Some of those opposed to the military ouster of Saddam Hussein’s regime, such as libertarian isolationists like Jim Henley, for instance, have repeatedly maintained that there was little or no regular and operational contact between the unlamented dictator and operatives of al-Qaeda and other radical islamist forces. The lack of a clear link remains a central plank of opposition to George W. Bush’s doctrine of going after regimes which sponsor terror. At most, such critics contend that the Iraq links were no more than low-level and no justification for military action. Of course, much of the evidence for a link prior to 9/11 was circumstantial at best.
Well, if it were the case that no link existed, why did the statement purporting to be from al-Qaeda after the Madrid atrocities make such a big deal of Spain’s involvement in the Iraq liberation, when, according to the naysayers, Iraq had nothing to do with al-Qaeda? In fact, the Islamo-fascists seem more convinced of a common cause with the fate of Saddam and his regime than antiwar types seem to do. Curious.
Of course, it may be that the islamists are opportunists, perceiving that anything that can sow discord between European nations and between Europe and the US is a good thing. It may also be the case that the islamists believe that any incursion by western, secular forces into a region they deem off-limits is a dishonour to them, and hence justification for retaliation. They obviously do not extend their islamic embrace to Shiite muslims, whom they have massacred in the hundreds.
Even so, the very fact that the Iraq and Afghan operations were mentioned as ‘justifications’ for the Madrid massacres ought to give pause to those who claim that those countries’ regimes had had no direct connection to islamist forces. Ousting the Taliban and Saddam Hussein were two major blows against fundamentalist terror. The terrorists know this better than anyone, which is why the message coming out of Spanish politics today is so troubling.