The Provisional IRA issued a statement on Tuesday warning that it was stopping decommissioning. Mainstream politicians didn’t shake with appropriate fear, so they issued another statement yesterday, just to show they were really serious.
The Provisional IRA has found itself in a tough place. On the one hand, it has to have the threat of violence in order to maintain its strong position in negotiations. Otherwise, Provisional Sinn Fein (the political wing of the IRA) would be no more than a minor political player in Ireland, about the same size as the Labour Party.
In the other hand, if the IRA does go back to war, it will feel the might of post-9-11 anti-terrorism zeal, particularly in the US, where it has important political contacts. It is also possible that moderate nationalists in the North would not tolerate a return to violence.