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  • 9 of 10 Spaniards opposed war

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story...925146,00.html
    The Dude abides.

  • #2
    And this is news because......
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    • #3
      Originally posted by BringBackZezel@Mar 15 2004, 09:46 AM
      And this is news because......
      it might help explain the vote...
      The Dude abides.

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      • #4
        Sounds good....but from what it sounds like, the incumbent was a heavy favorite before the bombings.
        Official Lounge Sponsor of:
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        • #5
          What was the date on your article moe?

          I found a reference to the local elections last year, After your artcle was written.

          Anzar was not running for reelection this year.




          Ballots and bombs

          May 26th 2003
          From The Economist Global Agenda


          The Spanish prime minister, José María Aznar, has received an unexpected boost in the country's local elections. The vote was seen as the Spanish people's judgment on the prime minister's backing for America’s global war on Islamic terrorism and on his local war on Basque terrorism







          NO ONE should accuse José María Aznar, Spain’s prime minister, of courting easy popularity. Last year, he braved public hostility, and a general strike, to push through tough but necessary labour-market reforms. And this year, though polls showed up to 90% of Spaniards against America’s war on Iraq, he was among President George Bush’s staunchest backers. Mr Aznar's bold stand appears to have paid off handsomely. In the elections in Spain’s 8,000-odd municipalities and 13 of its 17 provinces, which took place on Sunday May 25th, Mr Aznar's conservative Popular Party did unexpectedly well. Provisional results suggest the party has won in 35 out of 52 cities, and 9 out of 13 regions. The party even managed to retain power in Madrid. Mr Aznar described the results as “sensational”.

          The Popular Party and the Socialist Party give information in Spanish. Spain's government, which banned Batasuna (site in Spanish and Basque), provides information on its policies toward ETA. The US State Department designates Batasuna a terrorist organisation. The Basque government and the Basque National Party give information. “Governments on the WWW” provides links to political parties and regional and national governments.
          Mr Aznar, first elected in 1996 and re-elected in 2000, has promised to step down as leader of the Popular Party this autumn and as prime minister after next year’s general elections. But in the run-up to the local votes, he campaigned vigorously, giving the impression that he wanted the 33m voters to treat the elections as a referendum on his tough stance on terrorism, both foreign and domestic. Inevitably, voters had a host of other issues to take into account as well: big economic reforms, begun by Mr Aznar’s Socialist predecessors and continued enthusiastically by him, have isolated Spain from the Euro-sclerosis currently affecting Germany and France. Spain’s economy is forecast to grow by about 2.1% this year, almost twice the rate for the euro area as a whole, though unemployment has crept up a bit in the past year, to 11.5%. As a sop to public grumblings that foreigners are taking their jobs, Mr Aznar is preparing new measures to clamp down on illegal immigration. Some voters were also expected to want to punish the government for its mishandling of the country’s worst ever oil spill, last November, when a tanker, the Prestige, capsized and spilled more than 20,000 tonnes of oil into the sea.



          Local government has developed impressively in Spain since it returned to democracy in 1975 on the death of the dictator, Francisco Franco. Many voters are likely to re-elect or turf out existing local politicians on the basis of their performance, rather than their affiliation to national party leaderships. But Mr Aznar's party held onto most of the major cities it held, losing control only of Zaragoza. This is a blow for the Socialists’ youthful new leader, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who badly needed some high-profile wins to start building his campaign to push the conservatives out of power. Even before Sunday's vote, Mr Zapatero’s poll lead was not that impressive. The results suggest that some of Mr Aznar’s jibes about the Socialist leader being all style and no substance may be hitting home.

          After the suicide attacks in the Moroccan city of Casablanca on May 16th, including the bombing of a Spanish cultural centre, Mr Zapatero raised the political temperature by implying that Mr Aznar’s backing for the war on Iraq had made the Spanish a target for international terrorism. Mr Aznar retorted that his rival’s “frivolous” remarks were putting at risk the international support that Spain has won for its fight against terrorism in the Basque country. Earlier this month, America’s State Department added Batasuna, the political wing of ETA, the Basque separatist movement, to its list of foreign terrorist organisations (ETA itself was already on the list). America has been giving Mr Aznar strong support for the hard line he has recently been taking against Basque separatism.

          After the breakdown of a 14-month ceasefire that ETA had observed in 1998-99, Mr Aznar ruled out any further dialogue with the separatists. They have murdered more than 800 people since the late 1960s, when they started their violent campaign for an independent state taking in not just the existing three Basque provinces but also other parts of Spain and France that have big Basque populations (see map). In the past year, the Spanish and French security forces have had some big successes in rounding up ETA leaders, leading Mr Aznar to claim that the movement is close to collapse. ETA has not killed anyone since February, though it was blamed for a small bomb thrown at the Socialist Party’s offices in the town of Basauri on May 22nd, which hurt no one.

