Friday, July 08, 2005

VICTOR DE LA SERNA, El Mundo's deputy editor and a very sensible observer, writes on The Guardian about the similarities and differences between yesterday's terror attacks in London, and Madrid's March 11:
Explosions on jam-packed trains during rush hours with no prior warning, horrific results in terms of deaths, maimings and injuries, chaos and panic in a major European capital city, early if unreliable claims of responsibility by obscure al-Qaida subsidiaries: the resemblances between the 3/11 terrorist attacks in Madrid and the 7/7 attacks in London are so obvious that comment appears superfluous. The differences may be more revealing.

The key difference, of course, was that three days after 3/11 there was a 3/14 in Spain: general elections that the conservatives of the then prime minister, José María Aznar, were likely to win despite the fact that he was not himself running and despite widespread popular opposition to his backing the American invasion of Iraq. In the end, however, the Socialist party won after three venomous days of recriminations about the terrorist actions and their perpetrators.

These electoral effects contaminated reactions to the bombings in a deep and lasting manner - the same will not happen in the UK, where there are no electoral urgencies at present.
Make sure you read the rest.

UPDATE. Read this from the Washington Post, too.

UPDATE II. ABC News: "Counterterrorism officials learned six weeks ago that al Qaeda has been looking at attacks on rail facilities in Europe and the United States after of the success of the 2004 Madrid bombings, a senior government official told ABC News."

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