British Efforts to Stop Irish Republican Terrorism Backlashes

  1. Terrorism and Homeland Security

Key Findings


  • Operation Motorman (a military surge of over 30,000 troops) showed evidence of a deterrent effect.

Description


In their article, “The Impact of British Counterterrorism Strategies on Political Violence in Northern Ireland: Comparing Deterrence and Backlash Models,” LaFree and colleagues evaluate the effects of six efforts by the British government to stop terrorism by Irish Republicans and find that three seem to lead to an increased (not decreased) risk of terrorism. Only one is associated with a decreased risk, while the remaining two seemed to have had no effect on terrorism. The three interventions associated with backlash are internment (detaining nearly 2,000 suspects), criminalization/Ulsterization (treating jailed terrorists as criminals rather than political prisoners and making the local police force responsible for security), and the Gibraltar incident (the shooting and killing of three IRA operatives). Only Operation Motorman (a military surge of over 30,000 troops) showed evidence of a deterrent effect.

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