"Northern Ireland is relevant here. Peace was made there only after many years and after the British Army convinced the Irish Republican Army that it could not shoot its way into power. "But just as important were British diplomats, who made it clear that minority Catholics could get a fair deal if they renounced violence and embraced politics. Indeed, while they did not get all they wanted, they got a great deal more than they had." Thus wrote former Bush Irish special envoy Richard Haass, now head of the Council on Foreign Relations. Haass writes in Newsweek this week on the Middle East blowup between Hamas and Israel. Haass was highly respected during his time working on the Northern Ireland issue, but one could take exception to what he has stated this week. It was surely just as much a case of the IRA convincing the British Army they could not win the war either. The British Army tried dirty tricks, shoot to kill and many other extraordinary measures before admitting it was still a stalemate. Also, British "diplomats" had nothing to do with Northern Ireland, as the British claim it as their own. Perhaps the real lesson could be that armies are very blunt instruments and without political framework armies only make things much worse. That may be the real lesson for Israel and Hamas.
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