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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘European Union’

Spiegel Bemoaning ‘Germanophobia’

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

It appears that the Germans have been expecting to be forgiven for those memorable years 1933-1945, especially when considering all the goodness and stability Germany has been spreading around the continent. But the continent is refusing to be grateful, and have become quite insolent, in fact. Germany’s push for austerity during the ongoing euro crisis has prompted Nazi depictions of Chancellor Angela Merkel in many parts of Southern Europe and mass demonstrations pushing the same idea, namely that today’s Germany is pursuing the same old targets, using economic means.

This weekend, Spiegel interviewed Brendan Peter Simms, a professor of the History of International Relations in the Center of International Studies at Cambridge University, asking poignantly: “People talk of a Fourth Reich, and the hatred is palpable. Is this just absurd dramatics, or is it a reaction to a true power shift in Germany’s favor?”

Prof. Simms enlightened Spiegel’s editors—and their German readers—on the fact that the “German question” is still very much on everybody’s mind in Europe, despite the German reunification, and perhaps because of it.

“There is no doubt Germanophobia exists,” said Simms. “Look at Greece, at Italy, even Ireland, a country that has never before expressed hostility toward Germany, but which is now full of anger over increasingly painful cuts to its standard of living, an anger that comes from people feeling they have been hung out to dry. Then, of course, there is also anti-German sentiment that stems from World War II, for example in Greece.”

According to Simms, the problem starts with German politicians who tend to emphasize almost exclusively the poor conduct of the countries at the periphery of the EU, insisting that those countries change this conduct as a prerequisite for changing the EU’s political structure.

“By taking this position, they’re failing to recognize that this poor conduct was in part a result of a design flaw in the way the euro was implemented, which led to the countries at Europe’s periphery being flooded with new, cheap money… My fear is that Germany’s policies on this point consist solely of setting the European periphery conditions it can’t fulfill.”

UN to Adopt Syrian Text Damning Israel for ‘Violating Human Rights’

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

At the UN Human Rights Council on Friday, Syria accused Israel of violating the human rights of children in the Golan, while diplomats met in another chamber on the same day to discuss a Syrian-drafted resolution, to be adopted next week, entitled “Human Rights in the Occupied Syrian Golan.”

There will be five other resolutions targeting Israel, and about the same number combined covering the rest of the world.

While this year Syria did not officially present the text, its delegate sat on the dais next to his Pakistani colleague who chaired the session on behalf of the Islamic group. Not a single diplomat called out the sheer lunacy of the exercise. Rather, the EU commented that it was “committed to the protection of all, including those in the occupied Golan.” It was willing to “constructively engage on the text,” even as it noted that its proposals last year were not implemented.

Egypt said it aligned itself with the Islamic group.



Later in the day, UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer took the floor in the plenary. Here are his notes:

Mr. President,

This Council is charged with promoting and protecting the guarantees enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Today we ask: is the Council fulfilling its mission?

Let us consider the most basic right: the right to life.

As we heard this week from Amnesty International, Saudi Arabia is preparing imminently to execute seven alleged child offenders including Sarhan Al Mashayekh—who was also sentenced to be crucified over three days. Why is the Council refusing to address this in any resolution, urgent session, or even debate? [Ed. note: the Saudis executed them today by firing squad.]

Three other countries known to execute juvenile offenders are Yemen, Sudan and Iran—yet none of these situations is being addressed by any resolution.

And while there is a resolution on Iran, it is silent on child executions—and indeed the text is devoid of any documentation whatsoever of the regime’s other massive abuses, including against women, religious and ethnic minorities, and dissidents.

Finally, the Council must do far more about the thousands of children subjected to violence and death in Syria.

Now, today we just heard from the Syrian representative about human rights in the Golan Heights. This was a transparent attempt to change the subject from the dire, catastrophic human rights situation in Syria.

Sadly, this has been going on for decades. The United Nations has allowed Syria to present itself as a champion of human rights.

Indeed, a resolution was circulated today—presented by Syria—the same one that has been adopted each year by this Council, on purported human rights violations in the Golan Heights.

This text embodies all that is wrong with giving Syria a free pass. Year after year, the UN enabled Syria to portray itself as a champion of human rights.

- While Hafez al-Assad was murdering 20,000 people in Hama, in 1982, Syria was sitting here, as an elected member of the human rights commission. Two years later, it was reelected.

- A year and a half ago, Syria was elected to two human rights committees of UNESCO.

