Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

Slap in the face for the EU over colonial expansion in Ukraine

April 7, 2016

My own perception is that it was the EU’s adventurism (and a colonial style expansionism) which was a major factor in the Ukraine crisis. It was the EU (supported by the US and NATO) which quite irresponsibly built up the opposition groups in Ukraine (with money and arms and promises of the good life). It is this colonial expansionism which is the ugliest part of the EU’s dreams of a new Holy European Empire, and which is fuelled mainly by sections of the French, the Germans and the Brussels bureaucracy. The EU has degenerated into  a theocracy.

EU colonial expansion (wikimedia)

EU colonial expansion (wikimedia)

But the overwhelming Dutch rejection (61:38) of the EU’s “deal” for the Ukraine is more than just a rejection of just that particular deal. It is yet another manifestation of the unpopularity of the whole Brussels experiment. It is not wrong to paint Brussels with the “Holy” epithet. For all the parasitical politicians of the European parliament and the self-serving bureaucrats of the European Commission, the expansion of the EU and an imposed political union is nothing less than a religion. Their complete shambles in handling the “refugee” invasion has also demonstrated the shallowness and self-serving nature of “European values” as touted by the high priests of the EU.

BBC: 

With 99.8% of the votes counted, 61.1% had said “No”, with 38% supporting a deal, media reports said. Turnout is projected at 32%, above the 30% threshold of voters needed to be valid but within a 3% margin of error.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said his government may have to reconsider the treaty if the vote is valid. The Dutch parliament has already ratified the EU agreement and the result of the vote is not binding. “We will have to wait and see but it is clear that the ‘No’ voters won convincingly. The question is whether or not the required turnout will be met.” Mr Rutte said in a televised reaction.

It is almost shameful that 27 EU countries merely rubber stamped the Ukrainian deal and that it is only the Dutch who put it to the question. The “deal” is not just a free trade agreement but a shameless, blatant step in a colonial expansion. It is a stepping stone for bringing Ukraine into the EU. The Dutch vote shows how out of step the EU is with the bulk of the population. One of the key tactics used by the proponents of the Holy European Empire is to govern by fiat, by decrees and diktats from Brussels and by avoiding any votes.

The Brexit vote is another rare example of of the EU theocracy being challenged. The Dutch vote will give support to the BREXIT campaign.

It is time, not to get rid of the EU, but to put a stop to the fantasy of the Holy European Empire and to return the EU to the trade and economic and labour cooperation it was meant to – and should certainly – be. The whole idea of political union is actually destructive of the rich diversity that has built Europe. Cloning nations by imposition of a false uniformity borders on stupidity. It is time to remove the unnecessary, unproductive and undemocratic layers of parasites that have built up in Brussels and made a religion of themselves.


 

How is Europe going to stop ISIS in Libya?

March 28, 2016

ISIS is shifting to Libya (which is in chaos thanks to the European-led fiasco there), and another 800,000+ refugees can be expected to swamp Italy. And “Europe”, in the shape of the EU, is both unprepared and has no strategy to face that challenge when (not if) it comes.

The Russian intervention has succeeded not only in stopping ISIS advances but turning it into a clear retreat. The Russians have apparently a more determined – and more competent and effective – Syrian army on the ground than the US has with the Iraqi army.

Iraq Syria map

The next target for the Syrian army and Russia after retaking Palmyra could be Raqqa or possibly Deir al-Zour. The Iraqis and the US are making, comparatively, slow progress in retaking Mosul. But at least ISIS is not expanding territory in Iraq.

Once ISIS loses control of Raqqa and Mosul, its remaining territory in Syria and Iraq will be less than the critical mass it needs to sustain operations. Its oil earnings would also dwindle without the physical control of territory.

Just as the US support of opposition groups crippled Assad and allowed a vacuum for ISIS to fill, the European-led fiasco in Libya has only produced chaos with no clear group in authority. This has been exploited by ISIS. For some time now, ISIS has been preparing for shifting from its HQ in Raqqa and has been establishing a new HQ in Sirte (Surt) in Libya. ISIS has already established its version of Sharia rule in the area by carrying out executions and floggings in the town and in the surrounding areas all the way to Ajdabiya. Controlling the Gulf of Sirte would allow the development of new source of oil revenues to make up for the loss of revenues in Iraq and Syria.

Libya map

The US, Europe  and NATO are not doing much at this point in Libya to prevent ISIS from coming in. (There are reports of some special forces and snipers from the US and the UK operating in Libya but there is certainly no concerted effort to stop ISIS). The Russians do not have the same interest to intervene and so Libya is left wide open to ISIS by a bungling Europe. With the current chaos in Libya and the pressure it is facing in Iraq and Syria, I would not be surprised to see ISIS suddenly abandon Syria and expand in Libya. I suspect that the trigger could be the loss of Raqqa.

