Honduran and American soldiers
The dhimmi appeaser ranks are growing fast. Also, there is information below about how the sudden Spanish withdrawal endangers all Coalition troops in Iraq. From CNN, :
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Honduras has confirmed that it will join Spain in withdrawing its troops from Iraq “in the shortest possible time.”
“I have told the coalition countries that the troops are going to return from Iraq,” President Ricardo Maduro said in a speech on national television and radio Monday, Reuters reports.
“I have ordered … the carrying out of the decision taken in the shortest possible time and under safe conditions for our troops.”
Around 370 soldiers from Honduras, a strong U.S. ally in Central America, have been clearing mines and providing medical care in central Iraq. …
In a phone call to Spain’s new Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Bush “stressed the importance of carefully considering future actions to avoid giving false comfort to terrorists.”
Bush also “urged that the Spanish withdrawal take place in a coordinated manner that does not put at risk other coalition forces,” White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan said.
One day after being sworn in as Prime Minister, Zapatero announced Sunday he will withdraw Spain’s 1,300 troops from Iraq as soon as possible.
Jose Bono, the new Spanish defense minister, said Monday it would take less than six weeks to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq, but did not say when the withdrawal would begin.
He told reporters a planeload of Spanish troops who are specialists in the logistics of moving troops was headed for the region, and would bring some of the “tactical troops” back to Spain.
“It would be imprudent to talk of six to eight weeks because it’s going to be less,” The Associated Press reports Bono telling a news conference after the newly-elected government’s first Cabinet meeting.
Normally, Spain has 1,300 troops in Iraq, but there are currently 1,430, because fresh troops had been brought in during recent weeks as part of a routine rotation.
Spain’s sudden announcement has left other members of the multinational force scrambling to come up with a plan for keeping the peace in what has become one of the most tumultuous regions of the country.
Poland, which commands the 23-nation force of 9,500 troops in south-central Iraq, said it was taken by surprise by the announcement.
The Polish Defense Ministry said in a statement that commanders are now working on transferring “tasks from the Spaniards while maintaining the operational capability of the division and ensuring the safety of the soldiers.”
The news also triggered criticism from some coalition members, such as Australia.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer worried that if other countries followed Madrid’s example, “then Iraq would be left without security and Iraq would become a haven for terrorists.”
Before Zapatero’s Socialist Party upset victory following terrorist bombings in Madrid in March, Spain had been one of the staunchest U.S. allies in Iraq.
Despite the Spanish announcement, McClellan said: “The coalition in Iraq remains strong.”
Earlier, coalition military spokesman Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt told reporters the withdrawal of Spanish troops from the holy city of Najaf in southern Iraq would not create a “security vacuum” in the region.
“They are a significant portion of what happens down in Multinational Division Central South, but numerically those are numbers that should be able to be replaced in a fairly short order.”
The general said coalition military officials began considering their options when Zapatero ousted Aznar from his post as Spain’s prime minister.
“Obviously, there are a number of courses of action that we’ll take,” Kimmitt said, “but there will not be a security vacuum in that area at any time.”
Zapatero, meanwhile, can enjoy the fruits of appeasement: his new masters are pleased “” for the moment:
But the news pleased Muqtada al-Sadr, the influential Shiite cleric who is hiding in the holy city of Najaf, where the Spanish troops are deployed,
“We have noticed that the coalition has pulled back,” al-Sadr spokesman Sheikh Qais al-Khazaali said Monday.
“Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered the Mehdi Army to stop all attacks on the Spanish troops after they decided to pull out of Iraq.”