Posted tagged ‘European military’

Does Germany Owe Us ‘Vast Sums’?

March 20, 2017

Does Germany Owe Us ‘Vast Sums’? PJ MediaMichael Walsh, March 19, 2017

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Merkel, more than anyone, is the woman who destroyed the notion of European cultural cohesion, the unity of its history, and its Western identity. Her folly in throwing open the borders of the European Union (which is itself a Franco-German political fantasy now coming unglued) to the “migrant” hordes of an invading Islamic world will reverberate for decades to come. In an effort to replace the German population — which, largely thanks to its women, is almost wholly uninterested in reproducing itself — the childless chancellor could only see a mechanical solution to a problem of reproductive biology, without ever once (in true East German fashion) asking herself why.

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President Trump’s recent meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel went about as well as could be expected. He treated her with thinly veiled contempt, avoiding her gaze, staring off into the middle distance whenever possible, his body language proclaiming his true feelings. Whether he heard her softly muttered request for a photo-op handshake at the end of their meeting doesn’t matter: his mien made his feelings abundantly clear.

Germany, or bits of it, has gone from being a mortal enemy in 1941 to a four-power protectorate in 1945 to an American client state until 1989, to a nominal ally up to the present. The German media — and the Trump-haters in the American press — acted as if the president had just delivered her an ultimatum about the Sudetenland — even though, as you can see below, Trump shook hands with the chancellor at least three times.

Eins (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

But Merkel, more than anyone, is the woman who destroyed the notion of European cultural cohesion, the unity of its history, and its Western identity. Her folly in throwing open the borders of the European Union (which is itself a Franco-German political fantasy now coming unglued) to the “migrant” hordes of an invading Islamic world will reverberate for decades to come. In an effort to replace the German population — which, largely thanks to its women, is almost wholly uninterested in reproducing itself — the childless chancellor could only see a mechanical solution to a problem of reproductive biology, without ever once (in true East German fashion) asking herself why.

Trump also spoke some unwelcome truths to the German people, foremost among them their debt to the United States of America from liberating them from Hitler, for midwifing the Federal Republic of Germany, for supporting Germany unification (despite the wretched George H. W. Bush/ James A. Baker III administration’s indifference, if not outright opposition, to it) and, paramount, for the American nuclear umbrella and thousands of troops that allowed the postwar Germans to establish and maintain their cushy social-welfare state. The Allies wanted a defanged Germany, and boy did they ever get it.

And yet that denatured Deutschland is what is killing Germany. When you enter the workforce in your mid-to-late twenties and retire in your fifties, your exposure to the vicissitudes of life is as minimal as it can be. And when that work is punctuated by six weeks of vacations, multiple days off, spa treatments and a strictly regulated set of working-hours… well, Bruder, you were on Easystrasse.

Throw in Germany’s historical notion of Kinderfeindlichkeit — hatred of children — and you have a surefire prescription for national suicide: Germany, literally, has nothing to live for.

But the free ride’s now over, and the Germans don’t like it one bit:

German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen on Sunday rejected U.S. President Donald Trump’s claim that Germany owes NATO and the United States “vast sums” of money for defense. “There is no debt account at NATO,” von der Leyen said in a statement, adding that it was wrong to link the alliance’s target for members to spend 2 percent of their economic output on defense by 2024 solely to NATO.

“Defense spending also goes into UN peacekeeping missions, into our European missions and into our contribution to the fight against IS terrorism,” von der Leyen said. She said everyone wanted the burden to be shared fairly and for that to happen it was necessary to have a “modern security concept” that included a modern NATO but also a European defense union and investment in the United Nations.

A “modern security concept” sounds very much like the Obama administration’s notion of “soft power.” And no power in Europe is softer than Germany’s.

Zwei (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Trump said on Twitter on Saturday – a day after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington – that Germany “owes vast sums of money to NATO & the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany!” Trump has urged Germany and other NATO members to accelerate efforts to meet NATO’s defense spending target…. During her trip to Washington, Merkel reiterated Germany’s commitment to the 2 percent military spending goal.