There are also reports that Boko Haram (which has allied itself with ISIS) is facing pressure from the Nigerian army and is also planning a shift northwards to Libya.

As ISIS expands territory in Libya (and perhaps also Boko Haram), a new wave of refugees into Europe can be expected. The French Defence Minister has estimated that this number could be another 800,000 people. There could be more if Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians and Somalis also start using the route through Libya to Italy. Italy could be swamped this autumn just as Greece has been in the last 6 months.

The Russians have no great objections to additional pressure on Europe. In any case, they would be disinclined to intervene in Libya. The US will not intervene (even though they backed the ill-conceived European adventure to remove Gaddafi). There is no European planning – let alone any strategy – for this scenario. I see no European initiative which can be as decisive in Libya as the Russians have been in Syria.

How is Europe going to stop ISIS in Libya?


 

ISIS brings guerrilla warfare to Europe

March 23, 2016

There are thought to be some 5 -10,000 Islamic terrorists spread out among the cities of Europe – hiding in plain sight. About 1,500 of them have returned from committing atrocities in Syria in recent times. Perhaps another 2,000 are among the “refugees” waiting to be granted asylum somewhere in Europe. They are the members or sympathisers of ISIS who are future potential, terrorist, guerrillas.

Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare in which a small group of combatants such as paramilitary personnel, armed civilians, or irregulars use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, petty warfare, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military. – Wikipedia

It is difficult, after Paris and Brussels, not to conclude that an urban, guerrilla war is now ongoing across the capitals of Europe. One hallmark of guerrillas is mobility. There is little doubt that the Schengen rules are being exploited and the rules will have to be modified if not suspended or abandoned.

The objective is no longer just terror. The war has ideological objectives. It is to alienate muslims in Europe from the values that are taken for granted in Europe (democratic processes, “human” rights, justice, women’s rights ….) and to prevent the integration of muslims into European society. To create muslim ghettos and their own “territory” would be ideal.

The path being followed goes from first isolated acts of instilling terror, then through guerrilla war to internal resistance to insurgency to civil war and eventually to a Europe as part of a Caliphate.

As the Daily Beast writes, ISIS

 is following a playbook written more than a decade ago: The Call for an International Islamic Resistance by Abu Musab al Suri, a Syrian jihadi.

Suri knew Europe well. He had lived for a while in Britain, in the community of Arab and Muslim exiles there. His core idea was that Muslims in the West, though increasingly numerous, felt themselves isolated and under pressure, and this could be exploited to create a breakdown of society, develop insurgency, and launch a civil war where the forces of Islam eventually would be victorious. 

Acts of terror, dubbed “resistance,” would heighten the already existing “Islamophobia,” and “exacerbate the contradictions,” as communist revolutionaries used to say, until hatred and suspicion ran high and integration became impossible.

Since the Nov. 13 atrocities, that process has been taking shape, with increased resentment and fear linked to the coincidental mass influx of refugees from the Middle East.

The only way forward is for Europe to accelerate the integration of newcomers and immigrants into the societies they live in. Muslim ghettos applying Sharia law must be resisted at all costs. Integration requires

  • a mandatory language requirement
  • a requirement for compliance with “behavioural and dress norms” (difficult but can be done)
  • a suspension of minimum wages and “employment rights” which prevent small employers from taking on the liabilities of immigrant workers,
  • a recreation of the jobs at the lower end of the employment spectrum which Europe has eliminated
  • encouragement of self-employed craftsmen and handymen who have disappeared from the European workplace
  • a recreation of “cottage industries” with a lower cost structure (restrictive European laws and EU regulations)
  • …….

The multiculturalists effectively encourage ghettos. On the employment front, the traditional trade unions are a hindrance rather than a help to integration. The politicians who find excuses and justifications for terrorist activities are the achilles heel of Europe.

ISIS cannot survive within Europe if all their potential supporters are actually integrated within the societies they live in.


 

Trump and Brexit are both manifestations of a “class revolution”

February 27, 2016

Glen Reynolds makes the case of anti-establishment, anti-elite revolution being the driver behind both the Trump wave in the US and the surge for BREXIT in the UK. He has a point.

In America, Donald Trump — who many of the experts thought had no chance — is dominating the polls. In Britain, meanwhile, much of the public seems to be mobilizing in favor of exiting the troubled European Union — a British Exit, or Brexit.

