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Embuscades et agents secrets : la « sale guerre » des Britanniques en Irlande du Nord

Martyn Frampton and Rachel Bouyssou
Critique internationale
No. 41 (octobre-décembre 2008), pp. 21-39
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24565238
Page Count: 19
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Embuscades et agents secrets : la « sale guerre » des Britanniques en Irlande du Nord
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Abstract

This paper argues that, following recent revelations as to the identities of British agents within the Irish Republican Army (IRA), it is necessary to reassess why that organisation opted for a ceasefire in the early nineties. Rather than a product of a military stalemate, as is commonly portrayed, it is suggested that this was the result of the recognition, by the republican leadership, that the IRA had been all-but-defeated. Examination is made of the British state's 'dirty war' against the IRA and the serious ethical questions raised by that war; most notably, 'do the ends always justify the means?" At the same time, it is recognised that, ultimately, it was precisely this 'dirty war', allied to a public security strategy that placed greater emphasis on the rule of law and human rights, that provided for the ever-greater containment of the IRA. The contention would be that by mixing ordinary 'police work' with the clandestine use of agents, informers and lethal ambushes, the British state brought the IRA to a point where its leadership had little choice but to end the military campaign.

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