Roy Hattersley suggests that the hard line action against paramilitaries that the Unionists are looking for, will necessarily lead to an unraveling of the peace process. Reg Empey outlines a key dilemma facing pro-agreement Unionists over remaining in government with Sinn Féin and its links to an armed paramilitary organisation. The Gerry Adams responds by throwing the focus back onto Loyalist killings.
There has been several mentions in the last few weeks of the aggressive approach of a new leader in the UFF in North Belfast. John Reid was warned of this aggresive new policy during a meeting on the 3rd July:
“During the talks one of the UDA leaders, commander of the terror group in north Belfast, issued a prophecy to Reid. Andre Khaled Shoukri is the UDA brigadier in north Belfast. Shoukri, the son of Egyptian parents, was put into the post by Johnny Adair, the most notorious loyalist leader in Northern Ireland. Known as ‘The Turk’, Shoukri is known to take a militant stance over republican attacks in Protestant areas in the north of the city. According to loyalist and security sources, Shoukri told Reid that, while the UDA does not want to engage in sectarian conflict, if there were attacks from the nationalist side ‘we would respond three and four times harder than them’.”
Henry McDonald continues:
On the other side of the paramilitary divide, the IRA is privately furious with the INLA and its role in the shooting that sparked off this latest round of sectarian murder.
“Twenty-four hours after the Lawlor killing, the IRA held a secret meeting in west Belfast with INLA leaders. The meeting, convened by Catholic priests in the constituency, was understood to have been fraught. The IRA, according to republican sources, told INLA that its actions on Sunday evening ‘got Catholics killed’ in north Belfast. Tensions between the two organisations are high following 12 July – Ulster loyalism’s most sacred day. IRA members, including Padraig Wilson, the Provos’ former leader in the Maze prison, alongside Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly, physically prevented nationalist youths from attacking a loyalist band parade passing by Ardoyne on 12 July.”
Some individuals are still being targetted during the ceasefire.