Al Qaeda and Spain

Thomas Friedman:

"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.


"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.


"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."


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