Big deal. Trump got all kinds of grief from the foreign-policy establishment when he voiced his skepticism about NATO during the campaign, but he was on to something. The rapid expansion of what used to be the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (essentially, the U.S. and Britain, with other spear-carriers, and minus the French) has gobbled up several of the former Soviet client states in eastern Europe, pushing itself right up to the Russian border. To say this is provocative to the Russians under the Soviet-restorationist  (in territory rather than Marxist philosophy) regime of Vladimir Putin is an understatement.

I’m not privy to what Trump told Merkel in private, but it’s hard to imagine the president didn’t put the iron laws of political economics to her in the bluntest possible way. Merkel has had the freedom to import and support a million cultural hostiles a year with no meaningful work skills in large part because Germany pays so little for defense, and can afford to amuse itself with virtue-signalling while its citizens are robbed, raped, and murdered — although even that largesse is coming to an end.

So it’s amusing to watch the knee-jerk Left instantly come to the side of the country they used to love to hate — Germany — the instant Trump criticizes their beloved Angela Merkel. Here’s the Washington Post, which under Jeff Bezos and editor Marty Baron has turned into a snarling, rabid dog of Trump-hatred, spouting the new Party Line:

Since World War II, Germany has intentionally kept its military small. The country defines itself by its pacifism and its commitment to the idea of “never again.” Germany’s defense spending — or lack thereof — has frequently been criticized and mocked in the past. In 2014, for instance, German forces made headlines when they were forced to use broomsticks instead of machine guns during a NATO exercise, exposing the state of its underequipped military.

But, Germans argue, they make up for this in other ways. As Merkel argued in a speech last month, mutual security goes beyond military spending. International development aid on things like hospitals and schools does as much for peace as warheads in Europe. “When we help people in their home countries to live a better life and thereby prevent crises, this is also a contribution to security,” Merkel said in Munich. “So I will not be drawn into a debate about who is more military-minded and who is less.”

She and other German leaders also point out that they’re bearing the brunt of the Syrian refugee crisis, spending 30 to 40 billion euros a year. If that was included in the tally, they say, they’d be putting more than 2 percent of their budget a year toward security. (They’re also quick to note that U.S. military interventions are one reason there are so many displaced people from the Middle East.)

Auf wiedersehen (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Now that is the very dictionary definition of chutzpah.

Although it’s — alas! — unlikely to happen, sensible Germans who wish to maintain and further their cultural patrimony need to dump Merkel in the upcoming elections. What will come after her might well be worse — it may well be a Leftist coalition, unlike the current closeted leftism of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party — but if Europe is to have any chance at survival, that’s a chance that’s still worth taking. And least then we can see the German government for what it really is.

Nigel Farage says the EU is a threat to NATO nations

December 15, 2016

Nigel Farage says the EU is a threat to NATO nationsRobinHoodUKIP via YouTube, December 14, 2016

The Real Weak Link in Europe

August 17, 2016

The Real Weak Link in Europe, American ThinkerAlex Alexiev, August 17, 2016

With some weeks now past since the event, the Brexit doom and gloom-mongers have taken a well deserved break from conjuring up the imminent demise of the U.K., the EU, and perhaps the world itself.  This may be an appropriate opportunity to consider whether or not there might be an even better candidate for such end-of-times prognostications: Germany.

On the face of it, this is surely preposterous.  Europe’s largest economy, its most stable government, and the main if not only pillar of the EU and the euro is hardly a destabilizing factor, most would agree.  Germany may indeed be all of that, but only in comparison to the rest of the EU, which has been stagnating economically for a decade and is beset by major political instability and terrorism.  Since 2007, German labor productivity growth has been close to zero, while GDP growth has averaged a miserable 0.8% per annum, even as Germany’s largest company, Volkswagen, is being prosecuted around the world for cheating, while its very symbol of stability, Deutsche Bank, has been called by the IMF “the biggest contributor to risk in global finance.”

Serious as these are, much more disturbing are unmistakable trends that Germany may be going in directions hardly congenial to European and Western policies vis-à-vis Russia.  A case in point is the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, designed to bring up to 80% of the Russian gas supply to Europe while bypassing Ukraine and Eastern Europe.  A blatantly political ploy by Mr. Putin and Gazprom, it will guarantee that Moscow can blackmail Eastern Europe at will.  Despite that, the project enjoys support not only among companies likely to profit from Nord Stream 2, but also by significant parts of the German establishment, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, who quite disingenuously claims that it is just a commercial project.

