Posted tagged ‘European security’

Orban: “Europe must regain sovereignty from the Soros empire,’ build border wall to stop ‘Muslimized Europe’

July 23, 2017

Orban: “Europe must regain sovereignty from the Soros empire,’ build border wall to stop ‘Muslimized Europe’ Jihad Watch

(Please see also, The Jewashing of George Soros. — DM)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been long known to oppose allowing Muslim migrants into his country. Consequently, Hungary has experienced no “terror.” Nor has Poland, which has also restricted Muslim migration.

In 2015, Orban stated that Europe was in a “grip of madness” and warned that its “Christian identity” was threatened. Two years later, Europe has found itself in a crisis, with Sweden near civil war, Germany in dire straits with spiraling crime and billions of dollars of debt (which is still rising), and France suffering a series of deadly jihad massacres.

Back in April, Hungary announced its intention to build a second border wall to keep out migrants. Orban said at the time that “the first fence was a quick solution from the government, but not a perfect one as human traffickers come equipped with tools to cut it.” He called the new “high-tech” fence “far more serious and absolutely reassuring.”

Now Orban is rightly “calling on European nations to end their association with billionaire open-borders financier George Soros.” Orban once accused Soros of being the “strongest example of those who support anything that weakens nation states, they support everything that changes the traditional European lifestyle….These activists who support immigrants inadvertently become part of this international human-smuggling network.” In other words, Soros — who has declared himself to be “some kind of god,” and who “broke the bank of England,” benefits immensely from disrupting nation states.

Orban — who has been leading central European countries against mass immigration — highlighted his vision to save Europe from ultimate destruction via the hijrah:

In order for Europe to be able to live, it has to win back its sovereignty from the Soros Empire… Once this is done, migrants must be taken back outside the EU. It sounds strict, but those who came illegally, must be transported back.

“Orban: ‘Europe Must Regain Sovereignty From The Soros Empire’, Build Border Wall to Stop ‘Muslimized Europe,’” by Oliver JJ Lane, Breitbart, July 22, 2017:

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has made an impassioned defence of European values and identity at the Bálványos Summer University camp in Romania Saturday, calling on European nations to end their association with billionaire open-borders financier George Soros.

Speaking at the 28th Bálványos Open University camp Saturday, which was this week was hailed as “one of the most important discussion forums of the Hungarian community” by Hungary’s deputy Prime Minister, Orban contributed to an apparently new tradition of the Hungarian PM using the event as a launch pad for pro-European rhetoric and policy.

Hitting out at the Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros, who stands accused by the Hungarian government of using his vast wealth to fund pro-mass migration organisations to create a “new, mixed, Muslimized Europe”, Orban said Brussels was in an “alliance against the people’s will” with the financier.

Laying out his vision for a future Europe without the influence of Soros, Orban said: ““In order for Europe to be able to live, it has to win back its sovereignty from the Soros Empire… Once this is done, migrants must be taken back outside the EU. It sounds strict, but those who came illegally, must be transported back,” Prime Minister Orbán said. “We have to admit that the European continent cannot remain unprotected.”

Discussing immigration to Hungary in a speech that came just days after his government announced the total requests submitted for Hungarian citizenships had hit one million, Orban said he would continue to oppose migrants “who could change the country’s cultural identity”.

As long as I remain the prime minister, the fence will stay in place. We will protect Hungary and Europe.

We can never be in solidarity with ideals, peoples and ethnic groups who set out with the goal to change European culture… because the end result is collapse……

Recognising that other Western and European nations were taking many migrants and seeing their cultures change as a result, Orban declared his nation’s borders open to like minded European, declaring that Hungary is a place where “Western European Christians will always be able to find security”….

Trump’s Warsaw Uprising

July 6, 2017

Trump’s Warsaw Uprising, PJ MediaRoger Kimball, July 6, 2017

President Donald Trump delivers a speech at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle, Thursday, July 6, 2017, in Warsaw. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

If you want to know why Donald Trump will go down in history as a great president, listen to (or read, when it is available) his speech in Krasinski Square, Warsaw today.

