Democracy Arsenal

« The NIE and Remembering Things Lost | Main | Chris Dodd is Confusing Me »

December 12, 2007

Walls
Posted by Max Bergmann

Iraq_wall_10 It was pointed out yesterday that the U.S. has begun building walls to separate segregated neighborhoods – a tactic actively deployed in Northern Ireland. While Matt describes these efforts in Northern Ireland as being some what “successful,” that is only true if the goal behind them was to achieve less violence, as opposed to broader political reconciliation. Erecting walls in both Belfast and Baghdad was/is likely a wise and necessary security tactic, but the need to build them tells us something about the intractable nature of the conflict in Iraq. Looking more broadly at British efforts in Northern Ireland provides other sobering lessons. Brendan O'Leary and John McGarry, two of the leading experts on Northern Ireland, detail the efforts of the British security services:

Up to 30,000 [equivalent to about 450,000 in Iraq] personnel regularly patrol the countryside and city-streets of the region, establishing armed ‘check-points’ at will. ‘Forts’ and observation posts with the latest surveillance technologies have been established in the heart of nationalistic districts. House-searching and civilian-screening take place on a massive scale, backed up by computer data-bases on over one quarter of the population... From time to time entire ‘town-centres’ are cordoned off and everybody entering such areas is subjected to rigorous searching...

But despite these efforts there was little political reconciliation for more than a decade and the situation on the ground continued to be tense:

Both civilians and security personnel travel warily in certain ‘shatter-zones’ or avoid them altogether; and migration from ‘mixed areas’ to areas of ethnic residential segregation in the 1970s reduced opportunities for ‘easy’ killings.

There are two relevant points here.

Belfast_wall_11 First, the U.S. cannot come close to replicating British efforts in Northern Ireland in Iraq. The Brits had 30,000 troops - this would be equivalent to having about 450,000 troops in Iraq. But perhaps more importantly the Brits were not dealing with an alien culture. They spoke the language, understood the culture and had good intelligence on the actors and groups that they were dealing with.

Second, is that even the British security services, with all of the advantages just mentioned, was not able to bring peace to Northern Ireland. No one looks back and says the British brought peace to Northern Ireland. Their efforts did help decrease some of the violence, but sectarian violence, politically motivated assassinations and intimidation continued. That is why after nearly two decades of British efforts in 1989 the UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland admitted that the IRA could not be militarily defeated. Instead, movement toward peace first took regional diplomacy between the UK and Irish governments, followed by continuous and eventually comprehensive negotiations that included all parties to the conflict.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451c04d69e200e54fb5159b8834

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Walls:

Comments

I know little about the situation in Northern Ireland, but I did take a bus from the Republic to Belfast seven months ago, and spent several days there. The peace accords had only recently gone into effect. There is no discernible border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (part of the UK). There used to be a checkpoint here, but now there is nothing. The bus keeps rolling.

One day I took a bus tour of the "troubled areas", including the Catholic and Protestant sectors. I rode on the upper floor of a double-decker bus. I got off the bus in the Catholic sector, visited the memorial to fallen independence-fighters, viewed the famous murals including one of Bobby Sands (favorable) and one of George Bush (unfavorable), and had a cup of coffee in a coffee shop before jumping on the next double-decker. The Protestant sector wasn't so interesting, but I have found that Catholics are usually more fun than Protestants so I wasn't surprised. On this bus tour I saw two (2) unarmed police and the fence between the Protestant and Catholic sectors, which I understand is closed at night. I did get hit with a thrown pinecone! A small one, tossed by a schoolboy, no doubt. Nowhere did I see 30,000 security personnel.

The remainder of my tour was spent in visiting the lovely gardens, a walking tour of Belfast and other touristic activities, including of course checking out as many pubs as possible. They definitely passed muster and were obviously popular with others as well. There is a lot of new construction and development in Belfast. People say that a lot of the money is coming from the Republic of Ireland. They intend to build a grand new exhibit at the place where the Titanic was built.

Part of the tour in Belfast was viewing a marker commemorating the visit of Bill and Hillary Clinton, right in front of the magnificent city hall. Bill Clinton is revered by both sides as a peacemaker.

