As recent events remind us, the claims of the peace process in Northern Ireland itself are unproven - but they are also unhelpful to the point of uselessness. Despite its bloodthirsty thuggery and wearisome sadism, the IRA never had in any of its manifestations a desire to annihilate the British state. It did not desire the extermination of the British people. It did not seek through its charter obligations to rid the world of Britishness in general or the British people in particular. Hamas and other Islamist groups seek all of these things regarding Israel and the Jewish people. The room for negotiation on these matters would strike me as, at best, slim.
Over the 30 years of "the troubles", there were a number of significant occasions when the IRA could have been defeated. There had been spectacular successes for British forces, such as the taking-out of a whole IRA unit at Loughgall in 1987. Other occasions arose in each decade from the 1970s onwards.
The IRA came to the table saying they wanted to negotiate when they had already been made operationally incapable. By the early 1990s, barely a bomb could be planted or a plot hatched without it becoming clear that the British security services were aware of it as soon as the IRA high command was. In the years since, it has become clear that the line between these two forces was unclear, to put it at its mildest. From Gerry Adams's driver to the head of his internal "discipline" squad, the IRA had been infiltrated and made near-redundant.