Yes, there is a lot of the usual diplomatic persiflage: “Thank you, President Duda. Thank you, Poland.” But be an adult and distinguish the gem from the setting. While the anti-Trump press was busy running stories warning about “unease in Brussels” over Trump’s visit to Poland, Trump once again totally outflanked his critics.  Those who have ears, let them hear:

  1. The United States is absolutely committed to securing Poland’s access to alternative sources of energy.  Now, to whom do you think that was addressed?  What country would use access to oil and gas as political blackmail (do what we say or you can’t warm your homes, light your streets, run your factories)? Who would do such a thing?
  2. The United States is absolutely committed to its trans-Atlantic partnership. That partnership, said Trump in his aspirational mode, has never been stronger: suitably translated, that means that he wishes to assure that it will never be stronger.  It was a proffered hand.  Will the EU bureaucrats reach out and grasp it?
  3. Speaking of bureaucrats, Trump also—mirabile dictu—warned about “steady creep of government bureaucracy” that, left unchecked, saps a people’s will and makes the flourishing of individual initiative, the very marrow of freedom, impossible.  This was a direct kick against the administrative state: I like to see it. Darin the Swamp.
  4. Trump reaffirmed his absolute commitment to Article 5 of the NATO agreement — the bit that pledges members to “collective defense”: an attack on one member is an attack on all. He praised Poland for stepping up to meet its statutory financial commitment to NATO and urged other European countries to do the same. A strong NATO means a strong Europe.
  5. Trump reaffirmed his commitment to battle against “radical Islamic terrorism” and other forms of extremism and highlighted his call in Riyadh in May for Muslim countries to step up and help quash the violence of jihad.
  6. He noted other challenges faced by the West, including cyber-warfare and Russia’s “destabilizing activities” in Ukraine, Syria, and Iran.
  7. But the best part came about three-quarters of the way through.  After reminding his audience about the million people who gathered to hear John Paul II celebrate Mass in 1979, he asked: what did the people want? Answer: “We want God.” This led into the heart of Trump’s speech.  The prerequisite for the success of Western civilization is not material riches. Economic prosperity and military might on their own are not sufficient. The critical leaven is the confidence in core Western values: such things as free speech, the equality of women, respect for individual rights, the rule of law, the affirmation of faith and family.  Hence, the “fundamental question” facing Western nations today is whether the people continue to nurture the cultural self-confidence in those fundamental values. If they do, the West is unbeatable. If those values dissipate, the West is lost.  “As long as we know our history,” Trump said, “we will know how to build our future.” Trump spent a lot of time in his speech rehearsing Poland’s heroic resistance to Nazi atrocities in the Warsaw uprising and its equally heroic resistance to Soviet aggression during and after the war. Not since Ronald Reagan has an American president gone so clearly to the nub of what makes the West great and what threatens that greatness.

Europe Surrenders to Radical Islam

June 24, 2017

Europe Surrenders to Radical Islam, Gatestone Institute, Guy Millière, June 24, 2017

(The suicide watch can be canceled. Formerly Great Britain and Much of Europe appear to be dead. — DM

Britain — in spite of the Brexit referendum and even though it is more undermined by Islamization than most other European countries — is fully imbued with a European, defeatist state of mind that corrodes its existence and is present throughout Europe.

British political commentator Douglas Murray writes in his important new book, The Strange Death of Europe: “Europe is committing suicide. Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide”. He then wonders if the Europeans will agree to go along with what is happening. For the moment, it seems, the answer is yes.

**********************************

In spite of three attacks in three months, Britain does not seem to be choosing the path of vigilance and determination. June is not even over but the media barely talk about terrorism any more.

Then, in the early hours of June 19, a man who acted alone drove a van into a crowd of Muslims leaving Finsbury Park Mosque in London: the main “threat” to the British right now was soon presented in several newspapers as “Islamophobia”.

Decolonization added the idea that the Europeans had oppressed other peoples and were guilty of crimes they now had to redeem. There was no mention of how, throughout history, recruits to Islam had colonized the great Christian Byzantine Empire, Greece, Sicily, Corsica, North Africa and the Middle East, most of the Balkans and eastern Europe, Hungary, northern Cyprus and Spain.

While most jihadist movements were banned by the British government, more discreet organizations have emerged and demurely sent the same message. The Islamic Forum for Europe, for example, depicts itself as “peaceful”, but many of those it invites to speak are anything but that. The Islamic Human Rights Commission uses the language of defending human rights to disseminate violent statements against the Jews and the West.