- A few weeks ago, Syria was elected Rapporteur of the decolonization committee dealing with human rights.

Mr. President,

Let us be clear: the situation in Syria today was allowed to develop, and the Syrian regime was allowed to remain in power, in part because the United Nations granted false legitimacy to this murderous regime.

Thank you, Mr. President.

The Meaning of European ‘Resolve’ Against Terror

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Yesterday, March 11, 2013, the European Union commemorates the 9th European Day in Remembrance of Victims of Terrorism.

Here’s the key part of an official statement released by the E.U. Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Gilles de Kerchove:

All acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, wherever they took place or whoever committed them. Therefore, our resolve to defeat terrorism must never weaken or falter even for a day, and our support to victims to meet their needs must remain a priority, as well as our commitment to actively promoting a policy of international solidarity.

Seems like a good time to remind him of the need to outlaw the outrageous and flagrant terrorists of Hizbollah whose supporters operate within the law in Europe with no evident interference from officials of the E.U. or of its Counter-Terrorism Coordinator. This ought to surprise us given that a Bulgarian court found last month that it was Hizbollah that stood behind the terrorist attack last summer on a tourist bus full of Israelis, killing five of them and their driver.

Mr de Kerchove knows this. But despite his public call today never to weaken or to falter ”even for a day” in the battle to defeat terrorism, he doesn’t actually seem to mean the Hizbollah brand of terrorism, but other terrorisms. (Truthfully, we’re not completely sure which, but it seems that he is).

Here is how he expressed it in a January 28, 2013 interview (“EU official: Hezbollah unlikely to get on terrorism blacklist“) with E.U. Observer when asked if Europe should go along with the requests of the United States and Israel to make it illegal, for instance, to give donation money to Hizbollah:

…For De Kerchove, the situation is not so simple. “First, we need to reach conclusions with strong evidence that it was the military wing of Hezbollah [which indeed carried out the terrorist bombing at Burgas airport in Bulgaria]. That’s the prerequisite, even in legal terms, but then, as always in the listing process, you need to ask yourself: ‘Is this the right thing to do?’… For Hezbollah, you might ask, given the situation in Lebanon, which is a highly fragile, highly fragmented country, is listing it going to help you achieve what you want? … There is no automatic listing just because you have been behind a terrorist attack. It’s not only the legal requirement that you have to take into consideration, it’s also a political assessment of the context and the timing…”

The interview was given just before the Bulgarians found, judicially, that Hizbollah was the culprit, so at least that prerequisite was satisfied. But that – why are we surprised? – is evidently not enough.

He noted there is “no consensus” among EU states on whether listing Hezbollah would be helpful or not [E.U. Observer]

which is a very good way to say what official Europe really feels about the battle against the terrorists.

In simple terms, the Commissioner’s official statement today, the one that appears in the press release above, should not be taken too seriously. Perhaps it was only intended for the terror victims and their commemoration ceremonies in the first place. If you really want to go after the terrorists, then the way forward – according to Europe’s Counter-Terrorism Coordinator – calls for more than mere resolve. You need consensus and agreement as to whether it will be helpful.

European politics is populated by a multitude of individuals who are hopelessly ambivalent about the Islamists. As for serious European moves against terror, we can expect to see them limited to press releases and wreath laying ceremonies in civic squares.

Out on the streets and railways and airports of Europe? Not so much.

Visit This Ongoing War.

Europe Rolls Over for Hizbollah Blackmail

Friday, March 8th, 2013

The main objective of Israeli President Shimon Peres’s week-long state visit to Brussels, Paris and Strasbourg March 5-12 is apparently to persuade reluctant European leaders to designate Lebanon’s Hizbollah movement a terrorist organization.

Blacklisting Hizbollah would deprive the militant group of significant sources of fundraising by enabling the freezing its bank accounts and assets in Europe. It would also facilitate intra-European police cooperation aimed at pursuing and arresting Hizbollah operatives believed to be living underground throughout Europe.

Several Western countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands officially classified Hizbollah as a terrorist organization years ago. But the European Union has steadfastly resisted calls to sanction Hizbollah.

E.U. leaders say they do not have enough information to make a judgment about whether Hizbollah is involved in terrorism. They have tried to justify themselves by saying that because the issue is legal, not moral, in nature, they need “courtroom evidence” of Hizbollah’s culpability.

Well, at least that has been clarified: in recent weeks Bulgarian authorities implicated Hizbollah in the July 18, 2012 terrorist attack which killed five Israeli tourists and their driver in the Black Sea resort of Burgas.

