Monday, March 19, 2007

SPANISH LESSONS IN APPEASEMENT: Interesting piece by Aaron Hanscom on the latest threats by al-Qaeda, Iraq withdrawal notwithstanding.

In response to the latest Islamist threat against Spain, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español - PSOE) thought it appropriate to assure Spaniards that "Afghanistan is not Iraq." PSOE officials told news agencies that while the war in Iraq was "illegal," the mission in Afghanistan is being supported by the UN and includes 37 countries. It turns out Islamic terrorists don't care all that much about the distinction.

In a video issued this month by the Global Islamic Media Front, a hooded man warns that the presence of Spanish troops in Afghanistan "exposes Spain again to threats." The terrorist also delivers a message to all those Spaniards who flocked to the polls to elect the Socialists after the March 11 Madrid bombings: "The Spanish people have been tricked by a Socialist government which withdrew troops from Iraq and sent 600 to Afghanistan." So much for Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero's assurances that the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq would make the country safer.

The video was shown on "Voice of the Caliphate," a weekly video magazine launched by Al Qaeda in 2005. Titled "Messages for the Governments of Germany and Austria," it advises those two countries to withdraw their troops from Afghanistan and to cease helping the United States and the UN. The references to Spain's presence in Afghanistan are not new. Terrorism expert Javier Jordán notes that the March 11 cell referred to Afghanistan in their communiqués. In fact, the terrorists' very last message called for the end of the supposed "truce" earned after Spain's withdrawal from Iraq. Spain's continued military commitment to Afghanistan was reason enough to continue the jihad in Spain.

In fact, the danger facing Spain is greater today than it was on March 11, 2003. Fernando Reinares, former terrorism advisor to the Interior Ministry and senior analyst at the Elcano Royal Institute, told the Los Angeles Times, "It is undoubtedly true that Spain is much more of a target today than before." One reason for the increased threat level is that Al Qaeda's No. 2, Ayman Zawahiri, has been calling for the reconquest of Spain about as much as Hamas leaders call for the destruction of Israel. Last month he exhorted Islamists in the Maghreb -- the northwestern part of Africa where 80 % of the 300 terrorist suspects arrested in Spain since March 11 come from -- "to once again feel the soil of Al Ándalus beneath your feet." Previously Zawahiri had called for liberating Muslim land "from Iraq to Al Ándalus."