          Last year, Spain’s courts banned Batasuna at Mr Aznar's behest. Many of its candidates formed new parties but these too have been banned, and the candidates themselves barred from office. In the last Basque elections, in 1999, ETA’s political wing won about 10% of the vote. Its supporters have reportedly been printing and distributing dummy ballot papers with their candidates’ names inserted, urging supporters to dump these in the ballot boxes as a protest. The moderate Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), which runs the regional government, has been trying to appeal to the extremists. The regional premier, Juan José Ibarretxe, has proposed a referendum on turning the Basque country into a “free state associated with Spain”, perhaps retaining King Juan Carlos as head of state. Mr Ibarretxe argues that this would encourage ETA to return to ceasefire and bring peace to the region. Mr Aznar sees it as a sop to the terrorists and a threat to Spain’s integrity (Catalonia’s regional leaders are drawing up similar plans to Mr Ibarretxe’s).

          Though Mr Aznar deserves credit for his tough stance against terrorism, his “zero-tolerance” approach to separatism risks alienating moderate Basque and indeed Catalan nationalists. 

          All polls projected the Polular party retaining the majority in this years elections.

          The terrorist bombing manipulated the vote. It will certainly embolden terrorist organizations worldwide.
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          • #6
            More recent article


            After the train bombs, a political bombshell

            Mar 15th 2004
            From The Economist Global Agenda


            Spain’s ruling People’s Party has lost the election to the opposition Socialists, amid increasing signs that it may have been al-Qaeda that planted the devastating train bombs in Madrid last week—and not Basque separatists, as the government had insisted

            EPA


            Zapatero: the unexpected prime minister

            AS SPAIN’S voters went to the polls on Sunday March 14th, there were growing doubts about the repeated assertion by the government of José María Aznar and his conservative People’s Party (PP) that the Basque terrorist group ETA had carried out Thursday’s massive terrorist attacks in Madrid. In the early hours of Sunday, the interior ministry said police, acting on a tip-off, had found a video tape purportedly made by al-Qaeda, saying it had bombed the four commuter trains—killing 200 and injuring around 1,500—in retaliation for the Spanish government’s support for America’s war in Iraq. On Saturday, the Spanish authorities said three Moroccans and two Indians were being held on suspicion of involvement in providing the mobile phones used to set off the bombs.

            Before the attacks, the PP looked set to cruise to its third successive election win, allowing Mr Aznar to hand over power to his chosen successor, Mariano Rajoy. Though most Spaniards opposed the war in Iraq, Mr Aznar’s crackdown against ETA—including mass arrests of its members and supporters, and the banning of its political wing—has been popular. After the bombings, commentators in the Spanish media had suggested that if, by polling day, ETA remained the main suspect, there would be a further swing to the PP, guaranteeing its victory. If, however, the finger of suspicion for the bombings was pointing at al-Qaeda, then voters might blame Mr Aznar for making Spain a target for international terrorism, through his support for President George Bush and his sending of Spanish troops to Iraq. It turned out to be the latter, it seems: there was a big swing to the opposition Socialists, who won 164 seats compared with the PP’s 148—though ending short of the 176 seats needed for a parliamentary majority.

            Thus, unexpectedly, the Socialists’ youthful leader, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, is set to become Spain’s new prime minister.  After the PP conceded defeat on Sunday night, Mr Zapatero reiterated his election pledge to bring home the 1,300 Spanish soldiers currently in Iraq. The new prime minister is relatively young—aged 43—and inexperienced. But his party governed Spain for 14 years until 1996, and pushed through many of the economic reforms that transformed the country from a backwater into a modern and prosperous European state, though the Socialists were mired in corruption scandals by the time they were pushed out by Mr Aznar and the PP.

            Though Mr Aznar and his ministers continued to point the finger at ETA until Sunday, there had been some indications within hours of Thursday’s terrorist attacks that al-Qaeda or an allied Islamist group might have been responsible. A stolen van was found on Thursday in a town near Madrid, through which the four bombed trains had passed, containing detonators and a tape of verses from the Koran. And a London-based Arab newspaper said it had received an e-mail, purportedly from a group allied to al-Qaeda, claiming responsibility for the bombs (and hinting that a further attack on America was imminent).

            Announcing the discovery of the purported al-Qaeda video tape on Sunday, the interior ministry said it showed a man speaking Arabic with a Moroccan accent saying: “We declare our responsibility for what happened in Madrid, exactly two-and-a-half years after the attacks of New York and Washington. It is a response to your co-operation with the criminals Bush and his allies.” The man claimed to be speaking on behalf of the supposed military spokesman of al-Qaeda in Europe, Abu Dujan al-Afgani. Spain’s interior minister, Angel Acebes, said this name was not known to the intelligence services and that the tape’s authenticity was still under investigation.

