"Pakistan has two reasons to support the so-called mujahideen. First, the
Pakistani military is determined to pay India back for allegedly fomenting
separatism in what was once East Pakistan and in 1971 became Bangladesh. Second,
India dwarfs Pakistan in population, economic strength, and military might. In
1998 India spent about two percent of its $469 billion GDP on defense, including
an active armed force of more than 1.1 million personnel. In the same year,
Pakistan spent about five percent of its $61 billion GDP on defense, yielding an
active armed force only half the size of India's. The U.S. government estimates
that India has 400,000 troops in Indian-held Kashmir -- a force more than
two-thirds as large as Pakistan's entire active army. The Pakistani government
thus supports the irregulars as a relatively cheap way to keep Indian forces
tied down."

The Fianna Fail Government under Jack Lynch had plans to effect a similar
situation. It hoped to fund and train its mujahideen, the right wing Provisional
IRA. In that way the Catholic nationalist jihad  would have proven to be a
relatively cheap device  for influencing the course of events within the 6
counties. This state inspired IRA could be used to influence British policy in
the north. Yet the Irish government, like the Pakistani government, would have
denied all association with  IRA activity.

Clearly Haughey was the principal architect behind this foreign policy
adventure. The arms trial put an end to this policy. The Lynch government hoped,
in this way, to exploit the national question as a means of building up its
social base thereby guaranteeing its continuation in power. It was also meant as
a counterweight to the growing influential Irish civil rights movement. The
Provo fundamentalists were meant to undermine the growing social base sustaining
the developing civil rights movement which was increasingly radicalising Irish
politics. The Fianna Fail policy was designed to replace the growing
radicalisation of the civil rights movement with conservative nationalism. In
this way it was hoped to polarise the Irish working class into unionist and
nationalist communities and thereby destroy the unifying tendencies of the civil
rights movement.

Had Fianna Fail succeeded in implementing this policy Irihs developments might
have had a much different character today. The failure of this policy led to a
serious weakening of Fianna Fail that saw its ability to form one party
governments much reduced. Its abject failure was ultimately responsible for the
split in Fianna Fail. Clearly had this policy been made effective it would have
been more consistent with Fianna Fail's character. Its failure to successfully
introduce this nationalist policy rendered Fianna Fail no different, in many
ways, to Fine Gael. It was this identity problem that led to sustained tension
within Fianna Fail and its resulting weakened state.

However it is quite likely that if Fianna Fail had controlled the Irish jihad it
might have been faced with somewhat similar problems to the ones that now
bedevil Pakistan. Despite Fianna Fail ineffectiveness the Provo mujahideen did
get off the ground. It did destroy the social base of the civil rights movement
replacing it with provincial nationalism. This growing nationalism led to the
increased polarisation of the nationalist and unionist working class. The only
problem was that Fianna Fail exerted no direct influence over it.

Karl Carlile
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