Fascinating documentary on RTÉ last night about the IRA, specfically about their bombing campaigns, the mechanics behind them, etc. An actual honest-to-goodness documentary, strangely enough, as opposed to some fly-on-the-wall crap or "reality" TV. Several interesting points made:
- While the IRA never intentionally used suicide bombers from their own ranks, they did at one point "volunteer" a few people for suicide attacks on border posts by tying them into the driver's seat of a van loaded with explosives;
- During the 80s, they managed to simultaneously get support from both the US and one of the US's greatest enemies at the time, Libya;
- The Docklands bomb of 1996 was built in Northern Ireland and driven right into the middle of London's Docklands, which is a pretty audacious way to go about such a spectacular display of force;
- By the time of the Docklands bomb, which was the "mainstream" IRA's biggest event, the IRA had a well-established system of warnings to the police designed to minimise civilian casualties while maximising damage; inept use of this system by the so-called Real IRA was a major contributor to the high body count in the Omagh bombing;
- The Docklands bombing pretty much led to the Good Friday Agreement despite stock political rhetoric about not giving in to terrorists because the powerful financial interests threatened by such an attack leaned heavily on the British government, suggesting that if their security in London could not be guaranteed they would likely move their business elsewhere.
The documentary featured ex- and possibly current IRA members, including those with bomb-making expertise, security forces, library footage from various events, and reconstructions of some of the major bombings.