Writing in The Spectator, Brendan O’Neill puts this down to a class revolt on both sides of the Atlantic. And he’s right as far as he goes, but I think there’s more than just a class revolt. I think there’s also a developing preference cascade. O’Neill writes: “In both Middle America and Middle England, among both rednecks and chavs, voters who have had more than they can stomach of being patronised, nudged, nagged and basically treated as diseased bodies to be corrected rather than lively minds to be engaged are now putting their hope into a different kind of politics. And the entitled Third Way brigade, schooled to rule, believing themselves possessed of a technocratic expertise that trumps the little people’s vulgar political convictions, are not happy. Not one bit.”

Well, that’s certainly true. Both America and Britain have developed a ruling class that is increasingly insular and removed from — and contemptuous of — the people it deigns to rule. The ruled are now returning the contempt.

I think this is certainly partially correct. Every attack on Trump has contained a large degree of intellectual contempt, and every such attack has only increased his support. Now we may be seeing signs that the establishment is going to have to get off their superior backsides and treat with the contemptible. Similarly Cameron is being reduced to telling the UK electorate that he knows best what is best for them. He is treating the BREXIT supporters also with a contempt which is now back-firing. I expect that he, too, will have to come of his high horse. It does not help him that the bottom line is the EU will make their real concessions only after the UK votes – if they do – for a BREXIT. So far they have tried to fob him off with cosmetic changes.

This trend is visible across other parts of Europe as well and it has been brought to a head by the refugee/immigration issue. It has become the habit for the establishment, ruling elite to be contemptuous of the far right and in many cases, of avoiding debate with them. Just talking to the disaffected right has been seen as being beneath their interest. That disaffection has now spread to the middle ground and I expect that every election in Europe in the near future will be dominated by an anti-establishment wave.

Political correctness is taken as the child of the establishment elite and has therefore become the target of this new class revolution.


 

Germany joins Switzerland and Denmark in seizing refugees’ wealth to pay for their stay

January 21, 2016

Denmark and Switzerland are already going down this path and now southern German states have also started confiscating the wealth of those refugees applying for asylum to finance their stays in the country. It is difficult to argue against the concept of those with wealth paying for their upkeep. The principle that is being applied is said to be that personal wealth must be exhausted first before state aid becomes available. And I cannot see anything wrong with that principle.

In Denmark, valuable (but not personal) items with a value of above about $150 would be subject to seizure, as would sums of currencies above about $1500. In Switzerland it is planned that assets over about $1,000 would be subject to search and seizure. The threshold above which confiscation applies might seem low at first,  but it seems that receipts are being issued, and any wealth over and above what is needed for their upkeep will be returned to them. It is not quite the callous and heartless robbery of poverty stricken refugees as is being portrayed by some of the media.

The southern German state of Bavaria is following the Swiss example and plans to set the threshold for seizure at about €750 for those who have “dues outstanding”.

The Local(de)Germany’s southern states are confiscating cash and valuables from refugees after they arrive, authorities in Bavaria confirmed on Thursday.

“Cash holdings and valuables can be secured [by the authorities] if they are over €750 and if the person has an outstanding bill, or is expected to have one.” Authorities in Baden-Württemberg have a tougher regime, where police confiscate cash and valuables above €350.

The average amount per person confiscated by authorities in the southern states was “in the four figures,” Bild reported.

By confiscating valuables, the states are implementing federal laws, which require asylum seekers to use up their own resources before receiving state aid. “If you apply for asylum here, you must use up your income and wealth before receiving aid,” Aydan Özoguz, the federal government’s integration commissioner, told Bild.

“That includes, for example, family jewellery. Even if some prejudices persist – you don’t have it any better as an asylum seeker as someone on unemployment benefit,” Özoguz added.

In Germany even the Green party had no real objection to advance to this approach. The Left party had no arguments of any substance to put forward, but they objected anyway.

….. But there were few critics of the practice inside Germany.

Opposition Green party MP Volker Beck told Der Tagesspiegel that it was right for asylum applicants to pay for services to the extent they could. “Of course asylum seekers aren’t in a better position than those on unemployment benefits,” Beck said. “Asylum seekers must repay the costs of accommodation and care to the state.”

Only the Left party (Die Linke) criticized the confiscations, with MP Ulla Jelpke telling Der Tagesspiegel that “those who apply for asylum are exercising their basic rights [under the German Constititution].

“That must not – even if they are rejected – be tied up with costs,” she argued.

I cannot see that forcing those with wealth to pay for their own upkeep is any infringement of supposed Human Rights.

