Over at Brassneck, I pick on Gonzo’s theme of the strategic mess this implies for Sinn Fein’s vacillating half full/half empty approach to Republican dissidents.… I quote from my own article:
This moment finds the party curiously unmanned. However criminal the act, according the Sinn Fein orthodoxy of 15 or 20 years ago, these men would have been consigned as ‘legitimate targets’ by Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams. Now, they are permanently based Northern Ireland as part of a deal negotiated by themselves and the DUP.
The panic that ensued in the party when the news leaked out that the Special Reconnaissance Regiment had been deployed to support the PSNI in its anti terrorist operations is evident from a particularly aggressive piece of rearguarding from South Belfast MLA Alex Maskey on Thursday.
Two things will worry them. The audacity of the strike suggests that someone of experience was behind this attack. And somewhere, in the breaking down and splitting of dissident factions, there is what the IRA call an ‘active service unit’ not simply capable of striking, but of doing so undetected by MI5 moles.