Northern Ireland Slides Back Toward Bloodshed

Nearly 12 years after Northern Ireland's Good Friday peace accord, violence is on the rise. Last week a 1,000-pound truck bomb was found under a highway connecting Dublin and Belfast. This follows a string of attacks last year by dissident republicans committed to the idea of a united Ireland who hope to undermine Sinn Féin's role in the power-sharing government. The radicals now seem to be targeting one of the final and most important steps in the peace process: the transfer of police and justice powers from London. Both mainstream parties have condemned the violence, but there are worrying signs it may have its desired effect. The renewed threat has unionists dragging their feet on the handover despite Sinn Féin's warnings of a "full-blown crisis" if it doesn't go through soon. Delay could jeopardize the entire power-sharing deal if Sinn Féin walks away, as it has threatened.
But something even larger is at risk. For a decade, Northern Ireland has been held up as proof that warring factions everywhere can be brought to the table. If things there now fall apart, the country won't just lose its hard-won peace--the world will lose a role model.