British Prime Minister Tony Blair told parliament Wednesday it is naive to think that withdrawing from Iraq would diminish the threat of terrorism from Islamic militants.
In an apparent reference to Spain, Mr. Blair told the parliament that giving up in Iraq would not make Britain safe from terrorism. Mr. Blair cited the indiscriminate terror attacks over the past couple of years in places like Kenya, Indonesia and Morocco.
He said the real target of the terrorists is Western democracy. "The idea that, if we were to give in over the issue of Iraq, that that would be the end of the matter, so far as they are concerned, is completely and hopelessly naďve. The fact is, these people will continue. It is a war. It is a war on our way of life. It is a war on our democracy. It is a war on our freedom, and that is why we must re-double our efforts and defeat it, and the best way to do that is for the whole of the international community to stand firm on it," he said.
Spain's prime minister-elect, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, promised to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq by the end of June, unless peacekeeping operations there are taken over by the United Nations. The Spanish Socialist also lashed out against the United States and Britain, and said the war in Iraq was based on lies.
Mr. Blair said Islamic terrorists, who are now the prime suspects behind last week's bombings in Madrid, cannot be appeased. "There is no way of appeasing these people. They have no cause that any negotiations can take place upon. They have made it absolutely clear, as they did in the chilling statement they put out a few days ago, where they said, 'you love life, we love death.' Unfortunately, that is the nature of the people we are dealing with, and that is why we have to defeat them," he said.
London's police chief warned Monday that a terrorist attack on the British capital is inevitable. He urged Londoners to remain vigilant. Some analysts say, because of Britain's prominent role in the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, the country faces a greater risk of a terrorist attack.