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Hoping Spain Doesn't Withdraw Their Troops...  
User currently offlineRjpieces From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (10 years 9 months 1 hour ago) and read 1258 times:

If Spain's new government does go ahead and remove their troops from Iraq, it will give terrorists a new weapon to use and a new battleground to use it on.

Here is an excellent article by one of the few truly balanced MidEast reporters. The 2nd to last paragraph says it best and I can only hope that comes true.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/25/opinion/25FRIE.html?n=Top%2fOpinion%2fEditorials%20and%20Op%2dEd%2fOp%2dEd%2fColumnists

OP-ED COLUMNIST
No Vote for Al Qaeda
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Published: March 25, 2004

There is nothing more important for the future of Western democracies than the question of whether, in the wake of the Madrid bombings, the new Spanish government will go ahead with its plan to withdraw Spanish forces from Iraq — unless the U.N. assumes control of the occupation forces there by June 30. If Spain goes ahead, every terrorist in the world will celebrate, and every democracy will be a little more endangered. I so hope Spain's incoming prime minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, reconsiders this decision.

Why? To answer that question I need to draw an analogy with a different era of Spanish history: the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939, where all the big powers of that day tested out the weapons they would employ in World War II.

So here's my analogy: The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is to the war on terrorism what the Spanish Civil War was to World War II. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is where airline hijacking, suicide bombing and assassinations with helicopter-mounted guided missiles were all perfected and made ready for export.

But it's not only types of violence that were perfected there. It was also there where Palestinian terrorists regularly attempted to hijack democratic elections on the eve of the vote. Liberal Labor Party candidates in Israel, throughout the 1980's and 1990's, always had to hold their breath that there would not be a big terrorist attack on the eve of an election. Because if there was, swing voters would usually move to the right and the Likud candidate would benefit. The Palestinian terrorists always "voted" Likud, not Labor. They wanted hard-liners at the helm in Israel because they would build more settlements and further radicalize and destabilize the situation.

In 1996, shortly after the murder of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres was leading Bibi Netanyahu by 20 points in opinion polls. Then Islamic terrorists unleashed bus bombings, killing 59 Israelis. Mr. Peres saw his lead wiped out, and then lost the election by a tiny margin. Suicide bombing totally undermined Labor's Ehud Barak and helped elect Ariel Sharon in 2001. So terrorists have been voting in Israel's elections for a long time.

What the Madrid bombings, just before the Spanish elections, represent is the Islamist terrorists' first attempt to hijack a democratic election in Western Europe.

Yes, yes, I know all the fine print. People say that the reason the ruling conservative party lost to the Socialists in Spain was because the conservatives tried to mislead the Spanish people by suggesting that the bombings were the work of Basque separatists, not Al Qaeda sympathizers unhappy with Spain's role in Iraq. And therefore, in voting for the Socialists, who were running on a pledge to withdraw Spanish forces from Iraq, the Spanish people were voting for truth in government — not to appease the Islamists by voting in the party that would pull out of Iraq.

Maybe that's true. Personally, I believe it's naïve to think that truth-in-government was the only thing motivating anguished Spanish swing voters after the bombings, and that there was not a twitch of appeasement in the air. But here's what I know for sure: Al Qaeda doesn't do exit polling. Al Qaeda does big picture.

If Mr. Zapatero goes through with his troop withdrawal from Iraq, Islamist terrorists will attribute it to the Madrid bombing. This big picture will absolutely encourage them to try this tactic, perfected in Israel and now imported to Spain, in other European or U.S. elections — to tilt the vote one way or another.

"The Spanish Civil War tested only weapons," said the Israeli political theorist Yaron Ezrahi. "The terrorism we have seen in Israel, and may soon see more of in Europe, is testing the fabric of democratic societies. What is being tested in Spain is this question: Does it pay for terrorists to try to hijack democratic elections? We have a clear-cut challenge here, and it must be met with an equally clear-cut response. Are leaders of Western nations going to reward the terrorists in their attempt to hijack democratic elections in a major European state or make them fail?"