Mass sexual harassment in Germany – not race but surely due to culture or religion or both?

January 7, 2016

Keeping silent about differences due to culture or religion does not help. Pretending that the differences don’t exist won’t make them go away.

I don’t think Cologne  was an issue of race (ethnicity) but it certainly was not just due to “bad boys being bad”. Poverty and unemployment cannot be used as an excuse. The root cause was either culture or religion or – more likely – both.  I suspect it is both because the religion is Islam and here culture and religion are as intertwined as they are. Many of the religious leaders of Islam still have a world view of women and their place in it, which is a few hundred years out of date. In Germany it was thousands of young males of North African and Middle East origin behaving obnoxiously – but in a coordinated manner – across many cities. I am pretty sure that an overwhelming majority would have been Muslim. Yet the authorities kept silent until they had no choice but to respond to the anger and indignation on social media.

The Local (de)Germany’s authorities and media have been tiptoeing around the issue of sexual violence committed by immigrants and refugees for too long – giving the far right ammunition in their battle against the mainstream, argues Jörg Luyken.

The shocking sexual assaults that happened in Cologne during the New Year festivities – in which dozens of women were sexually abused and in one case raped by groups of young men – have an obvious parallel in events which took place in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during mass protests of the Arab Spring. …..

While there are differences between Tahrir Square and Cologne Cathedral – the Cologne attacks appear partly to have been diversions to enable theft – that men apparently of north African descent entered large crowds to sexually assault and even rape women – should set alarm bells ringing.

But no sober analysis of the influx of millions of people from the Middle East – the majority of whom are young men –  could fail to realize that certain behaviours prevalent there would be repeated here. ……

In the last few months, it has seemed that the authorities and the national media would rather sacrifice transparency for the sake of stability.

It was days before police gave full descriptions of the offenders in Cologne, despite a call for eyewitnesses. The national media also ignored the story until a wave of anger on social media made covering it unavoidable. …..

But there is a growing body of anecdotal evidence of sexual crimes committed by new arrivals bubbling up from Germany’s regional media.

In November a club in Bavaria started turning refugees away after a string of complaints of sexual harassment from female clients.

In Baden-Württemberg at least one hospital has hired guards to protect nurses who feel intimidated by the refugees they treat.

The Woman’s Council in Hesse claimed in an open letter to the state parliament in September that they have substantial evidence of sexual abuse, including forced prostitution, in refugee shelters.

In August a regional paper in North Rhine-Westphalia also reported police covering up a serious sexual crime. After hearing about the rape of a 13-year-old girl by a refugee, the paper enquired with police as to what crimes they knew of in the refugee shelters.

There are plenty of anecdotes about similar occurrences in Norway and Sweden. But authorities and media in Scandinavia are also in denial, and just as reluctant to openly confront the reality that Muslim youth (mainly newcomers) are more likely to sexually harass and commit sexual crimes. The reluctance is partly to protect the dead doctrine of multiculturalism, and partly out of the fear of being politically incorrect by seeming to refer disparagingly about race or religion or cultural differences.

It is the same toxic mix of religion and culture which can also be seen in the UK. It shows up in the grooming of young vulnerable girls, in”honour killings” and the treatment of women (especially vulnerable women) as “objects”, which are all not uncommon, even today, in many – supposedly devout – Muslim societies. In the UK it is more often Muslims of Asian rather than Middle East origin. But it is a similar behaviour as exhibited by the spoilt young oil-brats (male of course) who prey on women outside their own countries. Of course the treatment of women as objects happens with other religions and cults as well but usually only in fairly backward societies. For example it still happens in some parts of rural India where casteist racism, mixes with culture and Hinduism to create a most poisonous mix. (Casteism in India can be more virulently racist than any white supremacist movement). It happens even with the polygamous cults – ostensibly Christian – when they pop up from time to time. The common factor is a religion which views women as objects under the authority of a man, and a culture built on that foundation. But it is particularly Muslim cultures which seem to permit and legitimise violence by men against women.

It is my thesis that Europe has to have multiethnic, single culture societies, though the resulting culture prevailing will be dynamic and will change as newcomers are absorbed. Demographics require the influx of new ethnicities into Europe, but it is a fatally flawed concept to imagine that a society without a single overriding culture can avoid being a fractured and splintered society. Playing down the differences due to culture and religion contributes nothing to the creation of new viable societies.

What cannot (or will not) be seen, cannot be addressed.

