19 March 2004

Warbonkers!

The war has been used by all sides to score political points with the terrorists being the only obvious winner. If you are in favour of the war, you cause terrorism and if you are against, you side with the terrorists. This is only facile criticism that lacks any understanding of the present situation.
Around 90% of Spanish people were against the war, however Aznar's Government disregarded the will of his electorate and went to war. Had things turned out well, i.e. WMD, more security, Iraq more stable etc. Aznar (and Blair & Bush) would have been forgiven and proven right. But since events have proven the 'other side' right: more terrorism (even in Iraq where there was no terrorism), no WMD and civil war in Iraq, people are angry and scared.
The problem is that Bush, Blair & Aznar made the connection Iraq-Al Quaeda implying that invading Iraq would have made our cities more secure. The only link between Iraq and Al Quaeda is perception. It is how this war is perceived by the propagandists in the Muslim-Arab world. They see it as a Christian-Zionist crusade, as the military and economic might of the West attacking the weak and exploited East & South. They saw two world's powers by-passing international law for their interests, making false accusations against Iraq (WMD), only to cause death and chaos.
Reality does not matter, this perception leads many angry and disillusioned people in the Middle East and beyond to support Al-Quaeda. Maybe Jenny Tonge understands them too. The point, though, is not to understand but to take up the challenge of terrorism.
Terrorism gives us a great 'opportunity', Europeans should not respond the way Washington did after 9/11, we should have vision and courage. We should increase police and intelligence cooperation instead of having our own Guantanamo Bay at Belmarsh, we should integrate immigrants instead of imposing assimilation (as France is doing by opposing headscarves, and Blunkett by 'testing' citizenship, introducing oaths, pushing for immigrants to speak english in their own homes, marry here etc). We should increase the EU projects of development that further governance, infrastructure, accountability & democratisation.
We should NOT withdraw our troops now, we should push for the UN to step in. If we fail in Iraq, it will be another victory for terrorism.

12 March 2004

Todos Somos Madrilenos

198 dead and 1400 wounded. Aznar's Government is still trying to blame ETA because they know ETA, they can deal with it, but also because admitting that it was, at least partly, Al-Quaida means acknowledging that it was Spain's part in the war in Iraq that made it the victim. It follows that next in line are the UK and Italy and then Japan and Australia. It is no coincidence that clues lead to the Abu Hafs al-Nasri Brigades, responsible for the attack against the Italians in Nassiriya last November.
After the 11th of September 2001, the Bush administration declared war against terrorism. The whole idea is ludicrous. Can a state combat a network by waging war against another state? Of course not, at a time when the whole world was with the US, the way ahead was to increase cooperation. We should have stopped financial flows (why didn't we pay banks to close accounts? They know where the money comes from!), we should have intensified intelligence work and also further international law and democracy. What did we do? We went to war with Afghanistan because we suddenly saw it as an oppressive regime, however those belonging to Al-Quaida or the Talibans were 'unlawful combatants' therefore when captured they do not 'qualify' as prisoners of war. This means there can be no trial, no investigation, no international law upheld.
We also wasted intelligence resources to desperately find something on Iraq with no success and by-passed the UN to wage war against Iraq which had nothing to do with terrorism but Saddam was a bad guy.
Some of you might think that we need to be tough with these people, but you are forgetting why we want to fight terrorism and what terrorism is. Terrorism is a strategy that aims at delegitimising the state, its victim is democracy, the dead are its pawns. That is why the only effective way to fight it is by upholding the rule of law and democracy and ditching double standards. The Bush administration is totally blind to our new reality, they are using it to justify invading where it suits them when they are still financing oppressive regime (ever heard of Uzbekistan and Krygystan for example?). The US wasn't the only country that took advantage of the war of terror to justify curtailing rights and freedoms at home and abroad: Russia, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and even Spain did so. We can also add Blunkett's blueprint for a police-state Britain.
Bush & Blair painted terrorism as the new Empire of Evil, clinging to an ideology that will justify any breach of what we are actually trying to preserve. To believe their propaganda is to allow terrorism to win.