If the European Union was thinking long-term, it would hold an emergency meeting and announce that each E.U. country would be sending 100 men to stand alongside the 1,300 Spanish soldiers in Iraq to help protect the Iraqi people as they try to organize their first democratic election — free of intimidation by terrorists.

That is a big picture that would make Al Qaeda weep.

32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineAndreas From Germany, joined Oct 2001, 6104 posts, RR: 31
Reply 1, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1226 times:

Indeed if Spain does withdraw its troops now, that would be a political desaster, giving Al-Qaida a big win. But as I understand it, they want a UN mandate to keep on.


I know it's only VfB but I like it!
User currently offlineCfalk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 1211 times:

It may indeed be true that the Spanish were far more pissed off about the lies around the investigation rather than the Iraq war. I would say it probably is. The lies were stupid, and were bound to be revealed anyway eventually, leading to a government crisis and possible impeachment proceedings after the election - and this would have been the BEST case. So the Spanish were entirely correct in throwing out the bastards who tried to pull such a stupid stunt.

At the same time, the Socialists should really rethink about the decision to pull their troops out. There is no doubt that Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups found great encouragement in the Spanish elections. To them, they will see a clear example that terrorism works, and you can overthrow governments and make the new governments bow to your demands. Whether they are correct in that conclusion is beside the point. The important thing is that terrorism has been validated in their eyes, and they will thus increase their use of it in order to get other governments to do what they want.

If the new government decides to keep the troops in Iraq, even if only medics and logistics personnel, that would be enough to dispell the terrorists' idea that terrorism worked, by making it absolutely clear that the Spanish elections were won/lost on the basis of the politics of Spain, not because of the fear of terrorist strikes. It will be back to square one for them, and while it won't convince them to abandon terrorism, it won't encourage them either - especially if the new government reverses its previously stated policy in order to make a point absolutely clear - that they will not bow to terrorism.

Charles

[Edited 2004-03-25 11:19:19]

User currently offlineDonder10 From Canada, joined Oct 2001, 6660 posts, RR: 21
Reply 3, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 1200 times:

There is nothing more important for the future of Western democracies than the question of whether, in the wake of the Madrid bombings, the new Spanish government will go ahead with its plan to withdraw Spanish forces from Iraq — unless the U.N. assumes control of the occupation forces there by June 30

Won't control have been handed over to the interim Iraqi government by then?


User currently offlineIndianguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 1200 times:

Spain will do whatever is in its best national interests. Period.

And what difference does it make even if Spain withdraws its troops? Spain is just a small, inconsequential little country in Europes backwaters (that part can also be declared as old Europe) and a decision to withdraw should not affect American presence in Iraq. After America is the most powerful "democracy on earth, too powerful tro be affected by old-Europes shenanigans, right?

America doesnt need the world as much as the World needs America.



User currently offlineKEESJE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1189 times:

The (then) Spanish opposition promised the population they would withdraw from Iraq months before the bomb attack.

90% of the population was against them going into Iraq to start ....

So withdrawing basicly has nothing to do with the bomb



User currently offlineQIguy24 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1184 times:

They have to withdraw their troops. If they don't do that there will be many spaniards that will be very pissed. Because that was a promise they made to the people. It was also one of the reasons they won the election.
It will be a big defeat for the socialists if they let the troops stay..


User currently offlineZak From Greenland, joined Sep 2003, 1993 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1179 times:

spains troop withdrawal will exactly be the opposite: a severe loss for terrorists.
why?
because it shows that democracy has won, that the spanish people did have determination to make their will heard and not break under the attacks in madrid. that the attempts to get the population into a state of fear by the government have failed and that the spanish people are determined to make their voice heard and their will done by their government.

spain does indeed only want one thing:
the u.n. to take over iraq to end the imperialism there and to allow the international community to take over. because what the terrorists want is a polarization in the region to give them more recruits. bushs imperialism only helps there. spains move is a blow to any terrorism efforts, because it assures moderate people that not all of the west has become a playball of u..s imperial doctrine, preventing them from supporting extremists.

in the short run some terrorists might think that this was a success. but far more important is the long term effect and signal of this move: that europe will not participate in imperialism and there are elements in the west that will not support such movements but rather support equality and prosperity for everyone. not only those "with us". you do not fight terrorism with military, you fight it with politics that root out the cause. spain has just done that.



