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Elusive Peace: The Nature of Ceasefires within the Irish and Basque Independence Nationalist-Separatist Movements
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For decades, the main factions of the once-notorious nationalist-separatist groups Euskadi ta Askatasuna (ETA) and the Irish Republican Army (IRA) waged a war of attrition against the Spanish and British states, respectively. Following years of unsuccessful negotiations in years past, the groups have recently declared a final cessation of armed activity. This thesis examines why the groups? past ceasefire attempts were unsuccessful, and ultimately which conditions present during the latter ceasefires might have facilitated a more durable peace. To answer these questions, I begin by conducting an in-depth analysis of the IRA?s past ceasefires, truces, and negotiation periods. From this analysis, I derive three hypotheses describing the conditions that appear to either enable or hinder lasting peace within Northern Ireland. I then test these hypotheses on the case of ETA in order to assess whether the conditions that yielded peaceful outcomes within Northern Ireland might also have facilitated peace in the Basque Country. While two of the three hypotheses I derive from the IRA?s peace process do not apply to ETA?s case, analyses of both groups suggest that ceasefires are most likely to be durable when nationalist-separatist groups are led by “politicos” and when the members adopt an absolute and uniform preference for nonviolent solutions. These findings imply that, contrary to popular belief, the peace process in Northern Ireland should not necessarily be upheld as a definitive model for similar peace processes around the globe, or even across Europe.