Terrorist attacks abroad tie to U.S.

By Rosemarie Gonzalez
April 1, 2004

Shawn Rice

On the morning of Thursday, March 11, a series of 10 explosives were set off on the train system in Madrid, Spain. The blasts killed approximately 190 people and harmed over 1800. According to CNN.com, 3/11 – as the Spaniards have decided to call it – was the worst terrorist attack in their history.

The Spaniards have suspected either the terrorist groups, Al Qaeda or Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, a European terrorist organization, to be responsible for the attacks on the commuter trains. They have not really pinpointed who is to blame, but ETA is known to confessing to the attacks they make, unlike Al Qaeda. However, the Spanish authorities have arrested five suspects that hail from Islamic groups.

“This is no doubt the work of Al Qaeda. The attacks are filled with symbolism leading back to the relations that the United States has with their allies,” Dr. James Hedtke, history and political science professor, said.

Such symbolism may consist of how closely associated the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks and the Madrid bombings were. It is possible that the attacks were done on purpose because they both used public transportation as a venue, occurred on the same day, the 11th, and were 90 months apart with 911 days in between, according to Wikipedia.org. This would, in fact, possibly put the blame on Al Qaeda or other Islamic terrorist groups because they are strongly against any sort of positive relationships or alliances that may exist among the U. S. and other countries.

“Al-Qaeda’s goal is to split the coalition so that the U. S. will no longer have any allies on their side. As a result, these attacks may dampen relations with Spain,” Hedtke said.

Spain is currently entering its’ election period and the terrorist attacks just caused the process to be pushed back a little. The government officially declared three days of mourning for the victims of the bombings. In addition, the candidates for both the People’s Party and Socialist Party cancelled any campaigning held for that Sunday, March 14, and the current Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar cancelled all of his public appearances.

The country is anti-war against Iraq and they are even more upset now that they have been hit, which may result in a strain of their ties to the U. S. The people and citizens of Spain gathered in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol to protest the bombings and were encouraged to vote in order to reject the act of terrorism.

Another act of terrorism occurred on Wednesday night, March 17 when a car bomb exploded and destroyed a five-story hotel in Baghdad, Iraq. The blast killed 27 people and injured about 41 that were staying at the Mount Lebanon Hotel.

Whether this bombing is tied to the attacks in Madrid is uncertain. However, there is also some symbolism in this attack. According to CBSNEWS.com, the blast came three days before the one-year anniversary in which the U.S. led the war, in Iraq, against Saddam Hussein’s reign in power.

“Al-Qaeda tends to use car bombs in their massive attacks, but there are so many terrorist groups in Iraq that it’s hard to say whether or not they are responsible for the hotel blast,” Hedtke said.

Posted to the Web by Shawn Rice

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Rosemarie Gonzalez

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