To understand why this is now possible in Germany, one must note the rapid growth of pro-Russian, anti-Western, and anti-American sentiments in all segments of German society of late.  These attitudes often run counter to the official policies of the Merkel government, which may actually make them even more significant.  Mrs. Merkel, for instance, is known as a key supporter and architect of the sanctions regime against Russia following its aggression against Ukraine, yet her government coalition partner, the social-democratic party (SPD), argues ever more forcefully that the sanctions should be lifted or, at the very least, made less onerous.  This not only undermines the authority of the Berlin government, but also makes the continuation of the sanctions when they expire at the end of the year unlikely.  This will please Germany’s export community, but only at the cost of outraging its partners in Eastern Europe.

Even more striking is the emerging anti-Western consensus among radical parties at both extremes of the political spectrum.  The former communist party of East Germany now repackaged as “Die Linke” and the right-wing, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) share essentially identical anti-Western and anti-American platforms that call for disbanding NATO and a new security alliance with Russia.  These parties may be extreme, but they are not without influence.  Die Linke is currently in power in one German state (Thuringia), while the AfD is supported by 12% of German voters according to the latest polls.

NATO is being undermined from yet another side, and that is the renewed EU discussions of the ostensible need for a European army independent of NATO.  Both European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and French president François Hollande have publicly supported the idea, and so have German officials, who cite the limited German-Dutch armed forces integration as a model.  The idea is, of course, complete nonsense if for no other reason than because no EU country is even contemplating, let alone seriously considering the massive amounts of money that would have to be spent to bring this about.  It is nonetheless a dangerous bit of nonsense, since nothing will deny NATO’s very raison d’être, and with it American commitment to the defense of Europe, faster than a standing European army outside the alliance command structures.

Finally, the most destabilizing German policy by far continues to be immigration policy.  Despite signs that it is an abject failure, Mrs. Merkel insists on continuing on the same course, leading to even greater conflict with Eastern Europe and others (Brexit) that reject it wholesale.  Poland has already announced that it will refuse to take any migrants, while Czech president Milos Zeman, a socialist, has called for a referendum on EU membership and even urged the Czechs to arm themselves for self-defense.

Merkel government officials have already proclaimed their migrant policies to be a success, but such claims should be taken with a large chunk of salt.  Here are the available statistics.  In 2015, 1.1 million migrants came to Germany after Merkel essentially invited them in on  Sept. 4, 2015.  Of those, 476,649 applied for political asylum.  The rest neither applied nor left the country, and their whereabouts are not known.  According to Eurostat, in the first quarter of 2016, 287,100 migrants, or nearly 100,000 more than in 2015 applied for asylum in the EU, which would mean that even if migrants to Germany have fallen off from the 2015 pace, the EU as a whole will get more than 1 million by the end of the year, and a similar number is expected in 2017.

More important than the sheer numbers is what this massive influx means for society.  Even though German authorities try to suppress such information, there is overwhelming evidence that rape and sexual assault by migrants has reached epidemic proportions in all 16 federal states, as documented in this report by the Gatestone Institute.  More troubling still is evidence that large numbers of terrorists and jihadists have used the migrant wave to organize “hit squads” in Germany.  According to Bavarian intelligence official Manfred Hauser, “irrefutable evidence exists that there is an IS [Islamic State] command structure in place.”

What all of this means for German and European security should not be difficult to foresee.  German officials openly acknowledge that the police cannot handle this massive threat and are now openly discussing setting in place a 400,000-strong “national guard” type of organization.  Before they do that, it might be useful to first consider changing Mrs. Merkel’s failed policies.

 

Europe’s armies are dysfunctional

August 7, 2016

Europe’s armies are dysfunctional, Israel National News, Giulio Meotti, August 7, 2016

In 1958, a well-known American writer who was conducting an investigation about Europe, Joseph Alsop, asked the pacifist Lord Russell: “What if the Soviets won’t be induced, in any way, to an agreement for nuclear disarmament?”. “In this case – said the Nobel Prize Laureate Russell – I would be personally in favor of unilateral disarmament”. Fifty years later, Lord Russell got his wish. Europe is disarming.