Bulgaria’s February 5 public announcement, which angered many E.U. countries afraid of provoking Hizbollah, was the first time that an E.U. member state has officially established that Hizbollah was guilty of a carrying out a terrorist attack on E.U. territory.

European officials have long rationalized their lack of resolve against Hizbollah by claiming that the organization has both a military wing and a political wing, and that cracking down on the former would cripple the latter, which consequently would lead to the destabilization of Lebanon as well as the broader Middle East.

Many analysts, however, say this high-mindedness is a smoke screen behind which Europeans are hiding to conceal the real reason why they are reluctant to confront Hizbollah: fear, fear and more fear.

Europeans are afraid to call Hizbollah what it is because they fear reprisals against European interests at home and abroad. Europeans also fear that if they take a hard line against Hizbollah, the group may activate sleeper cells and carry out attacks in European cities. (According to a leaked German intelligence report, there are more than 900 Hizbollah operatives in Germany alone.)

In addition, Europeans are afraid that Hizbollah may retaliate against European troops, known as UNIFIL, participating in the United Nations mission in Lebanon.

In Spain, for instance, where Hizbollah was involved in the April 1985 bombing of a restaurant near Madrid in which 18 Spanish citizens were killed, the case was closed in 1987 due to a lack of arrests.

After six Spanish peacekeepers were killed in a Hizbollah bomb attack in southern Lebanon in June 2007, a fearful Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero recruited that same Hizbollah to safeguard Spanish troops, presumably as a way to safeguard his own job.

Less than a month after those killings, it emerged that Spanish intelligence agents met secretly with Hizbollah militants, who agreed to provide “escorts” to protect Spanish UNIFIL patrols. The quid pro quo was that Spanish troops look the other way while Hizbollah was allowed to rearm for its next war against Israel.

The Spanish government recently announced that it will cut the number of its troops within UNIFIL to half by the end of 2013. What is clear is that Spain, as well as its European partners, have abandoned the letter and the spirit of UN Resolution 1559, the main objective of which was to disarm Hizbollah and to transfer effective control over the southern Lebanon to Lebanon’s armed forces.

Europeans are also afraid of inciting the thousands of shiftless young Muslim immigrants in towns and cities across the continent. The fear of angry Muslims is, in fact, so pervasive in European capitals that in practical terms Islam has already established a de facto veto on European foreign policymaking.

In addition to the investigation in Bulgaria, there has also been the trial in Cyprus of Hossam Taleb Yaakoub, a captured Hizbollah operative with joint Lebanese and Swedish citizenship who is suspected of plotting attacks on Israeli targets. The trial, which is scheduled to end on March 7, has provided many insights into Hizbollah’s secret operations in Europe.

What Sanctions? Iran Gas Exports to Europe at $7 Billion

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Despite EU gas sanctions, EU members Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Turkey and Romania are among Iran’s most important gas customers produced in south Pars terminals.

According to MNA, despite EU sanctions banning the importation of natural gas and other gas liquid products to Europe, Iran have exported more than $7 billion of liquid gas products.

According to the repots, last year, eight million ton of gas condensate (low-density mixture of hydrocarbon liquids) exported from the Assaluyeh oil and gas terminals to international markets.

Also during this period, more than 15 million tons of petrochemical and polymer products, including light and heavy polyethylene, benzene and liquid gas, worth $12,856 million, have been exported from Assaluyeh terminals to international markets.

The report also revealed that China, Japan, United Arabic Emirates, India, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Turkey, Romania, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Afghanistan are among the main customers of Iran’s petrochemical and gas products coming out of Assaluyeh terminals.

According to the same report, Iran’s export of liquid gas to south Korea in the last few months has been doubled, compare to last year same time.

Meanwhile, on Thursday afternoon, the AP reported that Pakistan intends to complete a gas pipeline from Iran despite U.S. opposition.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Moazzam Ali Khan said Thursday that President Asif Ali Zardari is planning to travel to Tehran on Monday for the groundbreaking ceremony.

Khan said the pipeline is in Pakistan’s interest.

Pakistan is facing severe energy shortages, and hopes the pipeline would deliver natural gas from Iran to Pakistan by 2014.

Kerry Beats the Drum for Talks on Iran but War Drums Grow Louder

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC that Iran’s failure to negotiate makes “confrontation more possible,” and hours later, the American delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) accused Iran of “deception, defiance and delay” while it enriches uranium.