London, June 5, 2017. A minute of silence is held at Potters Field Park, next to the City Hall, to pay tribute to the victims of the London Bridge jihadist attack three days before. Those who came have brought flowers, candles and signs bearing the usual words: “unity”, “peace” and “love”. Faces are sad but no trace of anger is visible. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, a Muslim, gives a speech emphasizing against all evidence that the killers’ ideas have nothing to do with Islam.

A few hours after the attack, Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May also refuses to incriminate Islam, but dares to speak of “Islamic extremism”. She was immediately accused of “dividing” the country. On election day, June 8, her Conservative party lost the majority in the House of Commons. Jeremy Corbyn, a pro-terrorist, “democratic socialist”, who demands the end of British participation in the campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS), led the Labour party to thirty more seats than it had earlier. In spite of three attacks in three months, Britain does not seem to choose the path of vigilance and determination. June is not even over but the media barely talk about terrorism any more. A devastating fire destroyed a building in North Kensington, killing scores of residents. Mourning the victims seems to have completely erased all memory of those killed in the terrorist attacks.

Then, in the early hours of June 19, a man who acted alone drove a van into a crowd of Muslims leaving Finsbury Park Mosque in London: the main “threat” to the British right now was soon presented in several newspapers as “Islamophobia”.

The United Kingdom is not the main Muslim country in Europe, but it is the country where, for decades, Islamists could comfortably call for jihad and murder. Although most jihadist movements were banned by the British government, more discreet organizations have emerged and demurely spread the same message. The Islamic Forum for Europe, for example, depicts itself as “peaceful”, but many of those it invites to speak are anything but that. One was Anwar al-Awlaki, who for years planned al-Qaeda operations until he was killed in Yemen in 2011 in an American drone strike. The Islamic Human Rights Commission uses the language of defending human rights to disseminate violent statements against Jews and the West.

The most flamboyant radical preachers have all but disappeared. The most famous among them, Anjem Choudary, was recently sentenced to five years and six months in prison for his open support of the Islamic State, but hundreds of imams throughout the country continue similar work. No-go zones, forbidden to the “infidels”, continue to grow in big cities, and sharia courts continue to dispense a form of justice parallel to, but different from, the national one. Khuram Shazad Butt, one of the three London Bridge terrorists, could raise the Islamic State flag in front of cameras, be the main character of a documentary on jihad in Britain and still be considered “low priority” by the police. Salman Abedi, the Manchester killer, travelled to Libya and Syria for training before he decided to act; he could easily cross borders without being stopped.

The most famous of Britain’s radical Islamic preachers, Anjem Choudary (pictured holding the microphone), was recently sentenced to five years and six months in prison for his open support of the Islamic State, but hundreds of imams throughout the country continue similar work. (Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Attempts to sound an alarm are rare, and quickly dismissed. Left-wing British politicians long ago chose to look the other way and indulge in complicity. Conservatives did not do much to help, either: after the uproar sparked by Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech in 1968, British conservatives avoided the subject and became almost as complacent as their political opponents. In 2002, while portraying Islamism as the “new Bolshevism”, Margaret Thatcher noted that “most Muslims deplore” terrorism. She described the “jihadist danger” without saying a single word on radical Muslims spreading Islamism in her own country.

In 2015, David Cameron said, “We need far more Muslim men and women at the head of British companies, more Muslim soldiers at the highest command posts, more Muslims in parliament, Muslims in a position of leadership and authority”. He did not mention those who were joining jihad in London even as he was speaking.

When he was at the head of Britain’s UKIP party, Nigel Farage said that there is a Muslim “fifth column” in the country. He was ferociously criticized for these words. Paul Weston, chairman of the GB Liberty party, was arrested by the police in 2014 for reading in public a text on Islam written by Winston Churchill. One wonders how Churchill would be regarded today.

Britain — in spite of the Brexit referendum and even though it is more undermined by Islamization than most other European countries — is fully imbued with a European, defeatist state of mind that corrodes its existence and is present throughout Europe.

At the end of World War II, Europe was exhausted and largely destroyed. The idea that prevailed among politicians was that it was necessary to make a clean sweep of the past. Nazism was described as the rotten fruit of nationalism and military power, and the only war that seemed to have to be waged was a war against war itself. Decolonization added the idea that the Europeans had oppressed other peoples and were guilty of crimes they now had to redeem. There was no mention of how, throughout history, recruits to Islam had colonized the great Christian Byzantine Empire, Greece, Sicily, Corsica, North Africa and the Middle East, most of the Balkans and eastern Europe, Hungary, northern Cyprus and Spain. Cultural relativism gained ground. The anti-Western revision of history gradually gained ground in media, culture, politics and education.

