Peter’s guide to peace processing and the lesson for Iraq…

ACCORDING to his own website, wannabe deputy prime minister Peter Hain said in January: “I don’t think you could make comparable points about Northern Ireland and Iraq.” However, this is June, so the Secretary of State for Here has compiled a list of six “fundamental principles” from the Northern Irish peace process that should be implemented in, errr, Iraq. They’re copied below the fold, with Northern Irish translations, should anyone in Iraq be reading.:: The need to create space and time, free from violence, in which politics can develop;

I thought about consulting David McNarry on this point – he’s an expert in the political space-time continuum – but sadly he was on another planet at the time. Roughly translated: secure a ceasefire and make sure it lasts, in the hope that those with political ambitions can outfox those with a more militant outlook.

:: The need to identify key individuals and constructive forces in all sides of the conflict;

Find out who can be bribed with power and who genuinely wants a fair and peaceful settlement.

:: The importance of inclusive dialogue at every level, wherever there is a negotiable objective, and avoiding or resolving pre-conditions to dialogue, which can strangle negotiations at birth;

Find out who can be safely ignored – generally, those who genuinely want a fair and peaceful settlement, as they had no guns to start with. Pretend to like the people with the guns. Don’t ask them to put them down just yet, in case they get itchy trigger fingers.

:: Taking risks to sustain that dialogue, even if it means “talking to the enemy”, to underpin political progress;

Negotiate with terrorists.

:: The alignment of support of national and international forces;

Call the Americans in, though this tactic has been more successful in Northern Ireland than in Iraq.

:: The micro-management of a conflict at the highest political level.

Get Tony to come Here to make another promise he can’t keep. Alternatively, hire a castle for the weekend.

  • hamlet

    Pure and utter CRAP Mr Hain. The onlr word to describe your peace processing and the lesson for Iraq…

  • snakebrain

    good analysis there, gonzo

  • nmc

    I’d like to see Pete sent to Iraq so he can apply his extensive knowledge of peace processing, and watch him fall flat on his face.

    Pete wants some of the credit for NI primarily to support his attempt to become deputy PM. Fair enough, it happened on his watch.

    What is annoying me more is the fact that he had nothing to do with the majority of advances made here, most of which happened prior to May ’05.

    His primary achievement here (IMHO) has been to allow the situation for government to happen, something all other SoSs would have been happy to do. Threatening and cajoling Ian to share power, all the while not realising that the serpentine Rev. was desperate for power but didn’t want to show it. The same logic applied to Gerry and the police, not realising he’d sell his granny for a set of high gates on the Donegal pad.

    God bless you Mo, rest in peace.

  • heck

    the main similarities

    british imperialism caused the problem

    a lasting peace is only obtainable when the Brits go

  • Turgon

    Its quite clear then the Northern Ireland conflict isn’t about to go away soon. I don’t think many of us Brit types have arranged to leave just to please you.

    I must admit one of the things I find most grating about Hain et al is the deliberate differentation between Al Qaida and our own terrorists viz “he will nevertheless rule out talks with al Qaida and other Jihadist groups, claiming they represent an anti-democratic and altogether different terrorist threat”.

    I cannot understand how it is “altogether different”. Both “our” terrorists and al Qaida relied on intimidation of their own areas, high publicity mass murders and targeted murders of “legimate targets”. After all a lot more British citizens even in the mainland have been murdered by the IRA than by Al Qaida. Yes Al Qaida rely on the sucidie bomb but did not the IRA try that (albeit the involuntary one) and I am sure the only reason they did not repeat it was due to it being seen as politically unhelpful to their cause.

    It seems to be true that Al Qaida typed terrorism is less centrally organised but that does not make it “altogether different”. After all there were a plethora of loyalist terrorist grouping and splinters.

    If Hain regards Al Qaida as anti democratic that seems to imply that he feels the IRA et al were “democratic”

    The difference seems to be that Hain finds it politically expedient at this point in time to deal with and regard “our” terrorists as “statesmen” whilst it is not politically expedient to treat Al Qaida as such at the moment.

    The real difference I can see looking at both groups of terrorists is that only some Northern Irish terrorists had beards.

  • gingerman


    A TERRORIST is A TERRORIST. They only become STATESMEN when it suits the Government of the day.
    I look forward to the day when America accept Al Qaida as STATESMEN. Bet it never happens.

  • Turgon


    Well said, (well typed actually). I would be interested in the moral gynmastics some of the SF /IRA cheerleaders on this site (especially the Americans) would try to use to explain the “differences” between Al-Qaida and the IRA / UVF et al.