Spaniards may think they won a reprieve from terrorism, but Lee Smith argues in Slate that there may be more trouble ahead.
If the Spanish electorate believed that committing 1,300 troops to Iraq had needlessly exposed it to the jihadists’ ire, it ought to reconsider the 6,000 Spanish forces stationed in Ceuta and Melilla. The Spanish, whose new prime minister is fond of the word “occupation,” say there’s nothing unusual about having so many troops in Spanish cities. But these cities are not in Spain. Already some Islamist ideologues are beginning to group Ceuta and Melilla together with Palestine and Kashmir as Muslim lands to be liberated.
Ceuta and Melilla are considered by Spain to be a part of Spain. Where they aren’t is in Europe. Those cities are in Africa. They are holdovers from Spanish colonialism and are surrounded by the Mediterranean and by Morocco.
Lee Smith doesn’t say which Islamist ideologues are demanding the cities back. But since Osama bin Laden has already demanded the southern Spanish region of Andalucia, which is in Europe, it would be strange indeed if Ceuta and Melilla never become targets.