            The three Moroccans and two Indians being held are suspected of involvement in the sale and falsification of a mobile phone and SIM card which were found in an unexploded bomb, in a rucksack on one of the bombed trains. The Moroccan government said it had identified the three nationals being held by Spain but that there were no signs that any of them had any previous involvement with Islamist groups. However, later on Sunday it emerged that one of the three, Jamal Zougam, has the same name as a man mentioned in an indictment of al-Qaeda suspects last year. A man by this name was mentioned at least three times in an indictment issued last September by a prominent Spanish judge, Baltasar Garzon, in an investigation into operations by suspected Islamic militants.

            ETA has insisted, via several statements sent to Basque media, that it was not responsible. Indeed, the bombings seemed out of character: though ETA did blow up 21 people in a supermarket in 1987, it has mostly conducted targeted attacks against individual politicians or the security forces, not indiscriminate ones against masses of civilians. However the government did have some strong reasons for suspecting the Basque terrorists: only two weeks ago, the security forces seized a huge load of explosives, apparently belonging to ETA, destined for Madrid. Last December, Spanish police said they had foiled an ETA plot to blow up a train in a Madrid station. And in the summer, police arrested an ETA cell that had planted explosives on a railway track outside Madrid. The group had been expected to try to stage an attack in the final days of the election campaign, to send a message that it is still around.

            On Friday night, the Spanish people united to march through the streets expressing their anger at the perpetrators of the train bombings. Around 11m people—more than a quarter of Spain’s population—took part in the demonstrations. But the mood of unity quickly came under strain, as suspicions grew of an Islamist link to the bombings. On Saturday there were protests in a number of Spanish cities by anti-war protesters, accusing the government of holding back information on the bombings to manipulate the election results. This came as one of Spain’s leading newspapers, El País, revealed a memo that it said the foreign minister, Ana Palacio, had sent to Spain’s diplomats. In it, she instructed them to “use any opportunity” to blame ETA for the attacks, “thus helping to dissipate any type of doubt that certain interested parties may want to promote.”

            Having just suffered its worst bloodshed since the end of its bloody civil war 65 years ago, Spain needs steady leadership and it is not yet clear if Mr Zapatero will be able to provide it. The evidence linking al-Qaeda to the bombings is still far from conclusive but, if it turns out that it was behind them, the implications are grave, not just for Spain but for the rest of Europe, indeed for the West as a whole: the Islamist group will have shown that it still has the intention, and the means, to carry out massive attacks on civilian targets in any country it regards as an enemy.
            Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

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            • #7
              the article was from March, 2003...no Aznar was not running, but his government was the incumbent...my point is that al Queda tapped into a very significant reservoir of doubt/dissent about Spain's support for the Bush Doctrine in Iraq...you can't get 9 of 10 Americans to agree it's Monday...

              Moe
              The Dude abides.

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              • #8
                Moe, I really think you're trying to shape the facts to fit your opinion.

                The data just doesn't support what you are trying to claim.
                When you say to your neighbor, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night if that's alright with you," what you really mean is, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night."

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by WinstonSmith@Mar 15 2004, 10:13 AM
                  Moe, I really think you're trying to shape the facts to fit your opinion.

                  The data just doesn't support what you are trying to claim.
                  Wha???

                  9 of 10 Spaniards oppose Spanish support for GW2 in March, 03.

                  al Queda does their evil.

                  Election does a 180 overnight.

                  What's your take, WS?

                  Moe
                  The Dude abides.

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                  • #10
                    Moe, if there were no relative ambition between Iraq and Al-Qaida, wouldn't this attack and manipulation of the vote speak about Spains support for the war on terror, not so much Iraq?
                    Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by lazydaze@Mar 15 2004, 10:51 AM
                      Moe, if there were no relative ambition between Iraq and Al-Qaida, wouldn't this attack and manipulation of the vote speak about Spains support for the war on terror, not so much Iraq?
                      My point is that Iraq, IMO, should have been ranked FAR down the list of priorities in the war on terror. No Iraqi invasion, no bombs in Spain. The Bush Doctrine represents a very slippery slope into a chaotic quagmire.

                      Moe
                      The Dude abides.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Moe_Szyslak@Mar 15 2004, 10:55 AM
                        No Iraqi invasion, no bombs in Spain.
                        I want to make it clear....

                        You're saying the bombings in Spain would NOT have happened had the US not dethroned Saddam Hussein, and had Spain not supported the US.

                        Is that what you're saying.
                        When you say to your neighbor, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night if that's alright with you," what you really mean is, "We're having a loud party on Saturday night."

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by WinstonSmith+Mar 15 2004, 10:58 AM-->
                          QUOTE (WinstonSmith @ Mar 15 2004, 10:58 AM)

                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Moe_Szyslak+Mar 15 2004, 10:55 AM-->
                          QUOTE (Moe_Szyslak @ Mar 15 2004, 10:55 AM)

                        • #15
                          Originally posted by Moe_Szyslak+Mar 15 2004, 10:55 AM-->
                          QUOTE (Moe_Szyslak @ Mar 15 2004, 10:55 AM)
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