The German weekly magazine Der Spiegel recently published an article entitled: “The unarmed forces of Germany”. “Forget the Wehrmacht, Germany may soon gave no army at all”, added The Guardian. “The inglorious Bundeswehr” wrote Politico. “Do not shoot, please, we’re German”, summarized The Economist. So while late German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, was promising to make Germany a “leader of peace and disarmament”, the American media reported that German soldiers could not even shoot in Afghanistan.

“An unarmed Europe will face the world alone”, wrote Gideon Rachman in the Financial Times.

In 1970, Mogens Glistrup, a prominent politician in Denmark, became famous for suggesting that his country had to replace the armed forces with a recorded message in Russian: “We surrender”. Since 2008, in response to the economic crisis, most European countries have cut defense spending by 10-15 percent. Most Atlantic alliance members have demobilized: Germany went from 545,000 soldiers in 1990 to 180,000, France from 548,000 to 213,000.

A comparison with Putin’s Russia? An increase of 79 percent in military spending in a decade.

The Royal Air Force now has only a quarter of the number of aircraft it had in 1970. The British Army is expected to be reduced to 82,000 soldiers, the minimum since the Napoleonic wars. In 1990 Britain had 27 submarines (excluding those carrying ballistic missiles) and France had 17. The two countries now have seven and six, respectively. And consider that Britain and France are commonly regarded as the only two European countries that still take defense seriously.

Spain today allocates less than 1 percent of GDP to military budget. 75 percent of the Belgian military spending goes to pay army pensions. Many of today’s NATO forces are poorly equipped because much of the money is spent on salaries and benefits. While the United States spends 36 percent of its defense budget on pay and benefits, the majority of NATO members in Europe spend an average of nearly 65 percent.

The NATO Secretary General George Robertson told the truth at the World Economic Forum: “The problem in Europe is that there are too many people in uniform and too few of them are able to go into action”. Belgium, for example, employs hundreds of military barbers, musicians and other useless staff but does not have the money to replace its helicopters. A former spokesman for the Belgian Minister of Defense Andre Flahaut, said it frankly: “I’m not sure that the mission of the military is to fight”.

Fed up with what he had seen, Joseph Ralston, former NATO supreme commander for Europe, defined European armies “fat and redundant”. In 2011, the first military campaign in Libya not guided by the Americans had already demonstrated the limits of European military power. It is no coincidence that this week the Libyan government has turned to the United States to bomb the positions of the Islamic State. While all 28 NATO nations in 2011 approved the Libya mission, less than half participated. “The military capabilities simply are not there”, said the former head of the Pentagon, Robert Gates.

Twenty years ago, at the end of the Cold War, European Allies were contributing one third of the costs for NATO. Today it is only twenty percent.

The Netherlands now invests in defense just 1.15 percent of its gross national product, so that Rob de Wijk, a Dutch defense counsel, told the parliament of the Netherlands that the Dutch are “international freeriders”.

On 11 March 2004, 192 people were killed in a series of terrorist attacks in Madrid. Three days later, the Spanish Socialist leader, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, was elected prime minister. Just 24 hours after the oath, Zapatero ordered the Spanish troops to leave Iraq “as soon as possible”. A monumental victory for radical Islam. Since then, Europe has deployed its boots on the ground not to fight jihadism abroad, such as Isis, but within European countries to protect monuments and civilians.

The current “Opération Sentinels” is the first large-scale military operation within France. For the first time since the end of the Cold War, the number of French soldiers actively deployed in metropolitan France matches those used in overseas operations. There is another worrying fact: of all French soldiers currently engaged in military operations, half of them are deployed on the French roads. Half.

The same figure in Italy: 11,000 Italian soldiers are currently engaged in various military missions and more than half of them are used in the operation “Safe Streets” in Italian cities.

