and flows of combat during the troubles, it lasted decades after all. However, whenever things started to die down a bit, you can be sure some side would wind up doing something to provoke the other and kick-start the cycle of violence once more. In 1972, there was a particular incident ‘Bloody Sunday‘, the year before had seen the biggest escalation so far. There were riots over a newly introduced policy of internment for IRA suspects, relations between the Irish community and British army (who were surprisingly welcomed at first) deteriorated as several soldiers and civilians had been killed in the riots. It was a tense time but it was more than possible to weather the storm and let the new reality sink in.
The Troubles might have ended by the end of that decade were it not for the poor discipline of the British Army’s Paratroopers, who in a moment of panic and confusion when confronted with an angry mob, and in full view of the press, opened fire on the crowd, shooting close to 30 people and killing half of them. This had an absolutely explosive effect as you can imagine, support and recruitment for the IRA surged and the incident can be credited for turning the IRA into the formidable guerrilla movement it’s known as today. The IRA was on the path to extinction and would have likely faded if not for the trigger-happiness of some British paras. Each side in this coming fight will have a long list of incidents to avenge, and it will be added to frequently.
Collusion: Collusion between elements of the British Army and Intelligence services with the Loyalist paramilitaries (who they were officially opposed to) remained a strong sore point for the Republican/IRA cause. Much of the info is still classified but there is still quite a bit of evidence of collusion between the two groups. We can possibly expect something similar in the coming years, rogue elements of system’s armed wings coming to us with information and assistance. Like in Northern Ireland, I imagine some agents/military men will ultimately view the Islamists as the ‘real enemy’ and the nationalists as simply reacting to Muslim provocation, who should fade away once the Islamist threat is dealt with and things will be able to return to democratic normalcy.
Obviously however, we should be extremely cautious about affiliating or being in contact with such personnel as we’d have no way of knowing whether if they were a genuine sympathizer or an infiltrator out to collect intelligence on us. The government today is far less sympathetic than the British government was to the Ulster Loyalists during that era. Still, there exists the possibility that there will be collaboration between Nationalist groups and rogue elements on the system’s military/intelligence services fed up with the limp-wristedness of how their government in prosecuting the war against the Islamists.
Traitors: We should all be aware of the danger that infiltrator’s, spies and snitches pose to any nationalist movement, especially once things escalate to the point of violence. Intelligence operations in Northern Ireland were extensive; there were major campaigns involving electronic monitoring, recruiting double agents, and elaborate evidence gathering campaigns. There were several strings of mass arrests involving the IRA that crippled their operations for a time. Even the slightest suspicion that you were involved with it was cause to grab you and ship you off to an internment camp.
The lessons to learn from this are thus; limit information to those that are absolutely trusted and are completely committed to the cause with no possible weaknesses such as finances or family, operate in a cell structure so that if one unit goes down, it minimizes the impact on the organization as a whole and finally, go to the ends of the earth to punish known traitors to serve as an example to others. The IRA made it known that if you turned traitor, you and your loved ones would suffer a far worse fate than whatever the British state could do to you or them.
Arms: If a war is to be fought, arms will be needed for it. While I’m sure that those in North America will have little trouble with this, those in Europe will invariably have to work much harder at it. Initially we can expect that arsenals will be made mostly from private ownership; hunting rifles and shotguns with perhaps the occasional handgun. The paramilitaries in Northern Ireland were heavily armed and acquired their weapons through a variety of means; homemade weapons (The loyalists built hundreds of Sten-like SMGs), sympathetic foreign powers (Libya for the IRA, South Africa for the Loyalists), theft from police/military stores and black market sources. It takes time and a lot of effort to build up an arsenal, but in a few years the IRA went from leftover WW2 small arms, private hunting rifles, to homemade mortars and AR15s.
They’re going to come for your guns, that much is obvious. There’s going to be no-knock raids where doors are kicked in and houses torn apart looking for stashes of firearms. There are two lessons to learn from this; acquire weapons in small, frequent amounts rather than giving the authorities the opportunity to cash in on a big arms shipment bust. The second lesson would be to take a page from the Turner Diaries with regards to caches, many small stores scattered about the place are far less damaging than a single big store if they are found and seized.
The Dangers of Splintering: Though I’ve mostly spoken of the IRA at this point, I’d like to shine a light on their counterparts on the Loyalist side. The Loyalist Paramilitaries were in a better position to wage an effective insurgent campaign against the Irish Catholic community but struggled to seize the opportunity. They had sympathizers in both the police force, the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary), easily the most militarized police force Britain has ever had, the UDF (Ulster Defense Regiment, the local British army regiment) had several scandals in which arms were given over to Loyalist paramilitary groups. They had better access to equipment, arms and could be practically guaranteed that the local authorities would turn a blind eye to their activities and yet they were never as effective as the IRA was.
Why? Because there was a fucking ton of them and none of them really bigger than the other. Where the Republican Irish community certainly had its own splinter groups of the IRA, they were never nearly as influential and had to move in lock step with them to remain relevant. The Loyalist groups were constantly competing with each other for influence and membership, to the point where it boiled over into violence between them several times. The blame rests squarely on a squabbling and egotistical leadership who were more concerned with themselves being the chief rather than cooperating and having to share power. The lessons from this are that any group should have a formal means of addressing grievances, and squashing petty quarrels between it’s own members and other organizations lest it turn into a violent schism.
Rhetoric Must Match Deeds: This has been covered before in other articles and discussions, but if we are to fight, we must abandon the victimization, moralistic reasoning and slogans that permeate the far-right at the moment (bitching about persecution, white genocide and all that nonsense). We are the wolves and we aim to destroy those who oppose us utterly, let us say so. I say this because it was ultimately the IRA’s own rhetoric and moralistic posturing that did them in. They could still be fighting today if not for the incident of the Enniskillen Bombing. For years the IRA had toed a more or less social-democrat line of complaints and justification for their actions. They were persecuted, second-class citizens, the British state was murdering them without justification, their aims were just and noble and they were the heroic good guy freedom fighters in all this etc etc.
That rhetoric blew up in the faces with the Enniskillen Bombing, it shook the organization to its core and damaged their PR beyond repair. They detonated a bomb in a crowd on a Remembrance Sunday, the annual commemoration of British war dead from WW1 and killed a great many of them. The act of killing a large number of civilians out to mourn fallen ancestors in a war that had little to do with Irish independence was viewed as a heinous and hideous betrayal of the ideals that the IRA stood for, and greatly weakened them afterwards, the incident ultimately leading to them agreeing to come to peace negotiations with the British government.
In conclusion, I hope I’ve painted a bit of a picture of what the future might hold for us. We may have a tendency to romanticize what a coming war may look based on fiction like the Turner Diaries or Hunter, however if we use The Troubles as a gauge, the future looks more gritty and cloak-and-dagger. Let us read and go into whatever we may face with full knowledge of the situation and what may appear. I’ll be around in the comment section for any questions or further discussion.
Article by Alba