Home Page POLITICA >> Front Page

By region & by theme

Other sites of interest...

Selected books & articles...

Who said what....

I was there...
Eyewitness accounts and personal angles on events...

Essays & Debates
A forum to express your own opinion...


Politica is a forum for independent analysis of political events around the World

Editorial - March/April 2004- Terror and Elections

The terrible attack which killed nearly 190 people in Madrid this week is already being exploited for political ends by politicians all over the world, adding insult to injury. The outgoing Spanish government's clumsy attempts to blame ETA in the hours following the explosion, was a blatant and disgusting attempt to influence the outcome of the elections. In fact, all the fingers are now pointing towards Al-Qaeda. Blair and Bush were almost as quick as Aznar to seize this tragic occasion to sell their spin about the "war on terror", a campaign to scare people into relinquishing more of their civil liberties, and which will inevitably lead to more loss of civilian life, mostly in the Middle East.

In the name of this "war against terror", the Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar led his reluctant people into a war against Iraq, which they did not want. In doing so, he defied the 91% of Spaniards who were opposed to an illegal invasion, which cost the lives of thousands of Iraqis. The civilians who died in the Madrid train blasts were not responsible for Aznar's destructive foreign policy, and yet they may have paid the price in his stead. |Indeed, one message at the scene of the explosions read "Aznar, you made war and we were the casualties". The "war against terror" cannot be won by feat of arms, and is a terrible misnomer, since more people are killed in its name than those killed by terrorist attacks against Western cities. Aznar's policies, along with his fumbled attempts to blame ETA for the blasts, seem to have angered the voters, who turned out en masse to deliver electoral victory to the Socialists on Sunday.

Indeed, Musharaff's dictatorship in Pakistan is being perpetuated in the name of the "war against terror", despite revelations that Pakistan has been involved in nuclear proliferation on a large scale. President Putin of Russia believes the "war against terror" gives him the right to authorise more horrendous violence against the Chechen people, making terrorist retaliation more than likely. Strangely, the international community prefers to scold Putin for locking up the Russian kleptocrats who impoverished their country and sold off its natural resources for personal profit after the fall of the Soviet Union. Killing Chechens is fine for them, as long as corrupt "businessmen" are allowed to roam free. Unlike Aznar, Putin had nothing to fear from elections on Sunday, when he was re-elected by a landlslide victory. As for Presidents Bush and Blair, they would have us believe that the "war against terror" justified plunging Iraq into chaos, destruction and civil war, despite no evidence that this country possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction nor of an Iraqi connection with Al-Qaeda. However, the destruction of Iraq has plunged the country into civil war and generated a justified wave outrage against America and its allies in the Arab world. Such outrage will have unpredictable consequences for the West, but it is only a matter of time before some form of blowback takes place.

The "war against terror" is also a convenient excuse for ignoring the true problems of the world. After the UK's chief scientific advisor, Sir David King, warned that global warming was a more serious threat than "international terrorism", the government attempted to keep him silent. David King is not the only person Blair's government is trying to gag. Claire Short is being threatened with prosecution after revealing the UK officials routinely bugged Kofi Annan's conversations. Hardly surprising on the part of British secret services, but unacceptable nonetheless. Blair seems to have his hands full trying to keep secrets from reaching the public, as his government insists on not revealing the Attorney General's justification for war in Iraq. It seems that Lord Goldsmith had warned Blair that the war would be illegal, but had then been forced to "revise" his position.

That other catchphrase "Freedom and Democracy" suffered another blow in Iraq, as the puppet interim government adopted a new Constitution drafted under the watchful eye of the US. Although temporary in theory, this "Constitution" imposed by foreign occupation forces and unelected collaborators has no legal value. The resistance movement in Iraq continues to grow in proportion with anger at the perpetuation of the occupation. Oh…and still no sign of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Chirac's government has decided to sacrifice Haïti in a bid to improve Franco-American relations. Haïti has been devastated by a rebellion of ex-death-squad thugs, giving France and America an excuse to depose the only democratically elected president in the small country's history. Aristide, like Chavez, had been trying to implement a socialist programme, which was not to the taste of the Worlds only superpower. France, which enjoys interfering with its old colonies, decided to join in. Socialists in Greece were ousted democratically in the March elections, and Karamanlis of the conservative "New Democracy" party was elected Prime Minister. However, the "choice" between conservatives and "socialists" in Greece was much like the choice between Republicans and Democrats in the US, or the choice between drinking Pepsi or Coca Cola: the only difference is the colours of the package.

Nearby in Cyprus, desperate talks continue in order to negotiate a solution to the island's partition so that the country joins the EU as a united island. If the Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot leaders fail to reach an accord by 22nd of March, Greece and Turkey will enter the negotiations. However, Greek Cypriots are worried that the Annan Plan proposed by the UN is in contradiction with the EU aquis communautaire on such human rights issues such as freedom of establishment and will perpetuate the division of the two communities in a different form. US pressure for the signature of an accord before EU accession has been immense, raising fears of a Kissinger-style hidden agenda. If no solution is found before 1st of May, Cyprus will still join the EU, but in legal terms, things will get complicated for Turkey, because it will be occupying a piece of the EU (officially, the entire island, represented by the government of the Republic of Cyprus, will accede to the EU). Moreover, once Cyprus is inside the EU, it will be in a position to severely diminish Turkey's chances of accession. The USA has long wanted its steadfast ally, Turkey, inside the EU, in order to have more influence within the Union. This could explain the sudden impatience of the US to see a solution before the 1st of May.

Will the Cypriots sign up to the Annan Plan?