Tuesday, June 05, 2007

SO ETA'S hudna, declared fourteen months ago, is now officially over:
The armed Basque separatist group ETA said today it has called off the cease-fire it declared last year, setting the stage for a resumption of attacks.

ETA said in a statement sent to two Basque newspapers that the truce it called in March 2006 will end as of midnight today. ETA said it will be "active on all fronts to defend the Basque homeland."

[...] ETA blamed Zapatero for the failure of the peace process, and complained that the Basque leg of local elections on May 27 were illegitimate because most pro-independence politicians that wanted to run were barred by Spanish courts on grounds of links to ETA's outlawed political wing, Batasuna.
They were barred only partially because Zapatero instructed the Attorney to appeal only partially their candidacies, not all of them. Of course, the courts can only bar the ones they got the appeal of, but in their sentence the Supreme Court justices said they would've barred them all if they all had been appealed by the Attorney, who is under direct line of command from the government. Zapatero wanted to make nice with ETA in the hopes that ETA would play nice in return, although he couldn't give them a complete green light allowing them to run in the elections with no limits; he had to maintain that he was also being tough on them so only a few were appealed. But it's obvious you can't give thugs only a part of what they want; those guys never have enough.

Three years ago we had a weakened ETA virtually in its last throes after a successful campaign from law enforcement both in Spain and France. Now we got an emboldened one who thinks it can dictate the terms of the negotiation, or put an end to it. That's why above I called the truce a hudna: it was not really an end to violence, but a "time out" to be used to rearm and regroup. It should have been Zapatero's government the one to put an end to it when it realized ETA was unreasonable. And especially after the Barajas bombing at the end of December last year. Instead it chose to keep negotiating, and look what we got now.

And it couldn't come at a worse time; since they were allowed to run, ETA's so-called 'political arm' got several aldermen elected in quite a few towns, which means ETA has now access to what it didn't have before: databases. Private addresses, unlisted phone numbers, car registration numbers, tax returns, bank accounts, professional and business information from everyone. All databases are interconnected, so they are now in a position of knowing everything about people they want to pressure, or kill.

UPDATE. John @ Iberian Notes:
Zap's reaction has been to call for all political parties to support him and the government against this "new" ETA threat. Of course I support the rule of law, but it's kind of hard to back Zap now when his naivete has gotten us this far into this mess. If I were the PP I'd demand that Zap fire every single one of his pro-negotiations advisors as proof he has had a real change of heart. All the leaders of the Basque Socialist Party, who have met with ETA secretly during the last three years, need to resign as well.
Yes, Zapatero is asking everyone he's been dismissing all these months to bail him out now.

Meanwhile, Ben @ News From Spain is disappointed because when the truce was declared he was an optimist and couldn't understand why people were warning against it.

UPDATE. A revised version of this post is now running as a piece in Pajamas Media.