Northern Ireland is now, and only recently, at peace because of the "comprehensive negotiations that included all parties to the conflict". That's what is needed in Iraq, a surge in diplomacy. I would imagine that the lessons learned in Belfast could be applied to Baghdad, and my experience indicates that they don't include walls and security personnel as a priority. Unfortunately Petraeus is the alpha male in Baghdad, not Crocker. What a pity.

Martin Van Creveld makes an interesting between the British counter-insurgency operation in Northern Ireland and the American involvement in Iraq in his newest book the Changing Face of War. Martin Van Creveld makes the case that the British tried not infringe upon the civil rights of the citizens of Northern Ireland, unlike the harsh reponses by the Americans towards the insurgents in Iraq. This made it possible for the British to develop a relationship with local leaders and create a peaceful settlement unlike the distrustful responses by the Iraqis towards any American meddling in any reconciliation talks.

Global unity is predetermined. Who will lead the world during that time is not yet clear. The American government participates in every feud big or small of other nations to secure their red carpet walk to that throne. In pure ethics we are not welcomed to interfere in internal conlicts within an individual, family or nation unless weare asked to or that weare being affected.

A small number of patients have had a sudden loss of eyesight after taking Viagra. This type of vision loss is caused by decreased blood flow to the optic nerve of the eye. It is not clear whether Viagra is the actual cause of such vision loss
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19562 viagra sale online
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19563 buy 50mg tramadol
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19564 buy kamagra online
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19565 buy female viagra

A small number of patients have had a sudden loss of eyesight after taking Viagra. This type of vision loss is caused by decreased blood flow to the optic nerve of the eye. It is not clear whether Viagra is the actual cause of such vision loss
viagra sale online
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19563 buy 50mg tramadol
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19564 buy kamagra online
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19565 buy female viagra

Only in us order viagra professional with the New Year's discount today!!! Convenient system of payment + home delivery!!! Hurry up!!! Only FDA approved!!!
http://rock.geosociety.org/forumstudenttravel/forum_posts.asp?TID=189&PN=1 buy discount levitra
http://rock.geosociety.org/forumstudenttravel/forum_posts.asp?TID=190&PN=1 buy discount cialis soft
http://rock.geosociety.org/forumstudenttravel/forum_posts.asp?TID=191&PN=1 buy discount cialis
http://rock.geosociety.org/forumstudenttravel/forum_posts.asp?TID=192&PN=1 buy discount viagra online

222222
Only in us order viagra professional with the New Year's discount today!!! Convenient system of payment + home delivery!!! Hurry up!!! Only FDA approved!!!
http://rock.geosociety.org/forumstudenttravel/forum_posts.asp?TID=193&PN=1 viagra sale online
http://rock.geosociety.org/forumstudenttravel/forum_posts.asp?TID=194&PN=1 buy 50mg tramadol
http://rock.geosociety.org/forumstudenttravel/forum_posts.asp?TID=195&PN=1 buy kamagra online
http://rock.geosociety.org/forumstudenttravel/forum_posts.asp?TID=196&PN=1 buy female viagra

Salam&mad
Only in us order viagra professional with the New Year's discount today!!! Convenient system of payment + home delivery!!! Hurry up!!! Only FDA approved!!!
http://viagratabs.yeublog.com/84222/ buy generic viagra pack
http://viagrasoft.yeublog.com/84224/ buy discount viagra soft
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19724 buy discount cialis online
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19725 buy cheap cialis online

**********
A small number of patients have had a sudden loss of eyesight after taking Viagra. This type of vision loss is caused by decreased blood flow to the optic nerve of the eye. It is not clear whether Viagra is the actual cause of such vision loss.
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19776 buy discount tramadol
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19777 buy female viagra online
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19778 buy kamagra online
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19779 buy discount levitra

*2*2**2*2*2*
A small number of patients have had a sudden loss of eyesight after taking Viagra. This type of vision loss is caused by decreased blood flow to the optic nerve of the eye. It is not clear whether Viagra is the actual cause of such vision loss.
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19780 buy discount cialis online
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19781 buy discount viagra online
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19782 viagra sale online
http://forums.ipodhacks.com/showthread.php?t=19783 buy generic viagra pack

The comments to this entry are closed.

Emeritus Contributors
Subscribe
Sign-up to receive a weekly digest of the latest posts from Democracy Arsenal.
Email: 
Powered by TypePad

Disclaimer

The opinions voiced on Democracy Arsenal are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of any other organization or institution with which any author may be affiliated.
Read Terms of Use