Basque Conflict Essay
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I. Conflicts are not entities in themselves. They have to be viewed and analyzed within the context of various factors; those that lead to conflict in the first place and also those that keep them fuelled.
II. The Basque conflict in Spain is a result of cultural repression and intolerance.
III. We propose to examine the Basque conflict with a particular focus on the Spanish interests in the matter and intent to present the historical context of the conflict in a socio-political manner, then move to the cultural implications of the issue, then analyze the cultural conflict that has both been born of and furthered Basque nationalism.
I. Causes of Basque conflict
II. Consequences of Basque conflict
C. Terrorist acts
A. Refusing to negotiate with who it refers to as terrorists
B. A propaganda war
C. Increase anti-terrorist activities
D. Grant full independence to the Basques subject to a plebiscite within the Basque country
I. The government has to show it is ready to concede some more autonomy to the Basques.
II. Peace is not possible in the years to come in Spain without a radical reconsideration of the government as well as the unilateral support from both Spaniards and Basques of the dismantling of the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna.
Conflicts are not entities in themselves. They have to be viewed and analyzed within the context of various factors; those that lead to conflict in the first place and also those that keep them fuelled. The Basque conflict in Spain is a result of cultural repression and intolerance. The Comunidad Autonoma Vasca, or Basque region in the South of France and the northeastern edge of Spain is currently riddled with violent conflict. In this presentation we propose to examine the Basque conflict with a particular focus on the Spanish interests in the matter. We intent to present the historical context of the conflict in a socio-political manner, then move to the cultural implications of the issue.
The Basque Independence Party (Batasuna) with its military wing Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) has employed military means to achieve its goal of Basque self-determination. The Basque organization Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) was formed in 1959 and began waging a small scale war against the Spanish government. The causes for conflict lie in ideology and culture according to Fukuyama and Huntington respectively. The arguments of Friedlander and Cohen do not agree with these two theorists as they both posit that individuals do much less to influence history than the overarching powers of collective peoples. The argument that Fukuyama brings forth in his work; “The End of History”, conjectures that history is composed of a string of ideological shifts brought about by conflict in an evolutionary manner. He argues that history is the cyclical build-up of new competing ideologies which escalated into a military conflict which leads to a victorious ideology and then the arrival of new competitors.
In order to finance its operations, ETA has used kidnappings-for-ransom, extortion, and (less frequently) robberies. The main targets of such money-rising activities have been Basque entrepreneurs, who have since begun to abandon the Basque Country in large numbers in order to escape extortion or abduction by the terrorist group. In addition, the terrorist conflict has been frequently cited as deterrence for domestic and foreign direct investment in the Basque Country. Finally, although terrorist attacks have occurred in almost all Spanish regions, most of ETA’s violent activity has been concentrated in the Basque Country. Almost 70% of the deaths caused by ETA in Spain during 1968-1997 occurred in the Basque Country. During the period 1968-1997, ETA’s activity measured as number of deaths per inhabitant was 37 times larger in the Basque Country than in the rest of Spain.
Now let’s look at the options open to the Spanish Government because it is obvious that ETA will not just go away. Firstly, refusing to negotiate with who it refers to as terrorists. This is the course of action presently taken by the government in Spain at the moment. It does not however mean that the Basque conflict will disappear. By ignoring the problem it won’t go away. People in Spain are getting fed up living in continual fear of a bomb attack. Secondly, a propaganda war. This could have the scope of showing Basques that their lot is better by remaining Spanish, and also isolate the more militant nationalists from the bulk which are wary of the conflict. Thirdly, increase anti-terrorist activities. This has been done in the past and it does not seem to have worked except to drive ETA even more underground. Anti-terrorist groups are too much of a liability as has been shown by the “dirty war”.
Everything has to be done within the law something favoring the separatists. The state could attempt to eliminate all the separatists but it is hardly possible, whilst eliminating them of their leadership has not worked due to the separatists’ system of having autonomous branches all capable of committing anti-state activities. Then, grant full independence to the Basques subject to a plebiscite within the Basque country:- This is a “hard to swallow” option for any Spanish Government. Firstly a plebiscite in the Basque country would most probably (although not certain) result in favor of independence, secondly it would mean an electoral defeat for the party putting it in action in Spain itself. The Basque country is too important both for economic and industrial reasons and also for the ethnically Spanish people living there.
The government has to show it is ready to concede some more autonomy to the Basques .It is our belief that peace is not possible in the years to come in Spain without a radical reconsideration of the government as well as the unilateral support from both Spaniards and Basques of the dismantling of the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna. We believe that in some cases this unilateral front will need to engage in military action. The terrorist leaders of ETA are identifiable and can be eliminated publicly and legally
Flash Points/World Conflict
United States institute of Peace
The Basque Conflict: New Ideas and Prospects for Peace
The Economic Costs of Conflict: A Case Study of the Basque Country Author(s): Alberto Abadie and Javier Gardeazabal Source: The American Economic Review, Vol. 93, No. 1 (Mar., 2003), pp. 113-132 Published by: American Economic Association Stable