The future of Europe is multiethnic but not multicultural

December 15, 2015

I have for long held the position that a society needs a single overriding culture to be a society. All cultures are dynamic and change as times change and as new groups may be assimilated into it. The new culture inevitably contains elements of what new communities bring to the table and the original culture of that community – in some adjusted form – can continue as a sub-culture, but subordinate to the overriding culture. What is not tenable is the idea that a single society can remain a single society when it is splintered into a collection of many parallel cultures (and which are not subordinate to an overriding culture). It has been the misguided, do-gooding, politically correct approach of the “liberal left” in Europe which has actively encouraged new communities to maintain the cultures of where they came from and remain separate to the existing, prevailing culture. There has been little emphasis on getting new communities to assimilate and a far greater emphasis on separateness. This approach has also given rise to the fear of demanding assimilation from new communities. That has in turn led – and not very surprisingly – to the immigrant ghettos, the no-go areas and large parts of the new population who cannot even speak the local language (into the 3rd generation in some cases).

The downplaying of integration is what now gives the reality of 85 Sharia courts active in the UK or the no-go areas in Malmö or Preston or the separate, parallel societies in Molenbeek and La Goutte d’Or. It is the false god of multiculturalism which has allowed schools in Birmingham to be subverted or the predatory, medieval, sexual mores of the NW Frontier to be transplanted to Rotherham.

It is language which is the primary vehicle of a culture. But while every culture has a primary language, a language may be the vehicle for many cultures. Religion is probably the next most important “carrier” of a culture. The misguided and unsustainable “multicultural” approach has pervaded many European countries, such that even jobs requiring interaction with the public or even gaining citizenship have not required any language proficiency. However the importance of assimilation is finally gaining ground.

Angela Merkel has said this before but is now becoming much more explicit in her criticism of multiculturalism and much more vocal in emphasising the importance of integration.

The Guardian:

Merkel still sought to address lingering concerns over the long-term consequences of the refugee crisis.

“Those who seek refuge with us also have to respect our laws and traditions, and learn to speak German,” she said. “Multiculturalism leads to parallel societies, and therefore multiculturalism remains a grand delusion.”

Her comments echoed a similar statement from 2010, when Merkel said multiculturalism had “utterly failed”.

I would have thought it obvious that learning of the local language within some reasonable time be mandatory for a residence permit for any immigrant or asylum seeker. Multiculturalism is not just a “failed concept” as David Cameron has said or a “grand delusion” as Angela Merkel now calls it, it is a false premise. A single society – fundamentally – must have an overriding culture and cannot be multicultural. The existence of multiple parallel cultures can only be accommodated by a collection of societies – or by a fractured and splintered society.

Turkey’s Byzantine machinations with people trafficking for Europe, oil trading for ISIS

December 3, 2015

Turkey (and Erdogan and his family) are living up to my perceptions of supreme Byzantine duplicity. They are involved in a particularly dirty game of complex intrigue and unprincipled double dealing in Syria.

The EU is going to pay Turkey some €3 billion to control the flow of refugees to Europe and for housing refugees in Turkey. The better the control that can be shown the greater the payment by the EU. Now Turkey has a mechanism in place to earn money from people trafficking. There is real financial benefit to show more coming in to Turkey across the border with Syria and to show that less of them are leaving for Europe. Moreover Turkish citizens now have visa-free travel to Europe. The fault lines in Europe are easy to exploit and Turkey is running rings around the EU.

Henry Barkey in Carnegie EuropeThat Europe is selling out to Turkey is perfectly understandable in this light. But many in Europe will perceive as excessive the deal reached by Brussels and Ankara on November 29: money, visa-free travel arrangements for Turkish citizens, and the opening of a chapter of Turkey’s EU accession process in exchange for better management of the refugees and steps to prevent them from reaching Europe.

The EU is coming out as naive and gullible and complicit in Turkey’s people trafficking games.

But far more damaging are the Russian allegations of the involvement of Turkey, and more specifically of the President’s son, Bilal Erdogan, in the trading of ISIS oil.

BBCRussia’s defence ministry has accused the family of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being directly involved in the trade of petroleum with the Islamic State group.

Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov said Turkey was the biggest buyer of “stolen” oil from Syria and Iraq.

The Russians are getting very detailed about the involvement of Bilal Erdogan in profiteering from ISIS oil and even about Erdogan’s daughter providing aid and comfort to wounded ISIS fighters

MintPressNews: …….. Others reaffirmed Lavrov’s stance, such as retired French General Dominique Trinquand, who said that “Turkey is either not fighting ISIL at all or very little, and does not interfere with different types of smuggling that takes place on its border, be it oil, phosphate, cotton or people,” he said.

