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Breaking: the end of the Basque Peace Process?

by Migeru Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 05:40:31 AM EST

This just in:

El Pais: Cuatro heridos leves por la explosión de una furgoneta bomba en Barajas (30/12/2006)El Pais: Four lightly wounded by the explosion of a van bomb at Barajas [airport in Madrid] (30/12/2006)
Un comunicante que hablaba en nombre de ETA avisó del atentado con una hora de antelaciónA communication in the name of ETA warned of the attack an hour before
Una furgoneta bomba situada en el aparcamiento C de la Terminal 4 de Barajas ha hecho explosión a las 9.00 horas, según han informado fuentes del Ministerio del Interior a este periódico. Una hora antes, un comunicante anónimo ha hecho dos llamadas de aviso, la segunda en nombre de ETA. El primer atentado de la banda armada tras nueve meses de tregua ha provocado cuatro heridos leves, dos de ellos agentes. El estallido, controlado por la policía, se ha producido con la zona ya acordonada. La T-4, que sufre graves daños, ha sido evacuada y el tráfico aéreo del aeropuerto está interrumpido. Por el momento, el Gobierno no se ha pronunciado sobre lo ocurrido a la espera de evaluar la situación.A van bomb on parking structure C of terminal 4 of Barajas [airport] exploded at 9 am, according to reporting to this paper by sources with the Ministry of the Interior. One hour earlier, an anonymous announcer has made two warning calls, the second one in the name of ETA. The first attack by the gang after nine months of truce has caused light wounds to 4 people, two of them [police] officers. The explosion, controlled by the police, has taken placed with the area already behind a [police] cordon. Terminal 4, suffering severe damage, has been evacuated and air traffic at the airport is interrupted. For the moment, the Government has not made any pronouncement on the event as they wait to evaluate the situation.
Earlier Peace Process Diaries:


A black eye for Zapatero

The timing of this attack could not be worse for Zapatero. Just today, El Pais summarised his remarks after the last concil of ministers of the year thus:
El Pais: Zapatero asegura que en un año España estará "mejor que hoy" en relación con el fin de ETA (30/12/2006)El Pais: Zapatero Asserts that within a year Spain will be "better than today" in relation to the end of ETA (30/12/2006)
El Gobierno hace balance de su gestión: El presidente afirma que agotará la legislatura - Los cambios en el Gobierno se limitarán al relevo de López Aguilar y no entrará CiU - "Batasuna debe cumplir lo que dice la ley, ni más ni menos"The Government makes balance of its rule: The president claims he will exhaust the parliamentary term - Changes in the government will be limited to replacing López Aguilar and CiU won't join - "Batasuna must do as the law saysno more and no less"
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero compareció ayer, tras el último Consejo de Ministros del año, para anunciar un decidido impulso a su gestión de gobierno y para renovar su apuesta por la buena marcha del proceso de paz. En línea con las instrucciones que ha dado a sus ministros para que a la vuelta de vacaciones le presenten medidas de impacto para recuperar la iniciativa política, el presidente avanzó sus planes.José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero appeared before the press yesterday, after the last Concil of Ministers of the year, to announce a decided impulse to his government's action and to renew his bet on the good march of the peace process. In line with the instructions he's given his ministers so that after the holiday break they present him with punchy measures to recover the political initiative, the Prime Ministeradvanced his plans.
The article is behind a subscription firewall, but you can see yesterday's full article here.

The peace process is over

At 1pm there was a press conference by the Minister of the Interior.
El Pais: Rubalcaba subraya que el atentado de Barajas "interrumpe el alto el fuego" (30/12/2006)El Pais: Rubalcaba underscores that the Barajas attack "interrupts the ceasefire" (30/12/2006)
El ministro del Interior afirma que "los datos no dejan lugar a dudas de la autoría de ETA"The Minister of the Interior claims that "the data leave no room for doubt on ETA's authorship"
... En una rueda de prensa en la sede de su departamento, Rubalcaba ... ha agregado que la violencia "es incompatible con el diálogo en cualquier democracia".... At a press conference at his department's site, Rubalcaba ... has added that violence "is incompatible with dialogue in any democracy".

