Madrid Parking Bombing

The Madrid bombing must be seen as a blow to peace efforts to end the violent campaigns by separatist ETA for a sovereign Basque state. This will bring past efforts to square one, as a near settlement is unlikely in the light of the recent developments of events. The timing can be significant meaning 2007 will be different from the relatively peaceful and hopeful 2006 in which ETA declared a permanent ceasefire. The recent explosion will serve the sceptics who remain doubtful about ETA’s real intentions about permanent peace without achieving their ultimate goal for a Basque state independent of the Spanish government.

It’s better for both parties to return to negotiations as cutting all links will give ETA justification to escalate its bomb attacks and to the Spanish government an excuse to keep its detained members in its jails while keeping its hunt for the other members who are still free to plan attacks or make political speeches.

It is likely that there are hardliners on both sides, which has made final solutions hard to reach. A return to violence will just isolate ETA as today terrorism is widely condemned and international efforts are intensified to combat it. The Spanish government will have this as a winning card while ETA’s arguments will fall on deaf ears as very few are today enthusiastic about this kind of struggle.

ETA should learn from the IRA, which finally put down its arms and has become a political party, whose members like Jerry Adams are showing their faces to the world rather than hooding them or remaining in hiding. The Basque region even after independence will need to unite with the EU through Spain and France. The best solution for the Basque region is having autonomy in the same way as Catalonia for peace to reign all over Spain after years of armed struggle that has led nowhere so far.

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