……. And while we patiently dig to find who the on and offshore “commodity trading” middleman are, who cart away ISIS oil to European and other international markets in exchange for hundreds of millions of dollars, one name keeps popping up as the primary culprit of regional demand for the Islamic State’s “terrorist oil” – that of Turkish president Recep Erdogan’s son: Bilal Erdogan.

Byzantine Empire in 650 AD Wikipedia

William Engdahl writes in New Eastern Outlook:

More and more details are coming to light revealing that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, variously known as ISIS, IS or Daesh, is being fed and kept alive by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish President and by his Turkish intelligence service, including MIT, the Turkish CIA. Turkey, as a result of Erdoğan’s pursuit of what some call a Neo-Ottoman Empire fantasies that stretch all the way to China, Syria and Iraq, threatens not only to destroy Turkey but much of the Middle East if he continues on his present path.

In October 2014 US Vice President Joe Biden told a Harvard gathering that Erdoğan’s regime was backing ISIS with “hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons…” Biden later apologized clearly for tactical reasons to get Erdoğan’s permission to use Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base for airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, but the dimensions of Erdoğan’s backing for ISIS since revealed is far, far more than Biden hinted. …..

The prime source of money feeding ISIS these days is sale of Iraqi oil from the Mosul region oilfields where they maintain a stronghold. The son of Erdoğan it seems is the man who makes the export sales of ISIS-controlled oil possible.

Bilal Erdoğan owns several maritime companies. He has allegedly signed contracts with European operating companies to carry Iraqi stolen oil to different Asian countries. The Turkish government buys Iraqi plundered oil which is being produced from the Iraqi seized oil wells. Bilal Erdoğan’s maritime companies own special wharfs in Beirut and Ceyhan ports that are transporting ISIS’ smuggled crude oil in Japan-bound oil tankers. ….

… In addition to son Bilal’s illegal and lucrative oil trading for ISIS, Sümeyye Erdoğan, the daughter of the Turkish President apparently runs a secret hospital camp inside Turkey just over the Syrian border where Turkish army trucks daily being in scores of wounded ISIS Jihadists to be patched up and sent back to wage the bloody Jihad in Syria, according to the testimony of a nurse who was recruited to work there until it was discovered she was a member of the Alawite branch of Islam, the same as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad who Erdoğan seems hell-bent on toppling. …….. 

I note that though Turkey is part of the US coalition, they have only attacked Kurdish fighters in their strikes in Syria. And now they have also shot down a Russian fighter which was threatening their oil from Da’esh. I am left with the perception that Turkey’s priority is overwhelmingly the suppression of the Kurds. Anything is acceptable to prevent a Kurdistan getting off the ground (let alone a greater Kurdistan). The second priority is to stir the conflict to make it as lucrative as possible for Turkey and its ruling families. Getting rid of Assad is also on their list, but not at the price of advancing the Kurds. If Da’esh (ISIS) is to take over from Assad and curb the Kurds, then that is perfectly acceptable. To fight Da’esh is not even explicitly on their list as an objective.

Why Barack Obama and John Kerry put up with the Turkish duplicity is not clear to me. That Turkey is a member of a belligerent and expansionist NATO (What has Turkey to do with the North Atlantic? and now Macedonia?), may provide some explanation. But recalling the way in which Biden changed his tune suggests that US “principles” are fairly flexible here. Unless Turkey’s protection of the flow of funds to Da’esh is stopped, no strategy to eliminate them can succeed. (Of course to stop the “idea” of Da’esh, requires that Saudi Arabia stop playing games). Now with Raqqa under attack it seems Turkey is also complicit in allowing Da’esh members to escape to Libya to set up an alternative “safe zone”.  Such a Turkey as a member of the EU and as its first majority Muslim country is almost frightening.

A Holy European Empire is – for now – untenable

November 29, 2015

The EU has been facing an unprecedented assault on its borders with the refugee crisis. So much so that internal dissent about the free movement across the EU has never been higher. The Schengen agreement has been suspended and member states are reintroducing border controls. Political disparity across the member states ranges from far-left governments (Greece, Portugal….) to nationalistic governments which include far-right elements (Poland, Hungary…). Economic disparities across the member states are also extremely wide with the poverty (relative) of Greece and Romania at one end and the wealth of Scandinavia and Northern Europe at the other. Some members pay only lip service to fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets (inevitably these are left-of centre governments and includes France) while others keep within the nominally required deficit limit of 3% of GDP. Civic values are not homogeneous across the EU and individual behaviour follows national mores. In Greece, to pay tax is almost a “sin” and tax avoidance is a national game. In Sweden, it is almost considered a sin for a handyman to be paid in cash for fixing a creaking door and waiters are expected to declare and offer up their tips for taxation.

