• Spain's news in English

Spain's election dilemma over joining France in ISIS attacks

AFP · 28 Nov 2015, 09:09

Published: 28 Nov 2015 09:09 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
The attacks saw Al-Qaeda-inspired bombers blow up four packed commuter trains and kill 191 people in retaliation for then prime minister Jose Maria Aznar's decision to join the US-led Iraq invasion, precipitating his party's defeat at ensuing elections.
"The Spanish experience of the war in Iraq was disastrous and public opinion is very careful and sensitive to this type of intervention," said Nicolas Sartorius, vice-president of the Alternatives Foundation think tank.
"It's logical that when you have an experience like that of 2004 and elections within weeks you react with some prudence, and Rajoy is trying not to repeat Aznar's hugely serious mistakes."
France said Wednesday that all 27 of its EU partners had pledged to help in some way to strike at the Islamic State group that claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks, but Rajoy has so far remained evasive on the issue.
The Spanish leader, who hails from the same Popular Party as Aznar and was elected in 2011, said Thursday he had not received any official demand for help from Paris.
But he pointed out that Spain was already supporting France in its fight against extremism, particularly with 117 of its troops stationed in Mali and 57 in Senegal.
The hot-button issue has been at the forefront of debate ahead of December 20 elections, as speculation mounts that Spain is considering getting involved in the US-led coalition battling IS, as does criticism of Rajoy's silence on
the issue.
"The prime minister should seek the consensus of the majority of political forces on potential support for military intervention in Syria, not to dodge his obligations but to confront them," read a comment piece in the
centre-right El Mundo daily. "If this is a war, we have to be with France, without a doubt." 
Rajoy brought together nine smaller political parties on Thursday to agree to an "anti-terrorist pact" that he had already signed in February with the main opposition Socialists.
The pact essentially reinforces police and legal powers to fight jihadists and those who recruit them. The next step, according to Sartorius, would be to adopt a common position agreed with other political parties and submit the decision to parliament, as is now required by law before any foreign intervention.
But opposition is mounting in Spain. Leading personalities, including Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau and Pilar
Manjon, head of an association for victims of Madrid's attacks, have called for peace protests nationwide on Saturday to denounce the use of force in response to extremist attacks.
Their online manifesto has been signed by more than 28,000 people already. Jose Ignacio Torreblanca, director of the Madrid chapter of the European Council on Foreign Relations, said the situation was very different today than
Story continues below…
in 2003.
"We're not talking about invading a country without a UN resolution," he said, pointing out that the Security Council passed a resolution last week authorising countries to "take all necessary measures" against IS.
Sartorius added that the Iraq war was led by US troops "on the basis of false information... destroyed a country and was useless."  
"Now it's a so-called Islamic State that occupies parts of Syria and Iraq, and sends terrorists around the world. There is aggression and it's legitimate to defend ourselves."

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available