Updated situation report

The original El Pais story linked above the fold has changed as more information has become available. The headline now reports one person missing in addition to the wounded. The body of the story reports 5 "lightly wounded" and 21 additional people seen by paramedics. The anonymous announcement made three warning calls, of which only the third one claimed to be in ETA's name. Air traffic resumed at 1:30 pm.
Según ha informado Rubalcaba, la primera llamada de aviso la ha recibido la DYA de Guipúzcoa a las 7.55 horas. La segunda ha sido minutos después a los Bomberos de Madrid y la tercera a SOS-Deiak (112) de Guipúzcoa media hora después. En esta última, un varón ha dicho hablar en nombre de ETA. Según fuentes de la DYA, la persona estaba visiblemente nerviosa y ha alertado de que "cualquier intento por desactivar la bomba" sería en vano. En ambas comunicaciones se advertía de que se iba a producir una explosión de gran potencia a las 9.00 y que el explosivo estaba colocado en furgoneta Renault Traficc de color granate, de la que se detallaba la matrícula (DKY-6405), aparcada en la Terminal 4 del aeropuerto de Barajas.As RUbalcaba has reported, the first warning call was received by the DYA of Guipúzcoa at 7.55 am. The second one was minutes later to the Madrid Fire Department and the third to SOS-Deiak (112) of Guipúzcoa half an hour later. In the latter, a male claimed to speak in ETA's name. According to DYA sources, the person was visibly nervous la persona estaba visiblemente nerviosa and has warned that "any attempt to defuse the bomb" would be in vain. In both communications the warning was given that a powerful explosion would take place at 9.00 am and that the explosives were in a Crimson Renault Trafficc van, Of which the licence plate mumber (DKY-6405) was given, which was parked at Terminal 4 of the Barajas airport.
...
La Cadena SER informa de que una de las llamadas se ha realizado desde un móvil y otra desde una cabina de San Sebastián. La explosión se ha producido cuando la Policía ya había acordonado la zona, por lo que sólo se han producido cinco heridos leves a causa de la onda expansiva, de los cuales dos han sido trasladados al hospital Gregorio Marañón y tres al Ramón y Cajal. Dos son policías, que sufren cortes y contusiones. Además, un taxista ha sufrido golpes en el costado izquierdo. El Samur ha instalado dos hospitales de campaña, donde han sido atendidas otras 21 personas por dolores de cabeza o en los tímpanos o crisis de ansiedad.Cadena SER radio station reports that one of the call was made from a mobile phone, and another one from a phone booth in San Sebastián. The explosion took place when the police had already set up a cordon, so that only five people have been lightly wounded as a result of the shock wave, of which two have been taken to the Gregorio Marañón hospital and three to the Ramón y Cajal hospital. Two are police officers, suffering from cuts and bruises. In addition, a taxi driver has suffered blows to his left side. The Samur [Urban Ambulance Service] has set up two campaign hospitals, wherean additional 21 people have been seen for headaches or pain in their eardrums or anxiety attacks.

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And a merry new year from the Basque National Liberation Movement.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 05:41:04 AM EST
AVT is already out with a statement in El Pais calling for an end to dialogue with ETA, Aralar is questioning whether this is the leadership or a faction that did this.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg
by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 06:23:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That was fast...

Weird, without a previous declaration ending the cease fire...weird...

We will see what happens...splitters or cental command...we will know it today.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 06:18:24 AM EST
This seems very unexpected to me, but I have to confess that I haven't been following the situation too closely since the truce.  Has there been a breakdown or stalling of the peace process over the last nine months?  Or any other indication that ETA could be reneging on its ceasefire?

If this is the action of a splinter group or faction, do you think the Spanish government would respond to the provocation?  In other words, if a splinter group is trying to undermine the peace process by doing this... will it work?

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 06:39:10 AM EST
Given the blanket opposition of the main opposition party (PP) to the peace process, I don't think the position is politically tenable that this is the work of a faction and that the negotiations will proceed.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 06:52:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are going to crucify Zapatero over this.

