Archive for the ‘European Union’ Category

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.


 

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The best deal for the UK in the EU will only come after a NO vote in the referendum

February 8, 2016

A view from afar of Cameron’s negotiations with the EU.


I have seen my share of negotiations over 40 years and my judgement is that the current negotiations are far away from the crunch. They are just not serious. In fact they are a little naive. To think that the UK can get a “best deal” without first formally rejecting a proposal goes against everything I think I know about negotiations. The simple, fundamental reality is that the UK will get a better deal only after it has first rejected the “best deal” that the EU and Cameron can cobble together.

No party in a negotiation ever gives up some cherished position except when it perceives a real threat. There is just no real threat or incentive for the EU to pursue real reforms as long as Cameron has effectively promised that he will campaign in favour of whatever “deal” he brings to the referendum. The EU will not negotiate seriously with the UK until after a NO vote in the referendum.

The EU desperately needs to reform. The bureaucracy of the European Commission and the parasitic European Parliament need to be respectively, defanged and eliminated. The EU needs the UK to stay in and the UK would be better off in a reformed EU (but could be better off outside if the EU insists on setting up the Holy European Empire).

The current negotiations are not serious. They are primarily cosmetic and known – by both parties – to be cosmetic. The discussions will only get serious when a referendum has delivered a resounding NO and it is seen by the EU countries that a BREXIT is really possible. Right now they expect that some cosmetic changes – especially about high visibility issues like benefits and non-EU immigration, will be sufficient for placating Cameron and for allowing him to take a “good deal” into the referendum. But they are not even talking about the real issues of EC autocratic rule and the redundant layer of the EU parliament.

Of course Cameron would have to be sacrificed. The sequence would be:

  1. Cameron brings “best deal” to a referendum,
  2. the referendum would reject the deal and vote for BREXIT
  3. Cameron resigns,
  4. new PM would initiate formal move to request an exit from the EU,
  5. EU would come with a “better” deal,
  6. a new referendum would be called on the grounds that “substantial” improvements had been offered
  7. 2nd referendum votes YES and for BREXIN

 

Giving money to Roma beggars is not a good idea

February 1, 2016

Virtually every supermarket in Sweden has a Roma beggar siting outside at the entrance – in all weathers and even when it is -20ºC. About 90% of the thousands in Sweden are thought to be from Romania. Train and bus stations are also well covered. Certainly their presence is almost ubiquitous. The urge to drop any loose change I may have into their bowls is heavily tempered by the conviction that this is well organised begging and is actually a well-oiled “enterprise”. My perception from my limited observations is that the pitches for each beggar are allocated somehow, that they work shifts of about 4 hours per individual and that each is equipped with a mobile phone. They seem to be dropped off and picked up from their allocated positions by car. It seems they are overwhelmingly from Romania, taking advantage of the EU’s free travel arrangements. They are not, I think, receiving any welfare payments.They usually congregate and live in trailer parks, camp sites or other common land in – mainly – run-down caravans.

A petrol station carpark where dozens of beggars live. Photo: The Local

The Roma beggars in Sweden are far less wretched than the beggars I am used to seeing in India but their situation is still pretty awful. Presumably it is not as bad as they would have it back in Romania. Nevertheless my gut feeling has been that putting money in their begging bowls is not a good thing since it can only lead to the conclusion that “begging works”. I suspect that giving money to these beggars will only make it a “successful enterprise” and can only entrench and promote that enterprise. The enterprise will only be discouraged and stop if it is unsuccessful.

The report from a government enquiry has just been published and it seems to support my gut-feeling that giving money to the “begging enterprise” is not a good idea.

The Local (SE)Swedes should not offer cash or welfare services to Roma beggars asking for money in the streets, the lead investigator behind a key national inquiry has said.

Sweden’s national coordinator for vulnerable EU citizens, Martin Valfridsson, presented the findings of a major government begging inquiry on Monday alongside equality minister Åsa Regnér.

