IntroductionThis and minds’ tactic consist of gaining the

IntroductionThis essay will discuss how important is a ‘hearts and minds’ approach in countering terrorism by using the study case of ‘Los Gal’. This was a paramilitary group created by the Spanish government to fight back thee terrorist band ETA. Their activity was comprised from 1983 to 1987. But before focusing in the on the main subject of this assessment, there are two important definitions that must be given. The ‘hearts and minds’ tactic consist of gaining the local population whence the conflict is taking place. It is needed to win their emotional support (hearts) and let them know that you are their best option by calling to their rational self (minds). Therefore, counterterrorism can be understood as the strategies and techniques that the government, intelligence agencies or the military force use to prevent and combat terrorism. The idea was settled down by the English forces during The Fall of the Empire. The dismemberment brought riots, since those new nations had to create a new order, a new way to govern themselves. And, as a mother that cannot admit that their children have left home, the United Kingdom ‘tried’ to solve these problems. Under the fear of Malaya approaching to the communist wing during the Cold War, known as the Malayan Emergency. the UK used the ‘hearts and minds’ tactic. They distanced the local population from the new armies and guerrillas that had appeared in this territory. They did that by providing them with electricity, running water and even by building house for those who had lost them during the riots. These acts were carried out under the name of ‘the Briggs Plan’. But still, there was a point that the UK’s government had not realised. They did not belong to that people, they were contemplated as the colonisers they were. The conflict ended with the Government of the Federation of Malaya declaring amnesty to the communist on the 8th of September of 1955. Although several talks took place after this date, discussing about this insurrection, the state of emergency was not over until 1960. The communist leaders exiliated themselves to Beijing. This case can be contemplated as satisfactory usage of the ‘hearts and minds’ technique. Having provided this example, another question must be answered, was the Spanish government’s experience also successful after apply this tactic?The awakens of a movement.The Basque Country independence movement is renowned all around Spain and out of its borders. The most-known actor of this cause is the terrorist band ETA, but some people are not aware that they did not give birth to this ‘crusade’, the independence will had existed since the 16th century. It must be stated that this nationalism became stronger after the Third Carlist War in 1876. The Basque Country gave support to Carlos VII during the war for the Spanish throne, but he lost. The new king, Alfonso XII, punished this part of the territory by aboling its regional code of laws and centralising the Spanish economy. This act was received as an enormous offence and the cause started to walk step by step. The conflict was not limited to the political and economic area. In the social sphere was flooded with racist theories and pamphlets alleging that the Basque and the Spanish population were different not only by culture and language, but also by DNA. The Basque people were supposed to be stronger and clever than the Spaniards and those gens should be not lost by mixture with the rest of inhabitants. Sabino Arana, the founder of the EAJ-PNV on the 31st of July 1895 (Basque Nationalist Party) was one of the creators and supporters of these statements.Under Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship, from 1923 to 1931, the political activities were forbidden and new anti-nationalist laws were approved. These law forbade the nationalist signs like the Basque Flag, Ikurriña, and the hatred crimes committed against Spanish territorial unity would be judged by a military tribunal. During the Second Republic, from 1931 to 1936, the Basque government created an organism in charge to elaborate an statute. Several models were presented in the Spanish Parliament, but they were rejected because they proclaim the region as an independent nation. It was needed to wait until the Spanish Civil War, from 1936 to 1939, to obtain a statute able to pass. But it did not last, after the fall of Vizcaya, the Basque Country was declared by the dictator Franco as a ‘traitor province’ to the homeland. During Franco’s dictatorship, from 1939 to 1975, political activities were not allowed under penalty of jail or death. Besides, the different cultures that were set in Spain and their languages were forbidden in favour to the Castilian traditions. This action affected Galizia, the Valencian Country, but mainly Catalunya and the Basque Country. Franco knew that attitude could lead to some riots, and this is why he decided to carry out a kind of ‘hearts and minds’ strategy. He located the major part of industries in Catalunya and the Basque Country. The main goals of this movement were to show the people of regions that he cared about them and wanted them to have a better life, but also to colonised those lands with Spaniards of all over the country. That was supposed to calm the nationalist and independence feeling. Although it did not happened, ETA was about to be born. The days of terror.The terrorist band ETA, Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, which means ‘Basque Country and Liberty’, was created in 1958. They considered themselves as a marxist-socialist armed resistance that wanted to fight back the crimes committed by the Spanish nationalists against Basque culture and people. In fact, the cultural issue was serious for them. It has been mention in previous lines that the non-Castilian cultures were forbidden. Therefore, the roots of the group can be followed until a cultural association called Ekin and created in 1953. They were in charge of, clandestinely, teaching the Basque language and traditions.Their first attack was committed on the 17th of July of 1961, during the 25th commemoration of the coup d’etat  that unleashed the Spanish Civil War. They derailed a group of facists that were travelling to San Sebastian. From that point on, ETA would act following the pattern of what has been considered ‘Old Terrorism’. Their aims were political, compromised with the national independence feeling. This is why they had a great acceptance between the local population. They were seen as warriors fighting against facism. The band was well-organised in commands, with hierarchies and armed cells distributed in Spain and the South of France. Before stating these cells, their members where trained in the usage of short weapons, bombs making and documents falsification. Besides, several assemblies took place in periods not shorter than three years from one another. In relation to their tactics, they focused on kidnappings and political assassination. There is an important