The only way that I see the peace process emerging alive from this is if this is a faction, and if ETA leadership locates and turns those responsible for this attack over to the Spanish government.

If they do that this can be their McCartney moment.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 07:00:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Batasuna could come out today clearly disowning the attack. That would give Zapatero some breathing room.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 07:10:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know what to make of this.

But Gara has nothing, and I would expect that if this is the leadership, there would have been a statement.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 07:25:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I said int he comment, we will know it quite soon.. I think.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 08:33:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They don't have much time. Luckily for Zapatero the parliament is off until after the 8th of January (Catholic country where the Xmas holidays include the day of the Epipany on January 6), so he can always weasel out of it today by saying that he will come to the parliament on January 10 (Wednesday's "control of the government" session). But this gives those opposed to the Peace Process almost two weeks to mount an attack on Zapatero.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 07:20:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Zapatero isn't giving himself much time: he's expected to make a statement at Moncloa [PM's residence] later today.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 08:44:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
TSP, El Pais gave a summary of the then current state of the Peace Process on December 24 (see this comment in teh ET salon). I'll add it to the diary for context.
Salient points: the Government and ETA met with international mediators in Switzerland in September; and ETA/Batasuna seems to be pessimistic about their chances to be allowed to participate in the municipal elections next May, even if Batasuna refounded itself and renounced violence in its new statutes.


Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 07:14:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting, thanks for that, I missed it the first time around.

If they're kept out of the municipal elections, when would the next elections of any sort be held?

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 08:26:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Municipal elections in May 2007, General elections in March 2008 (could be early, but I don't think this is likely) and regional elections in April 2009. The regional elections might happen early as well. Then there's the European Parliament elections in June 2009.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Dec 31st, 2006 at 06:51:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I went over to Escolar.net, where inexplicably there isn't a thread on either Saddam's execution or the airport attack. Anyway, there are suggestions in the comments to this thread that this could be a false-flag attack.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 07:51:06 AM EST
Well, see, this is the thing:  I don't see how this helps ETA.  As a strategic move, at this time, it just doesn't make sense.

But it does make sense for someone trying to disrupt the negotiations and keep ETA out of the political process.

Or maybe I've just spent too long in the Middle East.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 08:24:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We've all been in the Middle East since 9/11.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 08:34:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It depends on how the central command views the situation.

If they consider that there was not point in going forwards they could have chosen to stop the cease fire differently than in the past because the people in the central command are "new generations".

On the other hand, if this is a split group, the reaction can depend on the type of relation the operative command had with the central command. If there were personal bonds, the most you will get is some kind of mixed statement from ETA. If, on the contrary, there are no personal bonds or the command was activly recruited by a fraction then you may have a declaration stating that ETA did not give the order for this attack.

A middle of the road approach would be "ETA was not behind this attack of the Basque separation movement and it clearly shows that other elements in the movement are not as willing as ETA to keep with the process". We will see what happens.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 08:42:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An item from Gara's print edition, that is, before the attack. [Gara is the Basque independentist newspaper]

Batasuna mantiene un compromiso «claro e inequívoco» con el proceso (2006-12-30)

It remarks that «the work of one side only is not enough» and blames the PSOE for the current situation

Batasuna expressed its «clear and inequivocal» will to take the solution process to the end, though it warned that the effor of one part only «is not enough». After blaming the PSOE for the current situation of «non-viability», they commented that in the next few months everyone will act with bravery».



Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 08:50:32 AM EST
Does this point one way or the other?

If an attack was approved by central command such an article could prepare the ground, but if no attack was planned the article could just be a part of the negotiations. From what you translated I would say it looks like the latter case.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 09:30:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Batasuna's Otegi made statements as if nothing had happened, and Zapatero has just given a press conference announcing the end of the negotiation process authorised by the Parliament 18 months ago.

Two Ecuadorians are presumed dead under the rubble of the collapsed parking structure.

I dont have time now but mybe someone else could excerpt and translate ZP's press conference.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 30th, 2006 at 12:36:38 PM EST


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