Chapter 7: ‘They haven’t gone away, you know’
In the United Kingdom in August 1995, Gerry Adams made a jocular remark, ‘They haven’t gone away, you know’. It was stated during tortuous negotiations of the peace process, and made as a reassurance to worried republican residents of Northern Ireland that their would-be IRA protectors had not deserted them. A decade later his words were borne out horribly, in March 2008, when two British servicemen were murdered by the Real IRA and 24 hours later a Northern Ireland police officer was murdered by Continuity IRA. The intense post-2001 intense international activity against al Qaeda has led to the activities of other terrorist groups being underestimated and even overlooked. Chapter 2 described the initial stages of the United States authorities scrutinizing of Arab regimes in 2001 and early 2002, and the adverse reaction. One of the lessons learned from this, according to a US academic, was that ‘the United States should pick its battles carefully’ and not insist on pursuing the funds of all Arab extremist groups other than al Qaeda.1 The United Sates and their allies, in their international efforts against terrorist financing in the decade after 9/11, appear to have taken such advice to extremes. Other terrorist groups did not go away, made headway and carried out their activities, whilst the major efforts of anti-terrorism and anti-terrorist financing were being deployed against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
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