Spain has apparently decided to replace Belgium as France and Germany's friend.
Spain to Float Iraq Proposal to France, Germany
April 27 — By Estelle Shirbon
MADRID (Reuters) – Spain will discuss with anti-war allies Germany and France how to find a solution to the conflict in Iraq within the United Nations framework, a Spanish government source said Tuesday.
“The idea is to see if Spain, France and Germany can help the United States find a solution in Iraq…and devise a formula for an international presence there that would not be perceived as an occupation by most of the population,” the source said.
New Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, whose first decision on taking office was to withdraw troops sent to Iraq by his predecessor, said Tuesday the last of Spain’s soldiers will have left Iraq by May 27.
Zapatero will discuss Iraq during talks with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin Wednesday and with French President Jacques Chirac in Paris Thursday.
The Socialist leader is a strong advocate of acting within the United Nations framework.
Any joint Spanish-French-German initiative would probably unfold in the U.N. Security Council — all three are members — though the source said the form it might take had not been decided.
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos has mentioned the possibility of sending Arab forces into Iraq, and of a future international presence that would not include soldiers from countries which have been a part of the U.S.-led coalition.
Under Zapatero’s predecessor, Jose Maria Aznar, Spain was a staunch supporter of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq last year and sent forces there after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
France and Germany were the leading opponents of military intervention in Iraq and neither joined the coalition.
Zapatero was elected on March 14, three days after the train bombings that killed 191 people in Madrid. During the election campaign, he had pledged to withdraw troops from Iraq unless the United Nations took political and military control of the country by June 30.
The money line? “Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos has mentioned the possibility of sending Arab forces into Iraq, and of a future international presence that would not include soldiers from countries which have been a part of the U.S.-led coalition.”
Yeah, let’s toss out all of those awful countries who are actually there now on the ground and working to bring Iraq into the democratic family of nations. In return, let’s turn it over to those countries who are most anxious to maintain the status quo in the Middle East. You know, the status quo that led to both 9/11 and 3/11. What a wonderful idea.
Of course, this whole story implies that these three states will actually be able to do squat about the situation in Iraq. If memory serves, France, Belgium, Germany and Luxemborg vowed to form their own military organization separate from NATO due to their disagreeing with the rest of Europe’s support for the United States in the run-up to war in Iraq. Yeah, that didn’t really go anywhere either.
Moment of Zen