Al-Arab Blog - مدونة العرب
Vast majority of Portuguese want troops in Iraq withdrawn : in order to have HUDNA with Al-Qaeda
LISBON (AFP) Mar 29, 2004
Nearly three in four residents of Portugal, or 71 percent, want the country's 128-strong contingent of national guards in Iraq to be withdrawn from the war-ravaged country, a poll published Monday found."
Only one in four backed the continuation of the mission while the remaining three percent had no opinion, according to the poll carried out for top-selling daily newspaper Correio da Manha.
While opposition to the presence of the national guards in Iraq was stronger among supporters of left-wing parties, the poll found a slim majority of backers of the ruling centre-right Social Democrats also want the troops to come home.
Portugal dispatched the national guard contingent to Iraq in November, immediately after a suicide bomb attack on the Italian base at Nasiriyah, in the south of the country.
Nineteen Italians and nine Iraqis were killed in that attack.
The Portuguese national guards are part of a multinational force which is providing security in southern Iraq under British command.
The Portuguese government has come under pressure from left-wing parties to recall the guards since Spain's incoming prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero vowed earlier this month to stand by his pre-election pledge to withdraw Spain's troops from Iraq if the UN does not take charge by the end of June.
Zapatero's Socialist party won an upset victory in elections held March 14, three days after the Madrid train bombings revived opposition to the conservative Popular Party of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's decision to commit Spain to the war.
But Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Manuel Durao Barroso has rejected the calls to bring the troops home, arguing he does not set policy based on election results in other countries.
Last week he announced Portugal would be willing to keep its national guards in Iraq after Washington hands over sovereignty of the country to Iraqis on June 30 if asked to do so by Iraqi authorities.
The telephone poll of 600 was carried out by the Aximage polling firm between March 15 and 17.
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Anti War - Anti Racism
Let the downFall of Sharon be end to Zionism
By the Late, great political cartoonist Mahmoud Kahil