Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Spain's Anti-Terror Fight In 2003

The Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos (GEES) recently published a one-page summary of terrorist activity in Spain in 2003, and the government's efforts in combatting it. It includes graphs and clearly shows that ETA can be a thing of the past soon, if the current government does not make the mistake of 'negotiating' a truce or whatever. This may seem odd, with ETA metaphorically lying on the floor bleeding and waiting for the kill, but the current socialist government's dependence on radical separatist parties, specifically from Catalonia and the Basq Province (although ironically, moreso from the Catalan ERC and even PSC, who are converting themselves as the real power brokers at the moment), does not exclude this in my mind. The summary is critical where it comes to fighting Islamist terrorism (confusingly translated as Islamic Jihad terrorism, Al-Zawahiri's merged Egyptian branch of Al Qaeda):

The conclusion to be drawn about the fight against terrorism in Spain in 2003 is very positive regarding ETA and extremely insufficient with regards to the Jihad terrorist cells. The decline of ETA clearly indicates that it is possible to defeat a deeply rooted organization by making use of the instruments of the State of Law as long as the fight is prioritized. It is also critical the concurrence of the major political forces to prevent terrorists from taking advantage of the differences among the political parties. A third instrumental token is international cooperation.

Nevertheless, the threat posed by the Jihad terrorism was not correctly appraised and as a result it was not prioritized as appropriate. International cooperation, which was pivotal --as long as the number of involved countries is concerned—did not reach the degree of relevance that Spain and France have achieved in the cooperation against ETA.

Read it all. Makes for a quick where-are-we-now on Spain's anti-terrorist effort.