EU 28 members Oct 2013

EU 28 members Oct 2013

At the core of the EU idea has been a vision of a Holy European Empire which is far, far more than a free trade zone. It was a vision of a modern Utopia, a homogeneous Empire, a single state, administered from Brussels and stretching far into Asia, all the way till Kazakhstan. People would be citizens of Europe first. The nations would fuse their sovereignty into that of the Empire. Values and living standards and employment opportunity and prosperity would be uniform. There would be a single currency and a uniformity of education, health and welfare services across this new Empire. It would be a Holy Empire in that the values it espoused would be the envy of, and the standard aspired to by, the rest of the world.

There’s nothing wrong in having such a vision, but instead of trying to do this over a few centuries or a millennium, the EU has tried to do this over decades. Worse, EU leaders have not bothered to carry people with them but have allowed the administrators to lead the way. Country after country has been admitted to membership even though the disparities of values and prosperity and politics and behaviour were huge. In the last 30 years it has been an aggressively expansionist EU. The tail has been wagging the dog. Enforced monetary union has been used as tool to try and enforce a fiscal uniformity instead of being as a result of fiscal harmony. Free movement of labour has been encouraged before establishing harmony of unemployment and welfare benefits. There has been a significant number of people moving (always towards the more prosperous nations) – not for the sake of employment – but for the sake of the welfare services available. Brussels has became a place where the worst practices within member states become enshrined as the norm, rather than being from where best practices are disseminated.

The expansion has gone too far, too fast. And now the cracks can no longer just be papered over. The geographical boundaries have been expanded and the borders have become indefensible. So much so that “the fall of Rome” is being looked at as an analogy.

Business InsiderDutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte suggested that western European states might need to bring in a “mini-Schengen” to deal with the bloc’s migrant crisis, ….. He turned that into a more startling analogy, according to a report from the Financial Times. Here’s the kicker:

“As we all know from the Roman empire, big empires go down if the borders are not well-protected,” said Mr Rutte in an interview with a group of international newspapers. “So we really have an imperative that it is handled.”

Niall Ferguson is professor of history at Harvard University and writes in the Boston Globe:

Paris and the fall of Rome

…. Here is how Edward Gibbon described the Goths’ sack of Rome in August 410 AD:

“In the hour of savage license, when every passion was inflamed, and every restraint was removed . . . a cruel slaughter was made of the Romans; and . . . the streets of the city were filled with dead bodies . . . Whenever the Barbarians were provoked by opposition, they extended the promiscuous massacre to the feeble, the innocent, and the helpless . . .”

Now, does that not describe the scenes we witnessed in Paris on Friday night?

True, Gibbon’s “History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire’’ represented Rome’s demise as a slow burn over a millennium. But a new generation of historians, such as Bryan Ward-Perkins and Peter Heather, has raised the possibility that the process of Roman decline was in fact sudden — and bloody —rather than smooth: a “violent seizure . . . by barbarian invaders” that destroyed a complex civilization within the span of a single generation.

…. Let us be clear about what is happening. Like the Roman Empire in the early fifth century, Europe has allowed its defenses to crumble. As its wealth has grown, so its military prowess has shrunk, along with its self-belief. It has grown decadent in its shopping malls and sports stadiums. At the same time, it has opened its gates to outsiders who have coveted its wealth without renouncing their ancestral faith. Uncannily similar processes are destroying the European Union today, though few of us want to recognize them for what they are. …….

It is conventional to say that the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Europe are not violent, and that is doubtless true. But it is also true that the majority of Muslims in Europe hold views that are not easily reconciled with the principles of our modern liberal democracies, including those novel notions we have about equality between the sexes and tolerance not merely of religious diversity but of nearly all sexual proclivities. And it is thus remarkably easy for a violent minority to acquire their weapons and prepare their assaults on civilization within these avowedly peace-loving communities. ……

…… I do know that 21st-century Europe has only itself to blame for the mess it is now in. ……. “Romans before the fall,” wrote Ward-Perkins in his “Fall of Rome,” “were as certain as we are today that their world would continue for ever substantially unchanged. They were wrong. We would be wise not to repeat their complacency.”

The EU has to put its grand visions of a Holy European Empire on the shelf for now. It has to focus on the building up of the fundamentals of economic prosperity and fiscal rigour and trade among its members, and forget – for now – its ambitions to force economic uniformity on its members. It has to stop interfering and trying to be a social engineer. Values cannot be imposed, they have to develop naturally. When all member states have achieved, each in its own time, a uniformity of values, fiscal structure and economic prosperity, a single currency will be the natural outcome. And if a Holy European Empire is ever to develop it can only do so when it becomes the obvious choice for the peoples of its member states.

