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Al Qaeda Topples Spanish Government

According to this CNN article, which discusses the al Qaeda connection in the Madrid train bombings, the attack was deliberately intended to topple the Spanish government:

A December posting on a Internet message board used by al Qaeda and its sympathizers and obtained by CNN, spells out a plan to topple the pro-U.S. government.

"We think the Spanish government will not stand more than two blows, or three at the most, before it will be forced to withdraw because of the public pressure on it," the al Qaeda document says.

"If its forces remain after these blows, the victory of the Socialist Party will be almost guaranteed — and the withdrawal of Spanish forces will be on its campaign manifesto."

That prediction came to fruition in elections Sunday, with the Socialists unseating the Popular Party three days after near-simultaneous bombings of four trains killed 200 and shocked the nation.

Al Qaeda's success in this instance strongly suggests that they will use terrorist attacks to influence elections in the future. I fear for Great Britain and Poland. But would al Qaeda attempt to influence the U.S. election this fall by attacking here?

When the United States was attacked on Sept. 11th, we got pissed off and invaded a country halfway around the world, and then undertook a restructuring of the entire region. When Spain was attacked on March 11th, they… well they voted for socialists.

Clearly there are differences in response for al Qaeda to consider.

I believe — perhaps I only hope — that another terrorist attack in the United States would reignite our Jacksonian fire and achieve the opposite of the terrorists' intent. I want them filled with Yamamoto's fear, and a re-election of President Bush will do that.

UPDATE 2004-03-17 04:02:45 UTC: The election results were 42% Socialist and 38% Popular Party. Polls in late February predicted the Popular Party to end up with about 171 seats and the Socialists with about 142. I haven't found news articles that are directly comparable (both percentages or both numbers of seats) but the basic premise that the terrorist attacks swung the election is sound.

UPDATE 2004-03-18 06:10:17 UTC: A poll taken three days before the attack showed a 4.5% lead for the Popular Party over the Socialist. So, the electorate swung by 8.5%.

Tiny Island