L-R: Zapatero, King Juan Carlos, and outgoing PM Aznar. This time, Chamberlain succeeds Churchill (AP)
It’s official: the Spanish are leaving Iraq. Of course, Zapatero denies that this has anything to do with the Madrid bombings: “Zapatero’s warning of a possible Spanish withdrawal had prompted some U.S. lawmakers to charge such a move would appear to be appeasing terrorists. Zapatero rejected this saying his idea of removing them came long before the March 11 bombing.”
Who’s he trying to kid? Of course his idea of removing them came long before 3/11. That’s why the Spanish, terrified by the bombings, elected him. All the attempts to explain the Spanish elections as anything other than appeasement founder on the facts: the Al-Qaeda connection to the bombings was known before the election, and there is ample evidence that the Spanish thought they were buying peace in Spain in exchange for withdrawal from Iraq.
But they haven’t bought peace, of course. All they have bought is more terror, now that the terrorists know that they can be manipulated in this way. And the mujahedin have made it clear repeatedly that their grievance with Spain goes far beyond the presence of troops in Iraq. They consider Spain to be Muslim land, and they aim to reclaim it. A few years ago those intentions sounded like preposterous fantasy. Things have changed.
Spain has chosen the dhimmi path. Unless the Spanish change direction again, the mujahedin will press on toward the restoration of Al-Andalus.
MADRID, Spain (AP)- The prime minister ordered Spanish troops pulled out of Iraq as soon as possible Sunday, fulfilling a campaign pledge to a nation still recovering from terrorist bombings that al-Qaida militants said were reprisal for Spain’s support of the war.
The new Socialist prime minister issued the abrupt recall just hours after his government was sworn in, saying there was no sign the United States would meet his demands for staying in Iraq — United Nations control of the postwar occupation.
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s party won the March 14 general election amid allegations that outgoing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar had provoked commuter-train terrorist bombing, which killed 191 people three days earlier, by backing the war in Iraq.
Zapatero pledged to remove Spanish troops in his winning campaign. But his announcement — a setback for the United States — was a bombshell, coming just hours after his government was sworn in, and as his foreign minister planned to travel to Washington to discuss the dispute.
In a five-minute address at the Moncloa Palace, Zapatero said he had ordered Defense Minister Jose Bono to “do what is necessary for the Spanish troops stationed in Iraq to return home in the shortest time possible.”
Zapatero cited his campaign pledge to bring the 1,300 troops in Iraq home by June 30, when their mandate expires, if the United Nations failed to take political and military control of the situation.
“With the information we have, and which we have gathered over the past few weeks, it is not foreseeable that the United Nations will adopt a resolution” that satisfies Spain’s terms, Zapatero said.
Also, the latest poll showed 72 percent of Spaniards wanted the troops withdrawn.
Public remarks by key officials in the dispute and contacts that Bono held over the past month show no signs that the political and military situation will change sufficiently to satisfy Spain by the June 30 deadline, Zapatero said.
The Bush administration said the move was not a surprise.
“We knew from the recent Spanish election that it was the new prime minister’s intention to withdraw Spanish troops from the coalition in Iraq,” said White House spokesman Ken Lisaius. “We will work with our coalition partners in Iraq and the Spanish government and expect they will implement their decision in a coordinated, responsible and orderly manner.”
Mariano Rajoy, Aznar’s hand-picked candidate to face Zapatero in the election, said Zapatero’s decision made Spain “much more vulnerable and weak in the face of terrorism.” Zapatero has “thrown in the towel” rather than try to exhaust all possibilities of getting a new U.N. resolution to meet his demands, Rajoy said. …
In a videotape found the night before the election, an Arabic-speaking man claiming to speak for al-Qaida said the bombings were punishment for Aznar’s support of the war. Aznar’s party had been expected to win the election handily.
Zapatero’s warning of a possible Spanish withdrawal had prompted some U.S. lawmakers to charge such a move would appear to be appeasing terrorists. Zapatero rejected this saying his idea of removing them came long before the March 11 bombing.
As early as Sunday morning it had seemed Spain was not yet poised to bring the troops home.
And Aznar, who deployed the troops, said Sunday this would only lead to more violence and chaos in Iraq.
“That will not be good for Spain, not a good day for the coalition, and a very good day for those who don’t want stability and democracy in Iraq,” Aznar said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Aznar is a wise man.