Kerry has jumped into his new position with the full character of the State Dept. to solve the world’s problems with talk, but the unusually harsh comments from Joseph Macmanus, the chief U.S. delegate to the IAEA, indicates that the noose is tightening around Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

So far, he seems to believe that the United States is bluffing about a military strike and is making a show to keep Israel quiet.

However, the more the Obama administration, sees Iranian nuclear capability as a threat to the United States, the closer everyone gets to the red line to talk with action and not words.

“I’m not going to get into red lines and timing publicly except to reiterate what the president has said again and again, which is he prefers to have a diplomatic solution,” Kerry told ABC News in Qatar.

“If they keep pushing the limits and not coming with a serious set of proposals or are prepared to actually resolve this, obviously, the risks get higher and confrontation becomes more possible,” he said.

Joseph Macmanus’ comment blew holes into the recent complacency of the international community, which was soothed by Iran’s expression of being interested in  proposals by the world’s six powers.

Even the European Union appears to be getting fed up with Iran.

The EU told the IAEA board in Vienna Wednesday that it “considers … Iran’s procrastination to be unacceptable.”

Iran has refused IAEA requests to visit the Parchin military site, where satellite pictures have shown explosive tests probably were carried out for  nuclear weapons capability.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said this week, not for the first time, that Iran is using the negotiations and talks of negotiations as a camouflage for its nuclear weapons program.

Tehran, of course, insists its nuclear development is only for peace and is counting on more talks to erase any American red lines.

“We are committed to continue our dialogue with the IAEA but at the same time we can’t give a blank check” because of Iran’s national security concerns, Iranian Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh told reporters in Vienna.

Kerry notwithstanding, louder voices are being increasingly heard from the most senior American officials.

Gen. James Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate committee on Tuesday, “I’m paid to take a rather dim view of the Iranians, frankly.”

Looking at the future of a military strike, he stated, “There are number of means to do that, perhaps even short of open conflict. But certainly that’s one of the options that I have to have prepared for the president.”

How Does EU Avoid Defining Hizbullah as Terrorist Organization?

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

President Shimon Peres  and the Israeli lawfare group Shurat HaDin have launched two separate but simultaneous campaigns to pressure the European Union to agree Hizbullah equals terror.

President Peres is to address the European Parliament in Strasbourg next week and will urge it to place the Iranian-backed Hizbullah Shi’ite Muslim group on the list of terror organizations, as the United States has done.

A major obstacle to the classification is the failure of all 27 EU countries to agree.

“The President will tell the EU leaders that every country needs to treat Hezbollah as a terror organization,” a spokesperson to the President told the European Jewish Press (EJP).

“The President’s EU meetings “will take place in the context of the inquiry into the terror attack in Bulgaria which found that Hizbullah was responsible for the bombing and the subsequent discussions within Europe on the consequences.”

His speech to the European Parliament will be the first by an Israeli leader in the legislature’s current format, which includes 754 members from the 27 EU member states.

Shurat HaDin, known in English as the Israel Law Center, is headed by attorney Nitsana Darshn-Leitner. She has staged a quiet revolution in fighting terrorism by winning lawsuits against Hamas and the Palestinian Authority as well as banks that handle money of terrorist groups. Shurat HaDin has won  judgments running into the billions.

It also was instrumental in convincing companies they could be subject to criminal charges if they did not stop equipping Iranian oil tankers and terrorists’ Gaza-bound ships with communications equipment.

Darshn-Leitner now has written to the un to demand that it designate Hizbullah as a terrorist organization.

“In our letter to the EU officials, we accused the EU of cowardice and hiding its head in the sand in the face of overwhelming proof of the Islamic extremist groups’ long term involvement in global terrorism,” she said.

“We accused the EU of ignoring Hizbullah’s assassination of Lebanese President Rafiq Hariri, for which several of its officials were indicted by The Hague, and Hizbullah’s on-going role in perpetrating crimes against humanity in the Syrian civil war.”

Despite pressure from the United States and Israel, the EU has claimed that it will not outlaw the group until there is “tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terrorism,” she said.

Shurat HaDin this week issued a partial list of dozens of attacks that have killed more than 400 people, not including targeted civilians in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

Bulgaria recently announced that Hizbullah was behind the July 2012 terrorist attack that killed five Israeli tourists and a Bulgarian bus driver.

Following is the partial list that is more than enough of the  “tangible evidence” the EU is looking for.

-  The 1982 and 1983 suicide bombings against the IDF headquarters building in Tyre, Lebanon, which killed 103 Israelis and 46–59 Lebanese, wounding 95 people.