Immigrants from the Muslim world arrived in increasing numbers. They were not encouraged to integrate or respect the countries to which they came. In school, their children were told that European powers had misbehaved towards the Muslim world and that Muslim culture was at least as respectable as the Western one, maybe even more

Muslim districts emerged. Radical Islam spread. Whole neighborhoods came under the control of gangs and imams.

When violence erupted and riots took place, European politicians chose to placate them. European populations sometimes tried to resist, but they were constantly told that criticism of immigration and Islam is “racist”. They were intimidated, pushed to shut up.

What is happening now in the United Kingdom and elsewhere in Europe is merely a continuation.

European political leaders all know that radical Islam has swept throughout the continent, that hundreds of Muslim areas are under Islamic control, that thousands of potential jihadists are there, hidden among the immigrants and ready to murder, and that the police are overwhelmed.

They know that radical Islam has declared war on the Western world and that it is a real war. They see that they are prisoners of a situation they no longer control and that reversing the course of events would involve drastic actions they are not ready to take, such as closing thousands of mosques, taking back lost territories by force, arresting thousands of suspects, and deporting foreign jihadists.

They are aware that an apparently unstoppable replacement of population is underway in Europe and that there will be more attacks. They speak as if to limit the damage, not prevent it.

European populations also see what is happening. They watch as entire areas of European cities become foreign zones on European soil; they view the attacks, the wounded, the corpses. It seems as if they have simply lost the will to fight. They seem to have chosen preemptive surrender.

British political commentator Douglas Murray writes in his important new book, The Strange Death of Europe: “Europe is committing suicide. Or at least its leaders have decided to commit suicide”. He then wonders if the Europeans will agree to go along with what is happening. For the moment, it seems, the answer is yes.

Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.

A bloodied ISIS staggers on

March 26, 2017

A bloodied ISIS staggers on, Israel Hayom, Prof. Eyal Zisser, March 26, 2017

(According to the first sentence in the article, “Europe is learning the hard way what Israel learned decades ago.” If so, Europe must be an extremely slow learner. More likely, it resembles a terminally ill lung cancer victim who continues to smoke cigarettes and to inhale the smoke in hopes that it will cure him. Please see also, Islam, Not Christianity, is Saturating Europe. — DM)

Europe is learning the hard way what Israel learned decades ago. The war on terror is an ongoing struggle with ups and downs, and always painful failures. This fight requires patience and determination. There is no magic knockout punch, not by a spectacular military operation in the Syrian hinterlands or the assassination of some terrorist cell or another in a Paris or London suburb. A fight such as this can go on for years, as the reality prevalent in Europe is not about to change.

An equally important lesson, which Europe is also about to learn, is that terror constantly changes shape. In the past, al-Qaida spearheaded the waves of terrorist attacks in Europe. Now Islamic State has taken the reigns, and we can assume that if it fades and disappears, another Islamist group will take its place. The name and the headlines will change, to be sure, but the ideology will remain the same; the targets will continue to be innocent civilians across Europe, and the attackers will continue to be the same Muslim youths so enraptured by religious madness. It will be no different than our experience in Israel.

The terrorist attack perpetrated by Islamic State in London came on the heels of stinging defeats in its strongholds in Syria and Iraq. The organization’s dream of establishing an Islamic caliphate is on the verge of falling apart with the approaching fall of its government centers in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria, which serves as its capital. The organization has already lost nearly half the territory it once held, and the signals being sent by the new administration in Washington point to U.S. President Donald Trump’s willingness and even determination to send American troops into the fray to fight the organization in a decisive manner.

Islamic State’s defeat will apparently induce a monumental battle between the winners — Iran and its allies — on one side, and Turkey and the moderate Arab states on the other. Iran, to be certain, will try filling the void left by Islamic State by establishing a land corridor from Tehran to Beirut. Its adversaries, meanwhile, will try preventing the Islamic republic from achieving its goals. All this, while Russia and the U.S. will watch from the sidelines and perhaps even fan the flames in order to advance their own interests in the region.

