Terrorists Win Skirmish

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by OCA, Mar 15, 2004.

  1. OCA
    Offline

    OCA Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Messages:
    7,014
    Thanks Received:
    223
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Washington D.C.
    Ratings:
    +223
    •


    MSNBC News Services
    Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET March 15, 2004MADRID, Spain - Spain on Monday began looking toward a new government — one that has promised to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq in July — after voters ousted the ruling party Sunday, with many saying they were shaken by the Madrid bombings and furious with the Popular Party for backing the Iraq war and making their country a target for al-Qaida.



    The ruling Popular Party conceded defeat to Socialist leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who will take over from outgoing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, a staunch supporter of the U.S.-led war in Iraq that most Spaniards opposed.

    Zapatero said he would maintain "cordial" ties with Washington, but described the Iraq war as “a political error for the international order, for the search for cooperation, for the defense of the United States. It divided more than it united, there were no reasons for it, time has shown that the arguments for it lacked credibility and the occupation has been managed badly.”

    He added that "unless there is a change in that the United Nations take control and the occupiers give up political control, the Spanish troops (in Iraq) will come back, and the limit for their presence there is June 30.”

    Zapatero earlier Monday also attacked U.S. President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

    "There must be consequences. There has been one already — the election result. The second will be that the Spanish troops will come back," he added. "Mr. Blair and Mr. Bush must do some reflection and self-criticism. You can't bomb a people, you can't organize a war with lies," he told Spain's Cadena SER radio station.

    The Socialists are not expected to take office for around a month until overseas votes are counted, legislators take their seats in parliament and Zapatero receives the approval of King Juan Carlos to form a government.

    Angry electorate
    Zapatero fell short of a majority in Parliament and will need help to form a government. But it was still a spectacular — and bittersweet — triumph that capped four tumultuous days beginning with Thursday’s terror attacks in Madrid, which killed 201 people and wounded 1,500.

    Turnout was high at 76 percent. Many voters said Thursday’s bombings was a decisive factor, along with the government’s much-criticized handling of the initial investigation.

    “The Popular Party has made me lose faith in politics,” said Juan Rigola, 23, a biologist in Barcelona. “It deserves to lose and to see the Spanish people turn against them.”

    The electorate of 34.5 million included about 1.9 million mostly young voters added to the rolls since the 2000 general election.

    BY THE NUMBERS Troops in Iraq

    Which countries have provided military support

    United States 120,000

    Britain 11,000

    Albania 70

    Australia 1,000

    Azerbaijan 150

    Bulgaria 470

    Czech Rep. 92

    Denmark 496

    Dominican Rep. 300

    El Salvador 360

    Estonia 55

    Georgia 70

    Honduras 370

    Hungary 300

    Italy 3,000

    Japan 250 (750 on the way)

    Kazakhstan 25

    Latvia 120

    Lithuania 105

    Macedonia 28

    Moldova 25

    Mongolia 180

    Netherlands 1,100

    New Zealand 60

    Nicaragua 230

    Norway 150

    Philippines 95 (175 on the way)

    Poland 2,400

    Romania 400

    Singapore 200

    Slovakia 69 (120 on the way)

    South Korea 675 (3,000 on the way)

    Spain 1,300

    Thailand 443 (30 on the way)

    Ukraine 2,000



    Sources: Reuters news reports/GlobalSecurity.org. • Print this

    Until the bombing, the conservative Popular Party was projected by most polls to beat the Socialists, although perhaps without retaining their majority in the 350-seat Congress of Deputies.

    But the disaster, which the government initially blamed on the Basque separatist group ETA, threw the election wide open. The attack was followed by emotional rallies across the country.

    In Washington, Secretary of State Colin Powell, told ABC's "This Week", “I don’t think the case has been made that this will cause Spain to step back from the war on terrorism."

    President Bush’s national security adviser agreed.

    “The events in Spain are just more evidence of the lengths to which these killers will go to try and intimidate free people,” Condoleezza Rice said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

    Critics blast handling of probe
    In Spain, critics accused the Popular Party government, which had trumpeted its crackdown on ETA, of manipulating the investigation for political gain. That struck a chord with voters.

    “I didn’t intend to vote, but changed my mind,” said Javi Martin, 30, who works for a TV station in Madrid. “And not because of the attacks, but because of the responsibility of the Popular Party. They gave out information drop by drop. It would have benefited them if it were ETA.”

    Some voters were angry at outgoing Prime Minister Aznar, accusing him of making Spain a target for Islamic extremists because of his support for the Iraq war, despite the opposition of most Spaniards. Aznar sent 1,300 Spanish troops to Iraq after the conflict and 11 have died.

    “I wasn’t planning to vote, but I am here today because the Popular Party is responsible for murders here and in Iraq,” said Ernesto Sanchez-Gey, 48, who voted in Barcelona.