-   The April 1983 U.S. Embassy bombing Lebanon, that killed 241 US marines, 58 French paratroopers and 6 civilians at the US and French barracks in Beirut.

-   The Hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in 1985.

-   The kidnapping and murder of numerous individuals during the Lebanon Hostage Crisis from 1982 to 1992, including the kidnapping and torture-murder of CIA Beirut station Chief William Buckley.

-   The 1992 Israeli Embassy bombing in Buenos Aires, killing 29, in Argentina.

-   The 1994 AMIA bombing of a Jewish cultural centre, killing 85, in Argentina.

-   The 1996 KhobarTowers bombing in Saudi Arabia, which killed 20.

-   The 2000 kidnapping and murder of IDF soldiers Adi Avitan, Benyamin Avraham, and Omar Sawaidwere.

-   In 2002, Singapore accused Hezbollah of recruiting Singaporeans in a failed 1990s plot to attack US and Israeli ships in the Singapore Straits.

-   The 2006 kidnapping and murder of IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, which precipitated the 2006 Israel-Lebanon War.

-   Intentionally targeting Israeli civilians and cities with rocket fire during the Second Lebanon War.

-   The January 15, 2008 bombing of a U.S. Embassy vehicle in Beirut.

-   In 2009, a Hezbollah plot in Egypt was uncovered, where Egyptian authorities arrested 49 men for planning attacks against Israeli and Egyptian targets in the Sinai Peninsula.

-   A failed 2011 bombing in Istanbul targeting the Israeli consul, which left eight dead.

EU Ready to Train Syrian Rebels, Proxy War Full On

Monday, March 4th, 2013

The European Union may be preparing to provide weapons training to the rebels fighting Syrian president Bashar Assad, Spiegel reports. Although a statement issued by the organization last week only discussed “technical assistance,” it appears that tha the U.K. and France are ready to provide more “hands-on help,” This as the idea of arming the rebels is gaining popularity.

It should be noted that over the past two years there hasn’t seemed to exist a discernable difference in the degree of cruelty and lack of concern for human life between the two sides. It should also be noted that, by bolstering the Suni rebels, the Western powers would be sentencing the Alawites, Assad’s minority ethnic group, to mass annihilation.

In many ways, the civil war in Syria is turning out to be a war fought between proxies, in which the government forces are supported by Iran and Russia, and now the rebels are picking up the support of the West.

Vietnam revisited?

Officially, the statement released by the European Union regarding sanctions against Syria referred only to supplying rebel fighters with “non-lethal military equipment” and “technical assistance for the protection of civilians.”

But Spiegel has learned that this assistance also includes weapons training for rebel troops in their battles against soldiers loyal to Assad. The EU expects that Britain and France will deploy military consultants to support the rebels. But sources within the German government said that Berlin has no plans to send experts.

The U.S. has also announced recently that it would begin supplying non-lethal supplies to opposition forces for the first time.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Sunday that Britain did not rule out providing arms to Syrian rebels in the future.

Despite Germany’s reluctance to get involved in Syria, there are influential voices there calling for sending weapons to the Syrian opposition. Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference, has spoken out in favor of arming the rebels.

“The bitter lesson of the Bosnian war is that the policy of not delivering weapons to either side neither curbs nor curtails the conflict,” he told Spiegel. “It is high time that Germany and its partners discuss supporting Syrian rebels with equipment up to and including weapons.”

Ischinger cited the need to protect the Syrian population as well as the strategic interests of Germany and the West. “All we have done so far is lay a foundation for ensuring that we have no friends in post-Assad Syria,” he said.

Ischinger was not concerned with the possibility that the arms would end up in the wrong hands. “If the West supplies arms itself, it has more chance of influencing how they are used,” he argued.

Famous last words?

More than 70,000 Syrians—most of them civilians—have been killed over the past two years. Hundreds of thousands have fled across the borders to Jordan and Turkey, and even more fleeing to shelters within Syria. The EU has so far offered some €200 million in humanitarian relief.

Last Sunday, in an interview with the British Sunday Times, Assad slammed the West for helping his enemies, objecting most strongly to Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement that the U.S. would provide medical supplies and other non-lethal aid directly to the rebels, in addition to $60 million in assistance.

Assad said he is ready for dialogue with rebels and militants, but only if they surrender their weapons.

So that’s never.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/eu-ready-to-train-syrian-rebels-proxy-war-full-on/2013/03/04/

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