What is important to understand, however, is that the defeat of Islamic State and the fall of the country it created in the Middle East will not be the end of the story, not for the organization itself and certainly not for the ideology it espouses. We must keep in mind that Islamic State is first and foremost an extremist ideology, which enjoys support from local populations in the Middle East and from Muslim communities across the globe.

It is also an organization that rallies support from disenfranchised populations in the region — which feel persecuted by their centralized governments — whether these are Sunnis in Iraq or eastern Syria, or Bedouin tribes in the Sinai Peninsula. Thus, even if the state it created in eastern Syria and northern Iraq crumbles, we can assume Islamic State will withdraw deep into the desert from which it came and shift to operating as a ruthless underground organization that still enjoys support from local populations. Case in point, in Sinai the group continues to operate successfully despite being pummeled by Egypt.

Islamic State also has other areas within which it can operate, such as Libya or Yemen, where it has established footholds under the cover of the civil wars persisting there unabated. There has been a great deal of speculation recently over the possibility that the group could transfer its government centers to these places. Finally, sentiment for the organization and its ideas will continue to inspire and compel Muslim youths from across the globe to carry out terrorist attacks. Other radical Islamist organizations, which are more than willing to pick up where Islamic State ends, are also vying for the hearts and minds of these youths.

The waves of terror, therefore, will continue crashing into Europe, despite all the efforts to stop them and despite the military successes against Islamic State’s leaders and commanders in Syria and Iraq. Yet the fight must remain unrelenting, as this is the nature of the war against terror. It is the only way to ensure normal life in Europe. As the Israeli experience teaches, this should be the goal, even with the knowledge that terror has not been completely defeated.

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.

**************************

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.

Europe’s Terror Challenges: The Returnee Threat

October 19, 2016

Europe’s Terror Challenges: The Returnee Threat, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Abigail R. Esman, October 19, 2016

(Please see also, Sweden: Returning Islamic State jihadis to get free housing, driver’s license, tax benefits. — DM)

1469-1

Another week, another barrage of headlines illustrating the depth of Europe’s terror threat. The following examples came during a 24 hour window earlier this month: “Schiphol Airport Was Possibly A Target Of Terror Cell That Attacked Paris;” “Police In Brussels Stabbed In Possible Terror Attack;” and “MI5 Missed Chance To Foil Paris And Brussels Attacks.”

It is news to no one that Islamic terrorism is everywhere now, and principally in Northern and Central Europe. But the three news stories, and the Schiphol and MI5 revelations in particular, demonstrate the enormity of the challenges now facing European counterterrorism officials.

Intelligence and law enforcement continue to fumble in handling the threat, often through no real fault of their own. The perpetrators are slippery and elusive. Sometimes they travel under false names. Some slip in as refugees, using false passports and false histories. Others are returnees from Syria whose activities and encrypted Telegram communications slide beneath the radar, even as they are being watched. And overtaxed law enforcement agencies have made any number of mistakes, overlooking suspicious behavior or releasing suspects without adequate investigation – in part a consequence of political pressures and the fear of being accused of “Islamophobia” by politicians and the press.

As it turned out, the suspect in the Brussels knife attack was a former Belgian military officer already known to the police for his connections to fighters in Syria. To date, officials have not determined whether he has been to Syria or ISIS territory in Iraq.

But the contact with ISIS and other terror groups in the self-declared caliphate is a common link, not only among the known perpetrators of last November’s Paris attacks and the March attacks in Brussels, but among their alleged colleagues planning to attack Schiphol airport. Those two men, identified as the Tunisian Sofien Ayari and Syrian-Swedish Ossama Krayem, traveled by bus from Brussels to Amsterdam on Nov. 13, the day of the Paris massacre. Both used false IDs. They returned, still undetected, the following day.

Four months later, police raided a safe house used by the terror cell in Schaarbeek, a Brussels neighborhood, and retrieved a laptop computer containing files labeled “13 November.” Included in those files were documents referring not only to “Stade de France” and “Bataclan” – both targets in the Paris killings – but also to a “Schiphol group.”

It is not clear why Ayari and Krayem returned to Brussels without executing an attack on the Dutch airport, and the Dutch National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (NCTV) office will not comment on the case, leaving information sketchy.

But there may be clues: Ossama Krayem was also spotted on CCTV at the Brussels Metro station that was bombed on March 22; his lawyers maintain that he decided against detonating his backpack. Did he panic and back out of the Schiphol attack, as well?