US anti-terrorism officials are so frustrated with the inability of Belgium to face terrorist cells that they compared its security forces to “children”. Until a couple of decades ago, Sweden was militarily strong. Then, a number of decisions based on the belief that wars in Europe were “a thing of the past”, turned Sweden into a defenseless state. According to the Supreme Commander of Sweden, Sverker Göransson, the country is able, at best, to defend itself “in one place for a week”.

At a meeting in Washington with NATO officials and security experts, Robert Gates said that “the pacification of Europe” had gone too far. An example? While the Ukrainian troops were fighting the pro-Russian separatists on the eastern borders of Europe, a German battalion took part in a NATO exercise in Norway. They had no weapons, but the German army, the Bundeswehr, thought well and decided to give the soldiers some broomsticks to be used it as a weapon. The Bundeswehr has helicopters that can not fly, and tanks that can not shoot. And the soldiers will be decreased from 250,000 to 180,000.

Which part of the continent will Europe’s leaders sacrifice to the Islamic State and jihadists as their grandfathers did with Sudetenland to Hitler? The French Islamicized suburbs? Londonistan

Trump and NATO

July 27, 2016

Trump and NATO, Front Page MagazineBruce Thornton, July 27, 2016

trump nato

The Never Trump crowd has found another example of The Donald’s disqualifying ignorance: comments he made about NATO. He has said that our contributions to NATO are “unfair,” that they are “costing us a fortune,” that we are “getting ripped off,” and that they are “getting a free ride.” By the way, Obama in his Atlantic interview also called the Europeans “free riders,” but I don’t recall a lot of sneering at the president for his “alarming” and “dangerous” remarks, as one critic put it.

Trump also implied that he would put the European NATO members’ feet to the fire about meeting the 2006 requirement that they spend 2% of GDP on their militaries, and suggested he would negotiate a new contribution schedule. Few NATO members have met that requirement, which is a violation of Article 3 that requires member states to “maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity to resist armed attack.” According to NATO’s own report, only five countries are estimated to meet the 2% requirement in 2016. France, Germany, Italy, and Spain­­––the first, third, fourth, and fifth largest economies in the EU––are not among them. The richest, Germany, is expected to remain at 1.19%. In contrast, the US will spend 3.9%. As Lord Robertson, NATO Secretary General from 1999-2004, put it, European nations are “military pygmies.”

Critics of Trump are technically correct to say that he exaggerates when he claims that the US pays the “lion’s share” of NATO funding. In fact, the US pays under a fifth (22%). But the complaints about European NATO members, which predate Trump by decades, take into account more salient deficiencies. “Common funding,” of which the US covers a fifth, is “used to finance NATO’s principal budgets: the civil budget (NATO HQ running costs), the military budget (costs of the integrated Command Structure) and the NATO Security Investment Programme (military capabilities),” according to NATO. In other words, mostly institutional bureaucratic infrastructure.

“Indirect spending” covers what each nation voluntarily contributes to an operation. NATO acknowledges the greater share the US spends on indirect spending: “there is an over-reliance by the Alliance as a whole on the United States for the provision of essential capabilities, including for instance, in regard to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; air-to-air refuelling; ballistic missile defence; and airborne electronic warfare.” We could also mention transport aircraft, cruise missiles, and other matériel that the European countries simply don’t have much of. For example, in the 2011 NATO bombing of Libya, there were 246 cruise missiles launched. The US fired 228 of them. At $1.5 million apiece, that adds up to $342 million taxpayer dollars spent to destabilize a country and get four of our citizens killed.

This discrepancy in indirect spending and military capability was already obvious in the 1990’s when NATO intervened in Bosnia and Kosovo to stop a vicious war. During the 1999 crisis in Kosovo, the Europeans had to make “heroic efforts” just to deploy 2% of their two million troops, according to the British foreign secretary. Historian William Shawcross writes of the bombing campaign, “The United States flew the overwhelming majority of the missions, and dropped almost all the precision-guided U.S.-made munitions, and most of the targets were generated by U.S. intelligence.”

So Trump’s complaints, as blustering and exaggerated as they may be, are legitimate. Operations conducted by NATO are overwhelmingly American funded and directed, and NATO is a diplomatic fig-leaf for American power.