10=2
User currently offlineAlpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1173 times:

I'm forced to agree wtih Indianguy-Spain will do what's best for Spain.

And isn't democracy, when it works best, the PEOPLE telling the goverment what they want as policy? Spain's people were NEVER for the war in Iraq, and all it got them was grief, didn't it? So if Spain's people don't want their young men and woman in Iraq, then their government should heed their people, is that not correct?

If you think Spain is going to withdraw from helping with the War on Terror, I think most of you are mistaken. But Spain's people never wanted any part of a dubious war in Iraq, and they have spoken.


User currently offlineSebolino From France, joined May 2001, 3682 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 1163 times:

There's no links, not even a beginning of doubt between Iraq and Al-Quaida.

AND, it was already decided by the Spanish socialists to withdraw if they won, before the Madrid attacks.
So it's NOT a point made by Al-Quaida, it's just some common sense.

Iraq was just the wrong target to fight terrorism, and that's not new.


User currently offlineSchoenorama From Spain, joined Apr 2001, 2440 posts, RR: 25
Reply 10, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 1157 times:

Mr Friedman, as many other 'respected' op-ed writers, parts from the assumption the U.N. will not obtain the control of the occupation forces, which will then lead to the withdrawal of Spanish Troops, as Mr Zapatero had promised throughout his campaign, before the Madrid bombings.

The issue here isn't what Spain might or might not do, the real issue should be that Spain, and 90% of its population, does not believe the current situation in Iraq is an adequate strategy in the War on Terror. In the same way that Spain did not believe Saddam formed a direct threat or Saddam had direct links with Al Qaeda before the war started, Spain does not believe neither the reconstruction of Iraq nor the War on Terror can be conducted successfully with the unilateral approach of the actual 'Coalition' with its simple 'You're With Me Or Against Me' theory.


Terrorism can't be fought successfully by just a minority of countries. If terrorism really is the Number One issue, even the most powerfull nation on earth cannot fight it alone. It will always need a broad international assistance, either now in Iraq, tomorrow in Afghanistan, and perhaps next year in Pakistan or wherever. One cannot 'intimidate' these important international partners by ignoring their worries, their theories, their democracies for the sake of a single nation's Foreign Policy.

Cfalk:

"At the same time, the Socialists should really rethink about the decision to pull their troops out. There is no doubt that Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups found great encouragement in the Spanish elections."

Over the past few months we both have engaged in different discussions on the legality of this war and the 'real' reason of it. First the 'pro-war' people argued the WMD's was reason enough to invade Iraq. We all know what happened to that argument. Then it was Saddam alleged ties with Al Qaeda and also this argument has disappaered. With the war well underway, all we could hear is how great it was to Liberate the Iraqi people from that terrible dictaror Saddam, not a word about WMD's, not a word about alleged Al Qaeda links.

What I, and many with me, still would like to know is where Iraq exactly fits in in this 'War on Terror'. With both the accusations of WMD's and Al Qaeda links proven 'shaky' to say the least, the latter already widely known before the war, many non-Coalition countries before the war warned overthrowing Saddam, no matter how bad a dictator he was, would give Al Qaeda and similar groups much more support and a reason to increase their activities, not only in the ME region but also outside.

Before the war, Al Qaeda was limited to only a few areas in the ME. After the start of the war, Iraq has attracted many non-iraqis willing to fight for either Al Qaeda's cause or that of any other group opposing the invasion. Before the invasion, Al Qaeda had no links whatsoever with Saddam's regime. After the war, former Baathist party officials and Al Qaeda terrorist are actively working together attacking Coalition Forces and Iraqis working with/for the Coalition.

Before blaming Spain's conditional withdrawal could be seen as a victory for Al Qaeda, please bare in mind the above. In my opinion, had the Coalition stuck with the real War on Terror and not invaded Iraq the way it did 1 year ago, not only had the Coalition been much broader, the War on Terror itself would have been much more successfull. Regretfully, Al Qaeda now is much more powerfull than before the Iraq invasion. It's support is much broader and, as we know, they still have mass-murdering capabilities. With that, Al Qaeda has shown it is winning the War on Terror, not because of Spain's conditional withdrawal, but because of the Coalition's unwillingness to change its methods.

