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Saturday, March 13, 2004
But, I Thought There Was No Connection Between Iraq and Islamic Terror

By Steven Taylor @ 3:53 pm

A piece on the Madrid bombins in the NYT concludes with:

If those responsible are Islamic militants, it is expected that Mr. Aznar will be blamed for supporting the war in Iraq, which 90 percent of the people here opposed, and putting Spain in the cross hairs of terrorist attacks.

This is, of course, referring to the perceptions and reactions of the voters in Spain. However, this sentence, and some other mentions I have encountered, do bring us to a question: if the bombings in Spain are linked to both al Qaeda and Spanish participation in Iraq, it would seem that that would bolster President Bush’s argument that Iraq is part of the war on terror.

After all, it has been argued that bin Laden and al Qaeda hated Saddam almost as much as they hate the West, given that Saddam was a secular ruler. However, if al Qaeda would lash out at an ally of the US becauase of cooperation over Iraq, it damages the theory that Saddam and al Qaeda could never find common cause.

Filed under: Iraq
  • The Galvin Opinion linked with FROM SPAIN: EL MUNDO SAYS ARRESTS BEEN MADE

Click here to go to the main page.


  1. In addition to radical reform, if not overthrow, of the Saudi government and pro-Palestinian sentiment, one of the main causes supported by Bin Laden has been to lift the sanctions that were killing the people of Iraq. That doesn’t make Saddam and Bin Laden allies, but it means that people in the Arab world care about each other … especially when united by hate of America and imperialism.

    But as far as the people of Spain suddenly embracing the War on Terror: Good Luck. Unlike Americans, many in Europe see the War on Terror, like the War on Iraq, as part of the problem that makes people hate the west so much. Don’t expect support for America’s jihad to increase, even as European body counts rise.

    Comment by Stephen — Saturday, March 13, 2004 @ 6:00 pm

  2. Yes, but the argument, that I never bought, was that al Qaeda/bin Laden really hated Saddam almost as much as the West, so why get upset that Spain helped the US oust him? I am not saying that it proves an alliance, just that it does some damage to an argument that has been put forth by those who thought that the suggestion that Iraq and al Qaeda would ever, in any way, work together, was ludicrious.

    And I agree, that the Spanish people may well seek a more isolationist stance after this.

    Comment by Steven — Saturday, March 13, 2004 @ 8:15 pm

  3. The reason to get upset is the same reason to get upset with American troops on Saudi soil: it’s the expansion of the west’s influence over the region.

    The question is still whether or not the President’s larger claims hold up, not whether the power vacuum in Iraq allows for al-Qaeda to move in, and not whether al-Qaeda uses Iraq as a recruiting tool. I took the administration’s claims to include the need to destroy rogue regimes and the need to move into Iraq in order to put military pressure on Syria and Iran in order to scare them into cracking down on islamic militants and allowing democratic reforms.

    Comment by Brett — Sunday, March 14, 2004 @ 10:47 am

  4. Brett,

    I concur with the latter point, and agree that the Iraq war is far more than a single issue of links to terrorism or WMDs, but rather is part of a far broader strategy. I am just noting that the some of the anti-war arguments are damaged by al Qaeda’s clear interest in Iraq.

    Comment by Steven — Sunday, March 14, 2004 @ 2:01 pm

  5. One of Osama Bin Laden’s demands is for the U.S. to get out of Saudi Arabia (as Mecca is considered the most holy city in the muslim world where non-muslims should not be allowed). If we went to war against Saudia Arabia, or Oman, or Yeman, or the United Arab Emerate and Spain participated, Al Qaeda would do the same thing.
    One of the main grips that Al Quada has with the west is we support the dictators of thier governments both politically and militarily. For example, if you live in Saudi Arabia and you speak out against the royal family you can be brutilized and killed. The U.S does nothing to speak out against these actions. To add fuel to the fire, the gun that might be used to kill you (if your lucky enough to be shot) is likely from the U.S.A.

    Al Quada would rather have uprising against their own leaders rather than have the US. take over the country. Therefore, Al Quada protesting us/spain being in Iraq does not prove any there was ever a connection between Osama and Saddam. It just means that Al Quada would rather have the US/West out of all middle eastern affairs.

    Essentially, if Al Quada is interested all defending and encouraging uprisings in all the Arab world, then any country the west attacks is “related to the terrorist.”

    Comment by Rebecca — Wednesday, September 1, 2004 @ 11:11 pm

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