No more convincing are the reasons critics give for supporting NATO. The alliance has not prevented “major state conflict since World War II,” as a writer at NRO claims. Given that some 40 million people have died in conflicts since WWII, I’m not sure what “peace” we’re talking about. During the Cold War, the peace between the US and the Soviet Union was kept by nuclear “mutually assured destruction” and millions of American troops, not NATO. Nor was Europe in any condition to fight among themselves. The Europeans were, and still are in many ways, burned out after 30 years of warring, and had neither the will, the morale, nor the belief in anything worth dying for to engage in another war. With their security underwritten by the US, they could spend their money on lavish social welfare programs and la dolce vita. Thinking NATO kept the peace is as preposterous as claiming the EU did.

Then there’s Article 5, the pledge that NATO members will fight for any member state that’s been attacked. Much is made of the only time Article 5 has been invoked, after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Yet all that solidarity and allied good will didn’t stop France and Germany from trying to undermine the US when it tried to get the UN to sanction the war in 2003 on Saddam Hussein, who had violated 16 UN resolutions and the formal terms ending the 1991 Iraq War. Despite the consensus of American and European intelligence agencies that Hussein had WMD stockpiles, France and Germany took the lead in lobbying the Security Council to oppose the authorization to use force against Iraq.  Germany’s ambassador to the UN Council pressured members like Mexico and Chile to vote against the US. Worse yet, France and Germany, along with Belgium, formally objected to a proposal for NATO to send defensive equipment to Turkey, which wanted assurances that it would be supported by its fellow NATO members if attacked for supporting the war against Hussein.

This behavior of NATO allies did not reflect principle, but national interests and politics. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was running for re-election, and found reflexive German anti-Americanism and pacifism a convenient distraction from his terrible economic record. France had grubbier reasons in addition to its own ressentiment towards the US––renewing the arm sales to Iraq and oil development contracts it had enjoyed for years before the war, and could resume once the sanctions on Hussein were lifted, something France was actively pursuing. As Shawcross summarized, “The long friendship with Saddam, commercial considerations, the response to le défi Américain, and concern over the reactions of France’s Muslims––all these played a part in [President Jacques] Chirac’s calculations in the summer of 2002.”

The importance put on Article 5 forgets that, as George Washington said, “It is a maxim founded on the universal experience of mankind, that no nation can be trusted farther than it is bound by its interests.” NATO members have made and in the future will make decisions based on each nation’s estimation of its interests. So there’s no guarantee that invoking Article 5 would lead to meaningful NATO member support. And given the weakness of their militaries, just how much actual rather than rhetorical support could the Europeans provide in the event of an attack? How many battle carrier groups does NATO possess? The Europeans can’t even afford cruise missiles.

Finally, the arguments for NATO are predicated on an either-or fallacy. If we don’t have the NATO alliance and the benefits it supposedly brings for collective security, then we’ll have nothing. But of course, if NATO disappeared tomorrow, the US would quickly sign bilateral and multilateral defense agreements with individual countries or groups of countries, including some current NATO members. The argument that without NATO our security would be endangered is as fallacious as the argument of the Remain faction in England that leaving the EU would put the UK in danger. A country as rich and powerful as the US will find no dearth of countries eager to bandwagon with it.

Trump’s critics continue to search for dubious reasons to justify sitting out the election or even voting for Hillary. There may be many reasons not to vote for Trump, but criticizing NATO isn’t one of them.

Bangladesh: ISIS pays Italy back for role in Libya

July 3, 2016

Bangladesh: ISIS pays Italy back for role in Libya, DEBKAfile, July 3, 2016

Dhaka_high_powered_Dragunov_sniper_1.7.16

The Islamic State struck the West again on June 1, when it activated a local Bangladeshi cell for a murderous, hostage-taking attack on the Artisan Bakery and O’Kitchen Restaurant, a favorite haunt of foreign visitors near the diplomatic zone of Dakha, the capital. A large contingent of Italian businessmen dining there that night was specifically targeted by ISIS in revenge for the Rome government’s military intervention in the campaign to eject the Islamists from Libya.