The people of Spain have stood up and have told the Coalition, as they already did one year ago, that the Coalition's War on Terrorism is not only not working, it is creating terrorism rather than fighting it. Slowly cracks begin to appear in this 'Coalition of the Willing'...



Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam totam suffodiant!
User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1143 times:

It may indeed be true that the Spanish were far more pissed off about the lies around the investigation rather than the Iraq war.

That's how most people actually think... Also Poland (only people like B757300 don't believe this)

Frederic


User currently offlineTs-ior From Tunisia, joined Oct 2001, 3492 posts, RR: 6
Reply 12, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1135 times:


Spanish troops should,and they will hopefully,withdraw from Iraq,and so will do the other troops,the British too hopefully,and at that time we will see how the Pentagon and Paul BREMER would manage to secure their "unlawful" presence in the Iraqi territories.Will they send the whole U.S.troops there ?

The U.S.A.should assume the responsibility of the war on Iraq for itself,because it's "only" for its own benefits.


User currently offlineMarco From United Arab Emirates, joined Jul 2000, 4169 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1130 times:

Spanish troops should,and they will hopefully,withdraw from Iraq,and so will do the other troops,the British too hopefully,and at that time we will see how the Pentagon and Paul BREMER would manage to secure their "unlawful" presence in the Iraqi territories.Will they send the whole U.S.troops there ?

So Saddam was more lawful? Of course you never had family there and never suffered at all, so you wouldn't know what you're talking about. Is blind hatred for the west this rampant in Tunisia?

The U.S.A.should assume the responsibility of the war on Iraq for itself,because it's "only" for its own benefits.

Give it time. The USA was responsible for Japan and Germany and look at them today.






Proud to be an Assyrian!
User currently offlineAlpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1125 times:

Give it time. The USA was responsible for Japan and Germany and look at them today.

Several big difference between Germany/Japan of the 1940's, post WWII, and Iraq post-occupation:

1. Germany and Japan had industrial bases. They were not completely destroyed, even by 6 years of war, but almost. That industrial base was rebuilt, and they became prosperous. Iraq has no such base or diversity to fall back on, with the exception of oil.

2. Japan and Germany didn't have ethnic hatreds like exist in Iraq between Sunni and Shi'a, between Kurds and the rest of the nation, etc. As with Yugoslavia, when a strong central authority leaves the area, as when the communists collapsed there, all those divisions come out in the open. The same will happen, I'm convinced, with Iraq.

Those differences don't make Germany and Japan good comparisons for Iraq.


User currently offlineTs-ior From Tunisia, joined Oct 2001, 3492 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1120 times:


MARCO,i've never been in the side of Saddam you know !!! And make sure that in Tunisia,and in every Muslim and Arab country,we DO NOT hate the West blindly.


User currently offlineAlpha 1 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 1118 times:

..we DO NOT hate the West blindly...

No, you just pick and choose your hatred.


User currently offlineMarco From United Arab Emirates, joined Jul 2000, 4169 posts, RR: 11
Reply 17, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1110 times:

MARCO,i've never been in the side of Saddam you know !!! And make sure that in Tunisia,and in every Muslim and Arab country,we DO NOT hate the West blindly.

So then please answer the question if the Americans' occupation is unlawful, then was Saddam's regime lawful?

Alpha 1,

Actually Iraq has lots of industries besides oil. That's a common misconception. Iraq is a very diversified country (and had the largest middle class in the whole Arab world) until Saddam took over and plunged the country into twenty years of multiple (useless) wars.



Proud to be an Assyrian!
User currently offlineTs-ior From Tunisia, joined Oct 2001, 3492 posts, RR: 6
Reply 18, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 1108 times:

...i personally hate those who hate me.I never hate someone for free.Only a handful number of persons i hate and i'm not really proud to say it but it's a humane feeling which goes beyond us sometimes.

