ETA Declares Permanent Cease-Fire
ETA, you may recall, is the Basque separatist group in Spain and France that has been using terrorism to agitate for an independent homeland for the past forty years. After the Madrid bombings, conservative Spanish President Jose Maria Aznar initally blamed ETA, and the backlash from discoveries that al-Qaeda was the real perpetrator fueled the outrage necessary to sweep him out of office in favor of socialist Zapatero.
Now ETA's calling it quits, and an expert quoted in the article says "Wednesday's statement could be taken 'very seriously.'"
So what caused the change? The article lists at least three possibilities:
1. "Analysts say a concerted police crackdown in recent years in Spain and France may have helped weaken the group and prompt its cease-fire statement."
2. "Many Spaniards also say they believe the March 11, 2004 terror attacks in Madrid -- carried out by Islamic extremists -- effectively stymied ETA, with public revulsion over terrorism making deadly violence politically impossible for the Basque group, The Associated Press said."
3. "'The aim of (the cease-fire) is to promote a democratic process in the Basque country and to build a new framework in which our rights as a people will be recognized,' the group said in the video."