Following a worldwide manhunt, Belgian police arrested Salah Abdeslam, one of the few surviving organizers of the Paris attacks, on March 18 in the Brussels district of Molenbeek. Little notice was given at the time to the other man arrested with him: Sofien Ayari. Three weeks later, after the March 22 attack on Zaventem airport and Brussels’ Maalbeek metro station, police also captured Mohamed Abrini, frequently referred to as “the man in the hat” and a key player in the Zaventem bombing. Also arrested, though also little noted at the time, was Ossama Krayem. All four remain in detention.

While it has likely been known for some time by French prosecutors, the connection to the Schiphol airport plot was only released publicly earlier this month.

Indeed, the latest disclosures show that the Paris-Brussels cell reached as far as Amsterdam and the UK, as members traveled back and forth among all four countries. No one even noticed. Worse, UK officials put a stop to an undercover investigation of a British group with connections to Abrini months before the attacks, citing insufficient evidence. Had that probe continued, it may have led them to Abrini – who frequently visited the British group under orders from Syria-based leaders, experts believe.

Why would that have mattered? Because Abrini was allegedly receiving orders from Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the Paris attacks and of “at least four” foiled terror plots across the country, according to French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve. And Abaaoud, said to be one of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s right-hand men, was regularly going back and forth between Syria and France. According to CNN, Abaaoud allegedly bragged in ISIS’s online magazine, Dabiq, “I was able to leave and come to Sham (Syria) despite being chased after by so many intelligence agencies. My name and picture were all over the news yet I was able to stay in their homeland, plan operations against them, and leave safely when doing so became necessary.”

Experts agree that returnees like Abaaoud form the greatest terror threat right now. It isn’t simply a matter of their ability to bring the lessons of the battlefield – bomb-building, sharp-shooting, and an emotional resistance against killing – to Europe’s villages and cities. It is their ability to recruit new “soldiers for ISIS,” some of whom will follow the returnees back to Syria, and others who will be ordered to remain and carry out attacks at home. And while most European countries have severe penalties for those found guilty of aiding terrorist groups, many returnees, like Abaaoud, simply don’t get caught.

Moreover, because there is rarely hard evidence available of violence or terrorist acts in Syria, convicting returning ISIS fighters for their actions there is more difficult than it might seem. Smart-phone data from some returnees, however, has occasionally offered up photographs, videos, and other material that can be used as evidence. Consequently, their sentences can be comparatively light, less than 10 years in Germany and the UK, and usually lower for those who cooperate with authorities.

Others may not face prison at all. A report by the Dutch intelligence service AIVD points out that many returnees come home disappointed by the realities they encountered. Those who were not seen as fit to fight were reduced to menial jobs like housekeeping, and cannot be said to have engaged in terrorist activity, and so, cannot be convicted.

At the same time, often “even those who did not fight continue to be involved in jihadist circles” when they come home, the AIVD reports. Others, according to a separate report published by the NCTV, join criminal groups, possibly as a way to raise money to send back to Syria and Iraq. And while many appear to retreat, having little social interaction, the NCTV says, this does not mean that they have given up their jihadist visions. Quite likely they are encouraging others through social media, in mosques, and in small groups.

And so the cycle continues.

There is some good news. Through new initiatives, European intelligence bureaus aresharing more information, making it less likely that someone like Abaaoud would be able to cross borders undetected. Such alerts would also bring attention to those returnees and other suspected jihadists might meet with, even in a foreign country (as Abrini met with British jihadists before the Paris strike).

More important are de-radicalization programs, which aim to change either the behavior (known as “disengagement”) or the mindsets of jihadists, essentially challenging and discrediting their radical Islamist ideas. How well these programs work is still uncertain, though experts increasingly agree that altering violent behavior alone is not enough.

Because jihadists work by spreading an ideology, it is that ideology that needs to be attacked. And because prisons are often precisely where radical Islamic ideologies are preached and spread, counterterrorist experts are starting to say that sending jihadists to prison is not sufficient.

“We’ve seen in many other countries that when you arrest one, you create three other extremists,” German deradicalization expert David Kohler told Frontline. “It helps to spread the idea, and proves to the movement that they are right, that they are under attack.”

