March 16, 2004
Madrid attacks worked exactly as planned
An al Qaeda document reveals that the terror group specificially targeted regime change in Spain, with an eye toward a Socialist Party victory and the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq, according to a report from CNN.
Reports of the document's existence remove what little doubt may have existed that the Madrid bombings were an al Qaeda-linked effort as well as making it clear that the political ramifications of the attack were carefully thought out. The report also suggests the timing of the attack was specifically geared toward the election.
The report also again raises the specter of an "October surprise" terror attack in the U.S., just before the November elections. However, that scenario is based on the possibly debateable premise that al Qaeda desires to see regime change in the U.S.
While a successful repeat of the Spanish scenario would potentially enhance al Qaeda's standing internationally, the terror organization actually benefits from a confrontational U.S. foreign policy, which helps with recruiting and discourages countries in the Middle East, East Asia and Southeastern Asia from fully participating in American anti-terror efforts.
Contact J.M. Berger: