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Are the IRA terrorists?

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The IRA (Irish Republican Army) was a guerrilla organization created in 1919 to end british rule in Ireland and gain Irish freedom from Britain. The guerrilla war raged by the IRA gained limited independence and partitioned Ireland this led to a civil war between the IRA and the Irish free state army, which the IRA lost, in 1969 this organization split into 2 factions, the Provisional IRA and the Official IRA. the Provisionals or provos as they were called became the dominant paramilitary and is referred to as the IRA. They were determined to protect catholic areas from loyalist and police attack. After this they began a campaign that would last 30 years and claim 1,800 lives.

By most standards, the Provisional IRA is considered a terrorist organisation. However, it must be said that they usually tried to avoid or minimize civilian casualties, although there were exceptions to this policy and hundreds of civilians were killed by the Provisional IRA. Generally speaking, though, their primary targets were the Royal Ulster Constabulary (the almost exclusively Protestant and extremely partisan police force of Northern Ireland), the British military, political leaders, Protestant/Unionist paramilitary forces, and commercial an governmental facilities, and other parts of the infrastructure of Northern Ireland and Britain.

The Provisional IRA's campaign did not seek to kill the greatest number of civilians, but to make the province of Northern Ireland ungovernable, in the hopes that the British would be forced to abandon the region and allow Northern Ireland to be incorporated into the Republic of Ireland. While the campaign succeeded in creating a chaotic and unmanageable security situation, and thereby severely damaging the local economy, it did not force the British to withdraw from the region, and Northern Ireland remains a part of the United Kingdom.

The Provisional IRA announced a permanent end to violent activities and decommissioned its weapons in 2005, and is no longer active as a military, guerrilla, or terrorist organisation. However, extremists who oppose the ongoing peace process have broken away from the Provisional IRA and formed violent "splinter groups", and are generally referred to as "dissident republicans". These groups, though they lack the offensive and military capability once possessed by the Provisionals, are still active, and continue to carry out acts of terrorism/violence.
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