A Farewell to Arms

The I.R.A. promises to disarm, but are they serious?

As messengers go, Seanna Walsh certainly had street cred. The I.R.A. veteran had spent 21 years in prison for a series of offenses, including bombmaking, before he delivered a statement last week formally ending the organization's 36-year armed campaign to force Britain out of Northern Ireland. But skeptics noted that the group had made promises in the past without ever fully giving up violence--or the intimidation of witnesses to foil prosecutions. To address the doubters, Cabinet members in London and Dublin asked a watchdog agency to report next January on whether the I.R.A. is sticking to its vow. "It's time to...

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