Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Terrorists Bid Farewell To Arms

Sadly, as much as I wish this had to do with Iraq, it doesn't. But it does confirm the theory that if the political process is open enough, terrorists might just eschew more violent means for peaceful, political ones. The Basque Separatists of ETA in Spain have done just that.

Three members of ETA, which wants to carve an independent state out of northern Spain and southwest France, appeared on state television in black berets, white hoods over their faces.

"ETA has decided to declare a permanent ceasefire from March 24, 2006," said a woman seated in the middle, under ETA's flag showing a snake twisted around an axe.

"The object of this decision is to drive the democratic process in the Basque country in order to construct a new framework in which our rights as a people will be recognized and to ensure the future development of all political options."

Spanish Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who last May offered talks to ETA if it gave up violence, cautiously welcomed the ceasefire and the possibility of peace after a campaign that has killed 850 people.

One shouldn't understate how violent the ETA has been, but it appears ready to put those days behind. And, as an international terrorist group, that's going to have an effect on more than just Spain. So, hooray for democracy as a conflict resolution method. Guess what, it actually works! If only it worked more often.