“I don’t think [giving money to beggars] is what helps individuals out of deep poverty in the long run. I really believe that the money is more useful with organizations in the countries of origin,” he said.

Sweden has experienced a surge in EU migrants – mostly part of the Roma community from Romania and Bulgaria – begging on streets around the country in the past year.

“We see that the number of vulnerable EU citizens have increased sharply. It’s EU citizens who don’t have the right to welfare in Sweden. In 2015 there were up to 5,000 vulnerable EU nationals in Sweden with a small dip after the summer. Of those around 70 are children,” said Valfridsson.

He also suggested that offering places in schools to children of EU migrants could lead to more vulnerable families bringing their children to Sweden while begging in the Nordic country.

“I don’t think we should generally offer schooling to these children,” he said. ……..  Valfridsson further discouraged municipalities from making campsites legally available to Roma travellers.

“That creates new difficulties. Society helps reestablish those slum communities we have worked so frantically to get rid of. The message is that you’re allowed to come here, but if you do you must live here legally. Society must have a strict approach to that you’re not allowed to settle on someone else’s land,” he said.


 

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.

Czech President has a point – How come young Syrian and Iraqi refugees are not fighting ISIS?

December 27, 2015

Miloš Zeman is a Social Democrat, a former Prime Minister and now President of the Czech Republic. But he is known for being unconventional and not averse, at times, to being politically incorrect and even taking “right wing” positions when it involves common sense. On the refugee situation he takes a fairly hard line – but it must be borne in mind that the Czech Republic is at heart an anti-immigrant nation (>70%).

His Christmas message has been heavily criticised – though mainly outside the Czech Republic:

The Guardian: The Czech president, Milos Zeman, has called the movement of refugees into Europe “an organised invasion” and declared that young men from Syria and Iraq should stay in their countries to “take up arms” against Isis.

“I am profoundly convinced that we are facing an organised invasion and not a spontaneous movement of refugees,” said Zeman in his Christmas message to the Czech Republic.

Compassion was “possible” for refugees who were old or sick, and for children, he said but not for young men who should be back home fighting against jihadists.

“A large majority of the illegal migrants are young men in good health and single. I wonder why these men are not taking up arms to go fight for the freedom of their countries against the Islamic State,” said Zeman, who was elected Czech president in early 2013.

Fleeing their war-torn countries only served to strengthen Isis, he said. ……… 

Migrants are not the only target of Zeman’s caustic remarks: he said last week that his country should introduce the euro on the first day after indebted Greece’s departure from the common currency, causing Athens to recall its ambassador.

He also said he was “very disappointed” that talks in the summer to eject Greece from the euro did not come to fruition.

Both the Czech Republic and Slovakia, former communist countries that joined the European Union in 2004, have rejected the EU’s system of quotas for distributing refugees amid the current migrant wave.

To talk of an “organised invasion” may be a bit of an exaggeration and he could have chosen his words to have been a little kinder to the Greeks, but on both issues I think he voices the correct, but politically incorrect, positions that must be addressed, but which others fear to express.

  1. Why are there so many young, single males among the refugees who are not opposing ISIS in their own countries? and
  2. With Greece remaining within the Eurozone, the Euro is significantly weaker and less attractive to any new prospective members.

The EU and its treaties are not Holy and written in stone. If the whole concept of the EU is to work it requires the club to be able to alter its rules – written for 6 members – to suit the realities of an expanded membership. And a Holy European Empire with a Pope in Brussels is not the way to go.

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.

 

Poland downgrades the EU

November 26, 2015

The EU has probably never before been subject to as much internal dissent as it is today. And that’s even without the frustration and anger at the chaos within the EU about the flood of refugees at its borders. The Schengen agreement is effectively suspended if not yet in its death throes. The concept of the “Holy European Empire” is fundamentally flawed and member states are rebelling against the interfering hand of Brussels.