Granted, this is hardly a short-term strategy. But as the number of people returning from Syria to the West grows, and as their reach into the hearts and minds of Western Muslims deepens, it may be the one chance that we have to bring the cycle of Islamist terror to an end.

With The Terror Threat Growing, Europe Changes Course

August 31, 2016

With The Terror Threat Growing, Europe Changes Course, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Abigail R. Esman, August 31, 2016

Sixteen years ago, when Dutch commentator Paul Scheffer published his “Multicultural Drama” declaring that multiculturalism in the Netherlands had failed, the response was swift and angry. Critics across Europe called him racist, bigoted, nationalistic. Others dismissed his views as mere rants and ramblings of a Leftist in search of a cause.

Not anymore.

With over 275 people killed in 10 Islamic terrorist attacks since January 2015, Europeans harbor no more illusions about the multiculturalist vision: where immigrants from Muslim countries are concerned, that idealist vision has more than just failed. It has produced a culture of hatred, fear, and unrelenting danger. Now, with European Muslim youth radicalizing at an unprecedented rate and the threat of new terrorist attacks, Europe is reassessing its handling of Muslim communities and its counterterrorism strategies and laws.

Among the changes being considered are a reversal of laws that allow radical Muslims to receive handouts from the very governments they seek to destroy; restricting foreign funding of mosques; and stronger surveillance on private citizens.

Chief among the new counterterrorism approaches is a program to coordinate intelligence data among European Union countries – a tactic that has not been pursued with any regularity or such depth before now. But following the November attacks in Paris, the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD initiated weekly meetings among intel agencies from all EU countries, Switzerland, and Norway, with the objective of sharing information, exchanging new clues, insights, and suspect alerts, and discussing improvements to a Europe-wide system of counterterrorism and intelligence.

Through these meetings and the improved shared database, it is now possible for each country to contextualize its intelligence and understand links between individuals and various groups from one city to another – and so, between radicals and radical groups as they pass through a borderless EU.

Concurrently, EU members are now beginning to share information about web sites and even details about private citizens where needed. Most countries had been reluctant to make such exchanges, citing both privacy concerns and the need to protect their sources. Other cooperative efforts include an EU initiative begun in February 2015 to counteract Islamic extremist propaganda. The project received a major €400 million boost in June, indicating the high priority Europe now places on fighting recruitment.

Earlier this month, Europol began a new effort to screen refugees still awaiting placement in Greek asylum centers. According to a report from Europa Nu, an initiative between the European parliament and the University of Leiden, Europol agents “specifically trained to unmask and dismantle terrorists and terror networks” will be dispatched to the camps to try to prevent terrorists from infiltrating the flood of refugees to Europe.

Some EU measures, however, have been based more in politics than counterterrorism, including efforts to crack down on the ability of radical Muslims to benefit from welfare programs. British citizens, for instance, reacted with outrage when it was discovered that the family of “Jihadi John” had received over £400,000 in taxpayer support over the course of 20 years. In Belgium, Salah Abdeslam, the terrorist accused of participating in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, pulled in nearly €19,000 in welfare benefits from January 2014 and October 2015, according to Elsevier. And Gatestone reports that more than 30 Danish jihadists received a total of €51,000 in unemployment benefits all while battling alongside the Islamic State in Syria.

Such concerns have also spread to the United States. Earlier this year, U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-Maine, introduced the “No Welfare For Terrorists Act.”

“Terrorist victims and their families should never be forced to fund those who harmed them,” he said in a statement. “This bill guarantees this will never happen.”

But not all of Europe’s new approaches to the terror threat are being coordinated out of Brussels. Many more, in fact, are country-specific, such as England’s decision to follow an example set earlier by the Netherlands and Spain, separating jailed terrorists and terror suspects from other prisoners. The measures follow others the country adopted after the July 7, 2005 bombings of a London underground and buses, to criminalize “those who glorify terrorism, those involved in acts preparatory to terrorism, and those who advocate it without being directly involved,” the New York Times reported.

In fact, prisons worldwide, including in the U.S., have long been viewed as warm breeding grounds for radicals and potential terrorists. Ahmed Coulibaly, the gunman at the Porte de Vincennes siege in January 2015, was serving time for a bank robbery, for instance, when he met Cherif Koauachi, one of the Charlie Hebdo attackers. Both converted to Islam there. It was in that same prison that the two encountered Djamel Beghal, an al-Qaida operative who attempted to blow up the American Embassy in Paris in 2001.

