Terrorism Conclusions One Year After 11-M
It is one year since the largest terrorist attack on European soil. 191 people were killed as ten bombs went off on four trains heading for Atocha station in central Madríd.
We now know that the attack was masterminded by circles that are likely to have been connected to and drawn inspiration from al-Qaeda networks.
The March 11 attack was designed to be even more devastating than it turned out to be. It was planned to be the beginning of a campaign of terror across
It was only when seven of the conspirators blew themselves up after being surrounded by police that the planned continuation of the terror campaign was stopped. Only the day before, a bomb had been found on the high-speed train between
No less than 74 persons have no been indicted for their part in the March 11 attacks, but the actual trials are not expected to start until early next year. Inquiries are still carried out in
When many world leaders – including 23 heads of state - gathered in Madrid during theses days, it was natural to try to take stocks of what has been learnt and achieved since 11-M.
Much has certainly been done to strengthen anti-terrorist coordination inside the European Union, although more needs to be done. The glaring deficiencies identified in the Spanish system prior to 11-M should hopefully have been eliminated throughout
There has also been a continuing strengthening of cooperation across the
But the most remarkable aspect of the discussions in
There has been a noticeable coming together of views on both the need to try to move the conflict between
Indeed, the very theme of the
There was a mood of cautious optimism in the discussions on these issues. Israelis and Palestinians talked to each other in the debates, the corridors and the closed rooms. And Egyptian opposition activists and regime representatives could share a laugh or two in the discussions.
Sometimes there was a flare-up, as you would expect.
A prominent Arab editor of a newspaper known for its previous links to the Saddam Hussein regime launched a vicious attack against US F16’s allegedly killing tens of thousands in
But he rapidly feel silent when a young girl stood up in the middle of the audience and said that without these F16’s - or whatever - many tens of thousands would continue to be routinely killed by the henchmen of Saddam and any discussion on building democracy in Iraq – and perhaps the wider region - would have been impossible.
Not everyone in
11-M reminds us of the terrorist threat that is still there and the challenges ahead of us.
It is vitally important to achieve a democratic stability in
And not the least must the European Union be prepared to be – as El Pais quotes me as saying in one of the debates – more hardnosed in the use of its soft powers to promote the opening up and reforms of the often ossified regimes of the Middle East and
Perhaps the discussions in