DEBKAfile intelligence and counter terror sources note that the long Islamist arm reached into the Indian subcontinent, 7,000km away, to settle its score with Italy, rather than sending its killers by the obvious route from the ISIS capital Sirte in Libya to Italy across 1,200km of Mediterranean Sea. This tactic saved them the risk of running the gauntlet of the Italian Navy boats which are fanned out across the Sidra Gulf to staunch the flow of migrants (an important source of income for ISIS) and intercept terrorists heading for attack in Europe.

Bangladesh is the world’s second largest manufacturing center after China for the major Western fashion houses, netting each year 26.5 Billion USD, 75 pc of its foreign currency earnings. Among the important Italian fashion houses manufacturing in Bangladesh are Prada, Milan, and Benetton.

Italian special operations contingents are the largest Western force operating on several fronts in Libya since early January. They are fighting to capture the key port town of Sirte together with British and US special forces and alongside local Libyan forces.

On April 29, DEBKAfile reported: “ISIS fighters smashed a force of Italian and British Special Ops troops on Wednesday, April 27 in the first battle of its kind in Libya. This battle will result in the delay of the planned Western invasion of Libya, as the encounter proved that European forces are not ready for this kind of guerilla warfare. The sources also said the planners of the invasion were surprised by the high combat skills of the ISIS fighters.”

The Bangladesh attack was therefore not the first contretemps suffered by Italy in its fight on Islamist terror.

Inside Libya, the fighting continues unresolved for lack of air support. The US, Italy, France and the UK cannot agree on which of them will supply air cover for the ground forces battling for Sirte and which will assume command.

In early June, overall command of the campaign was given to NATO. That decision did not break the allied impasse either, because its members remained at loggerheads over respective air force contributions, provision of the logistic intelligence required for aerial operations and, lastly, funding.

Due to insufficient air cover, western and Libyan special forces are stuck in the parts of Sirte they have captured, but cannot advance towards the city’s center or root out the ISIS fighters.

The fact that ISIS was able to operate a terror cell in far-away Bangladesh to strike a counterblow in the battle in Northern Africa, testified to the global scope of the terror organization’s command and communication reach.

Just like the November 2015 Paris attacks, the terrorists were in telephone contact with their masters in the Middle East, once in a while sending pictures of the victims they murdered inside the restaurant.

In the attack, the terrorists killed 9 Italian businessmen, 7 Japanese businessmen, one US citizen, 3 local citizens, and one Indian.

The hostages were executed by beheading with machetes.

The counter terrorism sources report that, just as in the terror attacks in Brussels, Paris and Istanbul, the attackers in Dakha were previously known to local security and intelligence agencies, at least five of the seven terrorists were known to the Bangladesh security agencies, who claimed they were unable to stop them.

The Great Western Retreat

May 4, 2016

The Great Western Retreat, Gatestone InstituteGiulio Meotti, May 4, 2016

♦ Of all French soldiers currently engaged in military operations, half of them are deployed inside France. And half of those are assigned to protect 717 Jewish schools.

♦ This massive deployment of armed forces in our own cities is a departure from history. It is a moral disarmament, before a military one.

♦ Why does anyone choose to fight in a war? Civilized nations go to war so that members of today’s generation may sacrifice themselves to protect future generations. But if there are no future generations, there is no reason whatever for today’s young men to die in war. It is “demography, stupid.”

On March 11, 2004, 192 people were killed and 1,400 wounded in a series of terrorist attacks in Madrid. Three days later, Spain’s Socialist leader, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, was elected prime minister. Just 24 hours after being sworn in, Zapatero ordered Spanish troops to leave Iraq “as soon as possible.”

The directive was a monumental political victory for extremist Islam. Since then, Europe’s boots on the ground have not been dispatched outside Europe to fight jihadism; instead, they have been deployed inside the European countries to protect monuments and civilians.

Opération Sentinelle” is the first new large-scale military operation within France. The army is now protecting synagogues, art galleries, schools, newspapers, public offices and underground stations. Of all French soldiers currently engaged in military operations, half of them are deployed inside France. And half of those are assigned to protect 717 Jewish schools. Meanwhile, French paralysis before ISIS is immortalized by the image of police running away from the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during the massacre there.