point that must be mentioned in relation to the kidnappings. Not all of them were produced because of political differences, but because of the money. The targets were usually wealthy people that had made their fortunes by using thee industry located in the region. Money was needed to keep the cause alive. These events made a distance between the band and the local population, because not everyone was in favour of how they were acting. In relation to the political assassination, the most famous is the terrorist attack  perpetrated against the Prime Minister, Carrero Blanco, in 1973. On his way to the church, he flew over a building as a result of the explosion of bomb that was located under his car.Franco’s death brought the end of his Regime. Spain became a democratic state, where, still, the independence of the Basque Country had no place. ETA was more active during this period that his known as the ‘Transition’. The new Spanish Government answer to these demonstration of rebellion and opposition was paradoxical. On one hand, they were claiming for unity to create a new beginning, and therefore a new and better country. The Basque Statute was one of the first to be passed by the Spanish Parliament, in 1979, just a year after the establishment of the Spanish Constitution. The Statute was not only special by the quantity of powers that were transferred to the Basque Government, but also because it restored the regional code of laws that were abolished after the Third Carlist War. This movement wanted to transmit  that the Central Powers located in Madrid cared and wanted to satisfy the Basque people. They wanted to extinguish the national feeling. They wanted to gain ‘their hearts and their minds’ by giving them what they asked for. But suddenly, they made a mistake that intensified the flame.”Tienen las manos manchadas de cal viva” / “Your hands are spotted with quicklime”The quotation that names this part of the essay was pronounced by Pablo Iglesias, the spokesman of Podemos during a Congress season in 2017. He was directly speaking to the PSOE’s congressists while they were discussing about terrorism. It makes reference to one of the most villain acts that took place while the socialist Prime Minister, Felipe González, in 1983. To fight back ETA. The Spanish Government created a paramilitary group called Los Gal, Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación (Antiterrorist Groups of Liberation). Although the word ‘antiterrorist’ is on its name, the crimes that they committed has been understood and accepted as terrorist acts by the Spanish Government. The groups admitted to had carried out at least 27 assassinations, and several crimes like kidnapping, torture and extortion. Their life span can be located between 1983 to 1987. The operated mainly in the Basque French Country, where they killed ten people that were not related to ETA in any sense. They created an environment of fear in the South of France that would lead the French police to control the activities of these groups. The scandals were produced by the assassination of two 18-year-old men, the kidnapping of Segundo Marey, in 1983, and the shooting that took place in Bayona in 1984. But with that sentence, Pablo Iglesias is referring to the mentioned assassination. José Antonio Lasa and José Ignacio Zabala were integrated in a terrorist cell called Gorki. They were captured in France while running away from a shooting that had happened two years ago. They were arrested and taken to San Sebastian, where they were tortured. The General Galindo ordered their assassination and disappearance. Lasa and Zabala were taken to Busot, Alicante. They were force to dig their own grave and two Civil Guards shot each of them three times. After that the guards covered the graves with quicklime. Their bodies were found in 1985, but they could not be identify until 1995. This event shocked not only the Basque society, but the Spanish too. Those who were in charge of ending with the terrorist band, tried to do it by committing terrorism too. The acts of  Los Gal  also had a cultural impact. It has been used by those who are in for and against what happened. In relation to the Lasa and Zabala’s case, the cinema director Pablo Malo made a film called Lasa y Zabala. It was released in 2014, not without an enormous polemic around it. Some critics claimed that by doing things like these, they were just opening wounds that should remain closed. Others argued that it was an important issue that must not be forgotten. Another cultural example is the TV serie released by Telecinco, a Spanish television network, in 2013. The serie is called El Padre de Caín, and it is the adaptation of a book that has the same name. It was written by Rafael Vera Fernández-Huidrobo. The plot narrates the story of a Civil Guard that ends collaborating with Los Gal in the Basque Country. It can be observed how the main character becomes a monster by working with this organisation. He even rapes a Basque young girl who gives birth to his son, who eventually will enrol the terrorist band. The serie has been critiqued by the feminist Spanish groups in particular, and by those related to ETA in general. This is because the main purpose that the production has is to wash the actions committed by the paramilitary group, by presenting them as men who where disrupted by the conflict that was taking place.Conclusion.The Spanish government during the ‘Transition’ played the ‘hearts and minds’ tactic by given the Basque population what they were asking for  without being prejudicial to both regions. They wanted to show that the coexistence between the two cultures was possible. But they decided to use dirty war on the darkness, and nothing cn be hidden forever. They paid a high price for this movement. In 1998, ETA announced a indefinite ceasefire that was broken in 1999. Eleven years later, in 2011 the definite ceasefire.It has been explained in this essay that the ‘hearts and minds’ approach can be successful if you keep yourself loyal to it. Human needs are basic. If you demonstrate the people that you care about them, and therefore, you are the best option, you will be able to create a distance between them and the terrorists. This will cut an important power supply, not only of food, refuges and weapons, but also of moral support that is needed as much as material things. It must been beard in mind that this tactic can also be used by terrorist groups. The actions performed by ISIS in the Middle East during 2011. The instability created in this zone by the West countries was used by the terrorists to gain the local approval. They provided them with houses, electricity and running water. Nowadays, taking into account the refugees crisis that we are living  the European countries and therefore, the European Union should take profit of the ‘hearts and minds’ approach to avoid the radicalisation of the incoming refugees and integrate them in the societies they are arriving in


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