Wednesday, March 17, 2004

TURMOIL IN SPAIN: Does a Socialist victory in Spain—and therefore a withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq—translate into a triumph for bin Laden and Islamism worldwide? Only for those who don’t distinguish between the war in Iraq and the war on terrorism. (See Tacitus: "The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, initially connected only on an arguable conceptual level, are now inseparable parts of the same campaign.") The new Spanish government in Madrid can remove its troops from Iraqi soil and at the same vigorously wage war against the perpetrators of last Thursday’s attacks. Whether that will happen is up to the Spaniards; for now, it’s too early to tell.

It would also be foolish to think that al-Qaeda strook Spain because it sides with the United States and currently has troops in Iraq. As Fareed Zakaria explains:

[R]ecent targets of Islamic militants have been Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, not one of which supported the war or sent troops into Iraq in the after-war. Al Qaeda's declaration of jihad had, as its first demand, the withdrawal of American troops from Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden does not seem to have noticed, but the troops are gone -- yet the jihad continues. The reasons come and go, the violence endures.
For continued discussion, see Aziz Poonawalla and Dan Darling.

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