Spanish bombs

“Purported al-Qaida videotape claims responsibility while 5 arrested in Madrid: Authorities found a videotape claiming al-Qaida carried out the Madrid terrorist attacks, Spain’s government said Sunday, hours after three Moroccans and two Indians were arrested in connection with the bombings.”

And: “A top Clinton-era expert on Europe and security warns that if the deadly Madrid bombings prove to be the work of al-Qaida, it could transform politics throughout Europe.” —Salon Charles Kupchan, formerly President Clinton’s director for European affairs on the National Security Council, hedges his bet, saying that the enhanced perception that they face a common enemy could edge Europe closer to the Bush position. We might see a strengthening of the hand of the rightwing nationalist movements throughout the Continent which focus on the disenfranchised and largely unassimilated Islamic immigrant populations in European nations. I think it is more likely and more justified, given that the majority of Spaniards opposed Aznar’s support for the invasion of Iraq, that the bombing will be seen as retribution as well as reinforcing the perception that the US actions have made the Western world less rather than more safe. We will see if Aznar is repudiated in this weekend’s Spanish voting; the timing of the bombings just before the election may not have been a coincidence.