1578French soldiers guard a Jewish school in Strasbourg, February 2015. (Image source: Claude Truong-Ngoc/Wikimedia Commons)

You can find the same figure in Italy: 11,000 Italian soldiers are currently engaged in military operations and more than half of them are used in operation “Safe Streets,” which, as its name reveals, keeps Italy’s cities safe. Italy’s army is also busy providing aid to migrants crossing the Mediterranean.

In 2003, Italy was one of the very few countries, along with Spain and Britain, which stood with the United States in its noble war in Iraq — a war that was successful until the infamous US pull-out on December 18, 2011.

Today, Italy, like Spain, runs away from its responsibility in the war against the Islamic State. Italy’s Defense Minister Roberta Pinotti ruled out the idea of Italy taking part in action against ISIS, after EU defense ministers unanimously backed a French request for help.

Italy’s soldiers, stationed in front of my newspaper’s office in Rome, provide a semblance of security, but the fact that half of Italy’s soldiers are engaged in domestic security, and not in offensive military strikes, should give us pause. These numbers shed a light not only on Europe’s internal terror frontlines, from the French banlieues to “Londonistan.” These numbers also shed light on the great Western retreat.

US President Barack Obama has boasted that as part of his legacy, he has withdrawn American military forces from the Middle East. His shameful departure from Iraq has been the main reason that the Islamic State rose to power — and the reason Obama postponed a military withdrawal from Afghanistan. This US retreat can only be compared to the fall of Saigon, with the picture of a helicopter evacuating the U.S. embassy.

In Europe, armies are no longer even ready for war. The German army is now useless, and Germany spends only 1.2% of GDP on defense. The German army today has the lowest number of staff at any time in its history.

In 2012, Germany’s highest court, breaking a 67-year-old taboo against using the military within Germany’s borders, allowed the military to be deployed in domestic operations. The post-Hitler nation’s fear that the army could develop again into a state-within-a-state that might impede democracy has paralyzed Europe’s largest and wealthiest country. Last January, it was revealed that German air force reconnaissance jets cannot even fly at night.

Many European states slumber in the same condition as Belgium, with its failed security apparatus. A senior U.S. intelligence officer even recently likened the Belgian security forces to “children.” And Sweden’s commander-in-chief, Sverker Göranson, said his country could only fend off an invasion for a maximum of one week.

During the past ten years, the United Kingdom has also increasingly been seen by its allies — both in the US and in Europe — as a power in retreat, focusing only on its domestic agenda. The British have become increasingly insular – a littler England.

The UK’s armed forces have been downsized; the army alone is expected to shrink from 102,000 soldiers in 2010 to 82,000 by 2020 – its smallest size since the Napoleonic wars. The former head of the Royal Navy, Admiral Nigel Essenigh, has spoken of “uncomfortable similarities” between the UK’s defenses now and those in the early 1930s, during the rise of Nazi Germany.

In Canada, military bases are now being used to host migrants from Middle East. Justin Trudeau, the new Canadian prime minister, first halted military strikes against ISIS, then refused to join the coalition against it. Terrorism has apparently never been a priority for Trudeau — not like “gender equality,” global warming, euthanasia and injustices committed against Canada’s natives.

The bigger question is: Why does anyone choose to fight in a war? Civilized nations go to war so that members of today’s generation may sacrifice themselves to protect future generations. But if there are no future generations, there is no reason whatever for today’s young men to die in war. It is “demography, stupid.”

Spain‘s fertility has fallen the most — the lowest in Western Europe over twenty years and the most extreme demographic spiral observed anywhere. Similarly, fewer babies were born in Italy in 2015 than in any year since the state was founded 154 years ago. For the first time in three decades, Italy’s population shrank. Germany, likewise, is experiencing a demographic suicide.

This massive deployment of armed forces in our own cities is a departure from history. It is a moral disarmament, before a military one. It is Europe’s new Weimar moment, from the name of the first German Republic that was dramatically dismantled by the rise of Nazism. The Weimar Republic still represents a cultural muddle, a masterpiece of unarmed democracy devoted to a mutilated pacifism, a mixture of naïve cultural, political reformism and the first highly developed welfare state.

According to the historian Walter Laqueur, Weimar was the first case of the “life and death of a permissive society.” Will Europe’s new Weimar also be brought down, this time by Islamists?