NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
21st February, 1936 : Spain’s new left-wing Government has ordered an amnesty for 30,000 prisoners. Formal releases are taking place this evening throughout the country. Meanwhile, martial law is in force in four provinces as sporadic violence erupts like a brush fires. However, yesterday’s broadcast by the Premier, Senor Azana, in which he promised “liberty, prosperity and justice”, was well received. The newspaper, A.B.C., says that the Premier’s words might have been spoken on behalf of a Government of any complexion. The new Government is composed mainly of personal friends of the Premier. They are mostly unknown as politicians, which gives them the advantage of not having to face a prejudiced public. Several of them once formed the “pandilla del Ateneo” the school of students who would listen to Senor Azana in the Ateneo, the literary club of Madrid. Governing the country as turbulent as Spain, however, will be a sterner tasks than literary criticism. Already the Communists, furious at being excluded from the Cabinet, are seeking to undermine the new Government.
[With hindsight, one could say the releasing 30,000 of them from prisons was unlikely to add to stability. Obviously, releasing of communists by socialists was a political, survival necessity, similar to what is happening in Afghanistan, where mild-Taliban Karzai is releasing the hard-core, criminal Taliban: “In recent months, scores of Taliban officials and rank-and-file have been freed from prisons in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan. Now, Afghanistan is upping the ante with the expected release of thousands more within its borders while pushing Islamabad to free some of the Islamist militant group’s most dangerous characters.
The prisoner releases are seen as a signal of good faith from the administration of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who is wary of peace efforts not led by Kabul but whose overtures for direct talks with the Taliban have been refused. But there are no assurances that the freed detainees will, as Kabul predicts, help bring the Taliban leadership to the negotiating table or convince militants to reintegrate into Afghan society. Analysts say the move is fraught with risk and has little chance of succeeding.
“The worst-case scenario, which is actually quite likely, is having these individuals return to the Taliban, bolster their ranks, and increase their efficacy on the battlefield,” says Jeffrey Dressler, a senior analyst and team leader for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington. “It would not surprise me one bit if the majority of these folks were recaptured or killed on the battlefield six months to a year from now.” (Full article – http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/OA16Df01.html]