Interesting nugget of information from this article in the Washington Post today :
In Israel, for example, attacks by Palestinian terrorist groups bent on sabotaging peace talks are more frequent before elections when left-wing governments hold power, in hopes of pushing Israeli voters in a more hawkish direction, according to research by Claude Berrebi of the Rand Corporation and Esteban F. Klor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Of course, there's another possible interpretation of that data : that it's not the Palestinian terrorist groups who're carrying out the attacks, but elements of the Israeli right-wing.
The author of the article, Alan Krueger, also does his best to promote, not debunk, a modern myth of his own : that the Madrid bombings inspired the cowardly Spanish people to withdraw their support for the staunch conservative government of Jose Maria Aznar and vote instead for the spineless socialist Zapatero who helped the terrorists win by withdrawing all Spanish troops from Iraq. In reality, it was the government's handling of the aftermath of the bombing, not the bombing itself, that affected the pattern of voting.
When the Aznar government implied that the bombing was the work of ETA, not of Islamic terrorists, the people of Spain were sophisticated enough to detect a right-wing blowhard trying to make political capital out of his own incompetence. It's just a pity that the people of the United States weren't similarly sophisticated; and given the dumbed-down interpretations of events being peddled by the likes of Krueger in the Washington Post, they're not likely to become so anytime soon.