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Brian Rowan: Aughnacloy bomb is calling card aimed at police and community

The van bomb left outside the police station at Aughnacloy is intended as a kind of calling card, a reminder from dissident republicans that they are still out there.

But this is only part of the story.

In terms of how it fits into a wider strategy, this is not just about targeting a police base, but new policing and, more specifically, the mainstream republican endorsement of the PSNI.

This time the bomb didn’t explode — and that means this particular plan fell short of what was intended.

You have to think inside their heads to try to work out the bigger plan.

It is about part of the republican community continuing an enemy relationship with the police.

It is about trying to keep officers away from the community, and creating a fear that makes young nationalists and republicans think twice, three times and more before considering a career in policing.

These attacks are about making people look over their shoulders — and under their cars.

Chief Constable Matt Baggott wants to deliver a service that can be described as personal policing , a service in which officers know the community and the community know the police.

It is a vision of policing beyond the war.

The dissident groups — Real and Continuity IRA and Oglaigh na hEireann — don’t want that.

And this is the continuing tug-of-war, between those who are trying to take people to a different place, and the dissidents who want to pull things backwards.

Their weakness is an inability to mount a sustained campaign of attacks.

You see them and then they disappear, sometimes their bombs explode and sometimes they don’t.

Belfast Telegraph

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