Poland’s new government has decided that it will no longer display the EU flag at its weekly government press conferences.

October 2015:

Polish govt weekly press conference October 2015 photo AP

Polish govt weekly press conference October 2015 photo AP

The new Polish government was quick to demonstrate its dissatisfaction with the EU. There could not be a clearer statement that the Polish cabinet does not intend to be bullied by the EU.

Lodzpost:

“We have adopted the principle that the statements made after the meeting of the Polish cabinet will be held against the background of the most beautiful, white-and-red flags,” Ms Szydlo, who was sworn in as prime minister last week, said in response to a question asking where the EU flags, which had previously featured alongside Polish flags, had disappeared to.

Szydlo’s Law and Justice party (PiS) won the majority of votes of last month’s election. This was the first time a party won the elections with a majority of votes in Poland since the collapse of communism.

November 2015

Polish govt press conference Beata Szydło November 2015 photo via Lodzpost-com

Polish govt press conference Beata Szydło November 2015 photo via Lodzpost-com

 

“ISIS first, Assad later” gains traction but St. Jeremy makes UK the weakest European actor against ISIS

November 18, 2015

Most of Europe is now falling behind the Russian strategy of “ISIS first, Assad later” as being the only viable way forward in Syria. The UK is also acquiescing with this line, but only verbally, since it is prevented from making any strikes in Syria without parliamentary authority to do so. With the self-canonised St. Jeremy Corbyn now in charge of the Labour party, such a vote may be a long time coming. After Paris, Hollande – though a St. Jeremy soul-mate in normal times – is forced to go all out against ISIS and is now coordinating attacks with Russia. Even Germany is considering supporting military action against ISIS. France has invoked a treaty provision for the first time ever and called for support from the other EU countries. All EU countries have promised that – as yet undefined – support. But the UK is now perceived as the weakest European actor against ISIS terrorism. The instant and automatic opposition of the SNP to any government motion and the naivete of St. Jeremy (which is not so innocent) has seen to that.

The Barack Obama – US led coalition’s “strategy”, if it can be called a strategy, has been to get rid of Assad at all costs. What was to happen afterwards or the question of whether Syria, as a nation , could even exist was left to the future to determine. It has been Russia’s reluctance to abandon Assad and his regime which has prevented any UN resolutions of any significance. Before the Russians recently started their attacks on ISIS they tried to rally support for the strategy of attacking ISIS and other rebels/terrorists first (which would help Assad) and then arranging for Assad to leave the scene after ensuring a transition to something sustainable. Obama and Kerry virtually dismissed that idea but did not go so far as to set themselves up against any Russian strikes on ISIS. The US and their coalition partners did, however, try and project the view that Russian intervention was more harmful than helpful.

After the Russian passenger plane was destroyed by – it is claimed – ISIS, the Western objections to the targets of the Russian strikes were a little more muted. Now after Paris, France has signed up to the line of “ISIS first, Assad later”. The rest of Europe is falling-in line with the notable exception of the UK. The Kurds love this, the Turks don’t. Saudi Arabia is very apprehensive that even if Assad eventually goes, a Shia government could still remain in place. Besides, they are reluctant to be seen to be accepting the demise of a Sunni organisation, even if it is as murderous as ISIS. From Kerry’s recent statements it seems as if the US is preparing the ground to also accept this strategy though the US, of course, can never be seen to falling-in behind Russia.

One way for the UK to save face and even get involved in Syria, would be if a UN resolution establishing “ISIS first, Assad later” could be accepted in the Security Council. Possibly the UK could propose it and recover some of the face they have already lost. Neither the Russians or the US would then veto such a resolution, though one or both might abstain depending upon the text. But it should not be impossible in the present climate. That would give the hapless St, Jeremy something to hide behind when a vote is called for in parliament. But he has already cost the UK a great deal of political clout in the fight against ISIS.

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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