3 Moroccans and 2 Indians Arrested in Spain Bombing
Al-Qaeda is increasingly emerging as the chief suspect in the Madrid bombings, against which 12 million persons protested on Saturday.
The LA Times points out that the Spanish cultural center in Casablanca was targeted by an al-Qaeda affiliate in May of 2003. John Davies also surveys the al-Qaeda links with Spain and the reasons for which it might want to hit Madrid.
Norwegian terrorist experts following Arabic jihadi web sites found a document that talks about hitting Spain in conjunction with its election and trying to pry Spain apart from its alliance with the Bush administration in Iraq. If the Norwegian account is true, the main motivation for Thursday’s attack may have been to defeat Aznar’s rightwing party in Sunday’s elections, and help the left get in, in hopes of weaking the Spanish-American alliance in Iraq.
[Exit polls on Sunday suggest that the Socialists have in fact defeated the Popular Party. Will the Socialists withdraw the Spanish contingent from Iraq? This is a demonstration that the Iraq war was not part of any war on terror. Imagine how much better off Spain would have been to put the resources it put into Iraq into tracking terrorists and increasing cooperation with Morocco.]
But it should be remembered that in general al-Qaeda is convinced that the Western economies and transportation systems are vulnerable to terrorist attacks, and that enough such attacks if spectacular enough will cause the system to collapse, allowing an al-Qaeda take-over of the Middle East and the reestablishment of the medieval caliphate. (All these assumptions are wacky, but then, this is a cult we are dealing with).