By Jason Moore
JUST what is going on in the Spanish military? Or perhaps better still, what is the Minister of Defence doing? Last week a top Spanish general entered the political fray by saying that the army may have to act if Cataluña receives greater autonomy and one nation status and now it has been revealed that a Spanish frigate is operating with a U.S. Navy task force in the Persian gulf. Aircraft from the carrier group have been involved in missions over Iraq. When Prime Minister Zapatero came to power he very publicly withdrew Spanish troops from Iraq, claiming that the Iraq war was illegal and that President Bush and Blair had acted against international law. Just 18 months later and the Spanish Navy is back supporting U.S. forces in Iraq. The opposition Partido Popular, have said that this incident is the biggest “fraud in recent Spanish history” and is calling on Defence Minister Jose Bono to give a full account. The fact that a Spanish Navy frigate forms part of the Task Force is nothing new, all the warships in the group including the Spanish frigate and U.S. aircraft carrier visited Palma before they headed for the Gulf. Both incidents are extremely embarrassing for the Spanish government and also very serious. The military has entered the fray on two very delicate topics, which are close to the Spanish government's heart, the war in Iraq and the Cataluña push for greater power. Not good.

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