Indignation of Spaniards with the tricks played on them contributed to the outcome of the Spanish elections.
Prime Minister of Spain Jose Maria Asnar insisted on Basque version of the blast in Madrid, despite the proofs of attacks by Arab extremists. The tape with the voice of Morocco resident proved the Arabic version.
Newly elected Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero was quick to report on withdrawal of 1,300 Spanish troops from Iraq. The comment “Spaniards got scared and quit” is too simple to give explanations to the move of the new Spanish authorities.
One can interpret Zapatero’s decision as a shameful retreat only if consider the current events as the conflict of good and evil. The belligerents – US and Islamic radicals – see their conflict under this angle. Each of them considers itself as the warrior of Lord, and the opponent as evil. However, Europeans have a different outlook. They are familiar with ETA, IRS, Corsican mafia and Red Brigades and therefore do not consider terrorism as only actions of Moslems. For Europeans terrorism can result from any national or religious conflict, and they have no illusions of eradicating terrorist threat in its epicenter. This outlook considers the war in Iraq not the frontline of the battle against terrorism, but as the conflict of Americans with their old enemies.
Iraqi war corresponded with the national interests of the USA in terms of economy, sources of energy, strategic and military goals. But Spain has no interests in the region. The only reason for Spain to join the US-led coalition was seeking for power in the EU. However, former Prime Minister Asnar failed to achieve this by deploying 1,300 Spanish soldiers in Iraq.
One should realize that Spaniards had the right to stay at home. This would not be cowardice, just following national interests. Today they cannot stay neutral. Prime Minister Zapatero tried to correct the mistake when it is too late and dangerous. A year ago Iraq hardly related to international terrorism, but today Iraq turned into one of the centers for terrorist activity. Spain has already fighting this war, and in this way extended the list of the states which cannot afford to protect their national security at home. Spain could withdraw its troops before the terrorist attack, but today the terrorist leaders will not be stopped by Zapatero actions. They will gain political benefits and will double their efforts resulting in new victims in Moscow, Washington, Istanbul and … Madrid.
And Spanish authorities seem to start realizing this. According to the latest information, Spanish prime minister is discussing the issue of increasing the number of Spanish troops in Afghanistan.