 

G20 meets in Turkey today – but will Saudi and Turkish (and EU) support for ISIS be confronted?

November 15, 2015

The agenda of the G20 meeting starting in Turkey today will be dominated by Paris – and so it should.

The G20 is made up of 19 countries and the EU: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union.

129 people died in Paris on Friday night and another 90 are still in critical condition. At least two of the terrorists had posed as refugees passing through Turkey and Greece just about a month ago. One more has now been identified as a known, 29 year old, “radicalised” French citizen.

The G20 is intended primarily as an economic forum, but Paris and Syria and ISIS can be expected to dominate. But I am not sure that any discussions about ISIS will be open enough or sufficiently meaningful in addressing root causes. To do that the agenda would have to include,

  1. the tacit support for ISIS from Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and
  2. the funding and growth of ISIS caused by the EU and US support of anti-Assad  rebels, and
  3. the misguided “multiculturalism” in the EU which – among other things – allows Saudi funded, radicalising mosques and madrassas all across Europe, and
  4. the EU “soft” policies which have now probably allowed at least hundreds of terrorists to be sneaked into Europe as “refugees”.

Both Saudi Arabia and Turkey are members of the G20, but their support for ISIS, not officially perhaps, but indirectly and by inaction and by default, will not, I think, be confronted directly. Turkey is a Nato member and is “protected” from criticism of its excesses. Criticism of Saudi Arabia is always muted from those countries dependent on oil imports or defence exports.

A great deal of ISIS financing is from private Saudi sources but surely not without the knowledge of the Saudi authorities. The official Saudi support is ostensibly for groups of Sunni rebels who are opposed to Assad and who are also said to be opposed – sometimes very mildly – to ISIS. Moreover some of these groups are no more than conduits to ISIS and al Qaida. Saudi Arabia’s primary aim seems to be to support anti-Shia groups and opposition to ISIS is only secondary. If ISIS was the only Sunni group available to oppose the Shia forces then Saudi Arabia would make sure they were supported.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”

Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Sunni Gulf States, all want the Shia to be wiped off the face of the Earth and if that means supporting the murderous psychopaths of ISIS – well, the end justifies the means.

In the case of Turkey, it is also an overwhelming desire to prevent any Kurdish state which rules their actions. Turkish hatred of a Kurdistan is on a par with the Saudi hatred of the Shia. They are also against terrorism, provided that the Kurds are first defined as terrorists. And ISIS, as an enemy of their Kurdish enemies, is often their friend. Turkey sees Kurdish successes in Northern Iraq and parts of Syria as ominous and are quite happy to bomb Kurds in or close to Turkey, even if it helps ISIS to gain territory.

Greater Kurdistan dreams map from Jon Davis via Quora

Greater Kurdistan dreams map from Jon Davis via Quora

Turkey will not take actions against ISIS if there is any chance that Kurds may gain an advantage.

I don’t expect the G20 meeting to get more than empty statements from Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Obama will order a few more air strikes. The EU is now a dithering and fractured entity. In fact the EU is now part of the problem and European countries (France, UK, Germany …) will need to act independently to oppose and attack the growth of ISIS. The G20 meeting in Antalya will get no commitments

  1. from Turkey to attack ISIS even if it helps the Kurds, or
  2. from Saudi Arabia to shut off all private funding for ISIS, or
  3. even to withdraw official Saudi support from Sunni groups who “leak” funds to ISIS, or
  4. from the EU to stop the funding from the Middle East of radicalising mosques and madrassas in Europe, or
  5. from the EU to winnow out the terrorists and criminals from among the influx of “refugees”

Sunni Muslims across the world need to pay more than lip-service to opposing the barbarism of ISIS. The Shia are already opposed to all things Sunni. But far too many Sunnis – by inaction – allow their own fanatics to prosper. They allow their fanatic imams to continue preaching their brand of hatred. They turn a blind eye to their radicalised sons and daughters. They too harbour dreams of the establishment of a new Islamic (Sunni, of course) Caliphate and have secret sympathies for the objectives of those “fighting” or murdering for this dream.

I am afraid that Sunnis anywhere (and for me that means all over Europe and the Middle East, Africa and even India, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Indonesia) who do not declare themselves – by word and action – to be against the Islamic Caliphate must be taken to be supporters of, and sympathisers with, ISIS.


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