    Other voters, however, expressed support for the ruling party precisely because it endorsed the Iraq war, and for its crackdown on ETA.

    Mari Carmen Pinadero Martinez, 58, a housewife, said she “voted to help the government end terrorism” as she cast her ballot near the downtown Atocha railway station where trains were bombed.

    In El Pozo, site of one of the four blasts, a ruined train car was in clear view of the polling station as were flowers for the victims, signs stating “Paz” (Peace) and dozens of lit candles.

    Some of the voters, teary-eyed, held onto relatives and friends for support.

    Five people arrested
    The Interior Ministry has announced five arrests in the bombing, including three Moroccans, and the discovery of a videotape in which a man speaking Arabic says Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network claimed responsibility for the attack.

    In Morocco, authorities said one of the five detainees had been under surveillance for months and was suspected of ties to Islamic radicalism.

    On Sunday, a Basque-language daily published a statement by ETA in which the group for a second time denied involvement in the attacks.

    “All Signs Point to al-Qaida,” the country’s largest circulation newspaper, El Pais, said in a front-page banner headline Sunday.

    The videotape was recovered from a trash basket near a Madrid mosque after an Arabic-speaking man called a Madrid TV station to say it was there, Interior Minister Angel Acebes said.

    The political campaign was bitter between Mariano Rajoy, 48, a veteran Cabinet minister under Aznar, and Zapatero, 43, a lawyer, member of parliament and the Socialist party’s general-secretary.

    Before the attacks, polls gave Rajoy’s party a 3-5 percentage point lead over the Socialists in the race for the 350-seat Congress of Deputies.

    Aznar did not seek re-election, complying with a pledge to not seek a third four-year term.
     
  2. OCA
    Offline

    OCA Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Messages:
    7,014
    Thanks Received:
    223
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Washington D.C.
    Ratings:
    +223
    If the terrorists aim was to force Spain out of the coalition it looks like they succeeded and at the same time ushered in Socialists. Sad.
     
  3. kcmcdonald
    Online

    kcmcdonald Guest

    Ratings:
    +0
    OBL may have won the battle in spain, but he will lose war in Iraq and Afganistan as long as the US doesn't follow suit
     
  4. Avatar4321
    Offline

    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2004
    Messages:
    70,537
    Thanks Received:
    8,161
    Trophy Points:
    2,070
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Ratings:
    +12,152
    Terrorists might not have won yet. The Socialists still have to be able to maintain some coalition government in spain or they will lose power within a few months. Of course since Spain isnt a two party system the small parties have too much power because they decide the agenda because they determine whether there is a coalition or not.
     
  5. steet
    Online

    steet Guest

    Ratings:
    +0
    I am English.
    This (sadly) may be seen as a victory for the fanatics by the fanatics.
    But (judging the by fact that over half of the people in Spain never wanted their government to commit to an avoidable war anyway) is this not also a victory for democracy?
    A democratically elected leader following the wishes of the people he is meant to represent?
    Doesn't this also prove that democracy can follow through without the aid of a bombing campaign?
    Well, that's a positive thing, and by God do we need some positive things to come out of this whole mess.

    Iraq is not the problem. Unfortunately, the terrorists capitalise on it as an issue: the invasion of an Arabic sovereign state as fuel to their fire. Unfortunately, politicians still think that the world is a safer place without Saddam Hussein. I'm afraid that theory has been spectacularly debunked.

    The terrorists are here and they will kill regardless. We just have to find them and stop them before they detonate more trains, instead of dropping more cluster bombs of encouragement on their homeland territories. It's quite black and white really.

    We use water to put out fires. Using more fire will only make it spread. Common sense, simple common sense.
     
  6. MtnBiker
    Offline

    MtnBiker Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2003
    Messages:
    4,327
    Thanks Received:
    230
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains
    Ratings:
    +230
    So why did England send up the RAF during the Battle of Britian to fend of the Luftwaffe, instead of just focusing attetion on putting out fires?
     
  7. steet
    Online

    steet Guest

    Ratings:
    +0
    That was WW2, my precious.
    I hope you're not comparing it to the War on Terror.
    That is a different kettle of fish.
    We were defending our country from invasion. We had no choice.

    On the other hand, Blair had a choice as to whether or not we would invade Iraq. In my opinion, he blew it, and I f**king hate him for it.

    See ya.
     
  8. MtnBiker
    Offline

    MtnBiker Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2003
    Messages:
    4,327
    Thanks Received:
    230
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Rocky Mountains
    Ratings:
    +230
    Of course you had a choice you could have appeased the Germans.
     
  9. steet
    Online

    steet Guest

    Ratings:
    +0
    F**k you!
     
  10. lilcountriegal
    Offline

    lilcountriegal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Messages:
    1,633
    Thanks Received:
    59
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Ratings:
    +59
    Uh oh. Looks like someone forgot to take their happy pills today.
     

Share This Page