Spanish troops to go to Haití and Afghanistan

Yesterday following a heated debates (as usual), the Spanish parliament voted by 307 votes to 3 (Haiti) and 302 votes to 10 (Afghanistan) to support the Government’s decision to send more troops to Afghanistan and to contribute to the UN plan for stability in Haiti by sending troops there too – the Spanish Government’s wish to participate in the Haiti mission was hinted at over a month ago.

The Spanish president took advantage of the debate yesterday to announce his intention to change Spanish law, making it absolutely necessary for governments to seek the approvement of Congress before making the decision to participate in military and peace missions abroad. One of the reasons ex-president Aznar was criticised by so many sectors of Spanish society for his decision to involve Spain in the US-led invasion of Iraq was because he failed to seek the support of Parliament beforehand.

Unlike Tony Blair, for example, who literally had to sweat it out for a whole day in the House of Commons to get parliament’s approval to participate in the military operation, Aznar simply “informed” Spanish congress of his decision.

According to El Mundo today, democratic Spain has participated in 40 international missions, and Irak was the only one carried out without seeking Congress consent beforehand. Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wants to prevent this from happening again by changing leglislation. All parties, except the PP, supported this motion yesterday, and the new law is expected to be passed in the coming weeks.