Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is promising up to 200 more troops to join the 1,260 servicemen and women already posted to Afghanistan. In what has become a permanent ‘surge’ they are mostly based in the provinces of Badghis and Herat.

Speaking in Onda Cero Spain’s Prime Minister said: “We will send more troops if necessary and it probably will be necessary.” He added that the actual numbers would be based on the recommendations of experts and military intelligence.

Opponents to further deployment are cynical as to the government’s stated purpose in posting Spanish service personnel to the war torn enigmatic country. They say it has defied two millennia of would be conquerors.

One quotes American oil company oligarch Dick Cheney who in 1998 said: “I cannot think of a time when we have had a region emerge as suddenly to become strategically important as the Caspian: But the oil and gas is worthless until it is moved. The only route which makes sense is through Afghanistan.” Shortly afterwards Dick Cheney became Vice-President of the U.S.

Although generally judged to be an also ran in terms of military adventurism a study by Pitirim Sorokin, Social and Cultural Dynamics, revealed that between the 12th Century and 1925 Spain spent more years at war (67%) than any other European country. By comparison England came third at 56%.

A Study of War compiled by Prof. Quincy Wright shows that from the period 1480 to 1940 there were 278 wars involving European countries. Spain came third in a list headed by England and France.

It seems a belligerent Spain, keen to project itself as a world player, is as deep rooted as ever. Nearly 90 Spanish servicemen have died in Afghanistan since 2002.