January 31, 2021 :

In an early morning strike, the Terminal Safe Haven facility (TSH) in Vatika, Spain, was destroyed, reducing it to a heap of rubble.

Officials from the Anti-Al-Terrorism Coalition (AATC), including allies in NATO, China and the United Nations, were swift to announce that this was a brazen attack on the sovereign nation of Spain.

The AATC, a coalition of Western nations, has assisted Spain and other European countries in its fight against the Islamic State (IS).

Although Russia has not taken part in the campaign, Russian air forces have provided air support for the anti-ISIS coalition, and on occasion, even taken part in direct attacks.

The Chinese have participated in the AATC since its founding in 2015, but the country's involvement in the attacks in Spain appear to signal a larger strategy against the anti-IS coalition.

From Russia's perspective, Beijing wants to keep NATO in its orbit, as well as eliminate any potential rival to its growing military might.

The announcement was made by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is visiting Spain to meet with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who is on an official state visit to Russia.

Putin warned in his address that Moscow will do all in its power to keep Spain from joining the Western alliance.

Russia hopes to draw Spain closer to itself to offset the effect of a potential EU entry by the British.

Earlier this week, on January 29, Moscow hosted a major defense conference, which many in the international community have speculated could lead to a peacekeeping force being established.

Nations like Britain and France, who were absent from the defense summit, have been viewed as potential candidates to take part in a future European Union peacekeeping force.

Concerns have also been expressed by the UK that participation in such a force would adversely impact the organization's ability to pursue domestic and international security.

France, for its part, would like to see the initiative be led by the EU in order to avoid upsetting key members, especially those in Eastern Europe who are opposed to a greater European military.

Spain may be ready to join forces with the EU on a peacekeeping force, but it does not want to do so in a manner that allows any potential threat to attack its security.

The IS attack in Spain came at a time when the country was at a key juncture.

Spain has announced that its defenses are adequate to counter any further assaults, and it has imposed a state of alert that calls for extra vigilance on all fronts.

The nation's president is due to visit Iraq this week in a show of support to his troops.

Following the attacks, President Rajoy thanked Russia for its response to the crisis and praised the work of Spain's own military.

He thanked the Spanish Defense Ministry and all those who work to keep Spain safe, as well as the men and women of the anti-ISIS coalition and others.