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date: 30 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Spain has experienced four waves of terrorism during the twentieth century: anarchist, nationalist, left-wing, and religious. This chapter examines the variety and intensity of terrorist incidents of the last two waves, as well as the counter-terrorist efforts since 1975. The argument is structured as follows: First, the chapter accounts for the longevity of the main campaigns of indiscriminate violence against civilians. Second, it evaluates the interaction between the security and intelligence services and the various clandestine groups, and argues that the process of democratization increased the effectiveness of counterterrorism, particularly against ETA. The section further argues that collective security is a relational act that brings two self-interested actors—the state and the terrorist group—into conflict with each other, and that it is not possible to study campaigns of political violence in isolation. Third, the chapter critically assesses the security threat posed by Salafi jihadist cells, which were responsible for the attacks on Madrid (2004) and Barcelona (2017), and examines the ongoing agenda of countering and preventing violent extremism in Spain.

Keywords: Spain, terrorism, counterterrorism, security, political violence, ETA, Jihad

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