I do not HATE you Alpha 1,make sure...and none A.net user...


User currently offlineN79969 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 1073 times:

I am so glad that someone post this excellent op-ed. The Spanish people need to be clear on one thing: if their troops withdraw from Iraq, you will hand al-Qaeda a big, big win.

I understand the principled opposition of the Spanish people. But to retroactively vote against the war in Iraq by withdrawing troops will not change history and will send only one message to al-Qaeda and others: terrorisms pays. It won't be 'democracy is nice' or the 'Spanish are our friends.'

Zak,

"spains troop withdrawal will exactly be the opposite: a severe loss for terrorists.
why?
because it shows that democracy has won, that the spanish people did have determination to make their will heard and not break under the attacks in madrid. that the attempts to get the population into a state of fear by the government have failed and that the spanish people are determined to make their voice heard and their will done by their government."

You make no sense whatsoever. Perhaps frostbite has dulled your senses.


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29832 posts, RR: 58
Reply 20, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 1069 times:

Well when Roy makes such broad statements Alpha 1 it is hard not to.

Spain will do what is best for Spain, however I hope that the current government sees past the small picture and sticks around. Otherwise, Al-quinto gets exactly what they wanted.

Not say the bombings where the reasons, but why not take out a little insurance, say 200 foreign devils lives to make sure you get the result you wanted.

That is exactly what happened on 3/11, Al-crackers bought that insurance with 200 lives, none of them their own.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineRjpieces From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 1063 times:

I'm gonna have to agree with N79969. Even though many Spaniards were/are against the war, the bombing changed things. If the Spanish DO pull out their troops (no matter what the reason), the terrorists will see it and think that they could control elections and world policy at that. What will be next for them, Italy, Poland?

If Spain/the EU wanted to send a clear message, they would send troops to Iraq to show solidarity and send the message that terrorism will have no political effect, in whatever form it comes in. IMO, Europe has a huge problem with Muslim fanatics living in their borders and it will just get worse. The Western World is in this fight together and we should show them that we are together.


User currently offlineSabena 690 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 1045 times:

@N79969

But to retroactively vote against the war in Iraq by withdrawing troops will not change history and will send only one message to al-Qaeda and others: terrorisms pays.

I have to agree on this one. The war in Iraq happened, and to avoid further hatress towards the Western World, we have to make life for the Iraqis as good as possible.

We can't go back in time anymore...

That's why EU troops have to assist in Iraq asap.

Withdrawing now will only create more problems. A civil war in Iraq is predicted, and this must be avoided at all cost.

Bush clearly had a strong plann for the invasion in Iraq, but unfortunately no plann for Iraq after the war...


User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14139 posts, RR: 62
Reply 23, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 1042 times:

I´m in favour of sending European troops to clear up the mess, but please with a different command, not the US government, which caused the mess in first place.

Jan


User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29832 posts, RR: 58
Reply 24, posted (10 years 8 months 4 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 1041 times:

Funny,

I could have sworn that it was Saddam Hussain that started that mess.



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
25 MD11Engineer : Going into another country without having a plan what to do once you´re there? Jan
26 L-188 : Yup....Kuwait 1990! filler....filler....filler
27 Schoenorama : N79969: "But to retroactively vote against the war in Iraq by withdrawing troops..." The Spanish people did not 'retroactively' vote against the war i
28 N79969 : Schoenorama, My point remains. It does not matter who is leading Spain with respect to the matter of troop withdrawal. Al-Qaeda and other like minded
29 Donder10 : I agree with those who say that the Bush Administration did not plan for post-war Iraq. Even at 150,000 US troops, our presence is inadequate for the
30 Schoenorama : N79969: "It does not matter who is leading Spain with respect to the matter of troop withdrawal. Al-Qaeda and other like minded groups will feel that
31 777236ER : At the same time, the Socialists should really rethink about the decision to pull their troops out. Ah, but the troops are SPAIN'S troops, not the gov
32 Zak : "Ah, but the troops are SPAIN'S troops, not the government's troops. The government is the servant of the people, and they were elected on a pledge of
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