First they threatened El Salvador not to send fresh troops to Iraq. Now those that are there must leave. It's yet another example of the now-famous Arroyo-Zapatero maneuver: influence the political process of cowardly sovereign states by threatening violence. From AFP:
DUBAI, Aug 16 (AFP) - An Islamic extremist group has given El Salvador 20 days to pull out its military contingent from Iraq before it starts "carrying the war to El Salvador," an Islamist Internet website said yesterday.
"We give you 20 days to withdraw from Iraq," said the group, calling itself the Mohamed Atta-Al-Qaeda Jihad Brigades.
"This is the final deadline before we carry the war to El Salvador itself."
This warning comes as a new 380-strong El Salvador contingent is scheduled to fly out to Iraq today to relieve the present force stationed there.
The Islamic group issuing the threat, named for a suspected hijacker involved in the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, issued a similar warning earlier this month, saying it would carry out attacks inside El Salvador.
El Salvador's President Antonio Saca has said his country will not give in to threats.
Yet El Salvador is beset by appeasers too:
Yesterday, more than 100 government opponents marched in the capital for the second time in a week on to protest the impending deployment of the third Army contingent to Iraq.
In Iraq, "what there is, is a war and an occupation in which we have no reason to participate," said Shafik Handal, leader of the former guerrilla-group-turned-political-party, the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front.
Handal was defeated in El Salvador's presidential elections in March by conservative US ally and businessman Tony Saca. The president has explained that sending peacekeeping troops to Iraq is a way of expressing thanks to nations around the world for helping El Salvador reach the 1992 peace accords that ended this country's 12-year civil war.