Hence many experts now argue in favor of isolating those held on terrorism-related charges as a way to stop them from radicalizing their fellow inmates.

Yet British officials have until now resisted creating separate wings for terror suspects, arguing that doing so gives them “credibility” and makes it harder to rehabilitate them. But a recent government report on Islamist extremism in British prisons forced a change in thinking, in part by noting that “other prisoners – both Muslim and non-Muslim – serving sentences for crimes unrelated to terrorism are nonetheless vulnerable to radicalization by Islamist Extremists [sic].”

Similarly, France, the site of the worst attacks of the past two years, also balked at first at the idea of separating terrorists from other prisoners, arguing that doing so “forms a terrorist cell within a prison.” But the Charlie Hebdo attacks of January 2015 changed all that. Now, officials are even going further, looking at other potential sources of radicalization: the mosques.

Shortly after the Bastille Day attack in Nice, Prime Minister Manuel Valls announced plans to ban foreign financing for French mosques as part of an effort to establish a “French Islam,” led by imams trained only in France. France hosts dozens of foreign-financed mosques – many sponsored by Saudi Arabia and Morocco – which preach Salafism, an extreme version of Islam practiced in the Saudi Kingdom and the root of much radical Islamist ideology. And according to a new report on counter-radicalization, about 300 imams come from outside France.

That same report also calls for “regular surveys” of France’s 4-5 million Muslims,according to France 24, in order “to acquire a better understanding of this population in a country where statistics based on religious, ethnic, or racial criteria are banned.”

Both proposed measures have been met with resistance. The “surveys,” as even the report itself notes, are a means of circumventing laws against gathering information on the basis of religious criteria – and so, go against democratic principles. And many French officials also oppose the ban on foreign funding for mosques, arguing that French government intervention in places of worship contradicts separation between church and state. Besides, they claim, radicalization doesn’t take place there anyway.

But Dutch authorities and counter-extremism experts are not so sure. The announcement earlier this month that Qatar would finance an Islamic center in Rotterdam, for instance, set off alarms even among Muslim moderates, including Rotterdam’s Moroccan-born mayor Ahmed Marcouch. There are good reasons for this. The Salafist Eid Charity, which sponsors the project, has been on Israel’s terror list since 2008, according to Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad. Moreover, in 2013 the U.S. Treasury Department accused the charity’s founder, Abd al-Rahman al-Nu’aymi, of providing funding for al-Qaida and its affiliates, and named him a “specially designated global terrorist.”

Plans for the center sound much like those of the now-abandoned plans for New York’s “Ground Zero mosque,” with sports facilities, prayer space, tutoring for students, Islamic child care, and, reports Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, imam training.

Yet the center’s prospective director, Arnoud van Doorn, a convert to Islam and former member of the far-right, anti-Islam political party PVV, insists that any fears about the project are unfounded. “Our organization has nothing to do with extremism,” he told theNRC. “We want only to provide a positive contribution to Dutch society.”

Notably, though, France’s proposal to ban foreign mosque funding and the Qatari backing of the Rotterdam center point to some of the deepest roots of Europe’s radical Islam problem, and, despite all the new initiatives now underway, the greatest challenges to ending it. When Muslim immigrants came to Europe in the 1970s, they carved prayer spaces wherever they could: the backs of community grocery stores, in restaurants and tea rooms. But these soon became too small to handle the growing Muslim population. Mosques – real mosques – would have to be built.

But by whom? The Muslim communities themselves were too poor. Western governments, wedded to the separation of church and state, could not subsidize them with taxpayer funds. And so the door was opened to foreign – mostly Saudi – investment, and the placement of Saudi-trained and Saudi-backed imams in European mosques. Europe had, in essence, rolled out the welcome mat for Salafism.

Now they want to roll it in again. But is it too late? Even as Western intelligence is now uniting to fight radical Islam, Islamic countries are pooling together in Europe to expand it. The result, as Manuel Valls told French daily Le Monde, is that, “What’s at stake is the republic. And our shield is democracy.”

Hence as the number attacks against Western targets increase, many Europeans are coming to understand that preserving the core of that democracy may mean disrupting some of the tenets on which it’s built, like certain elements of privacy, for instance, and religious principles that violate the freedom that we stand for . It is, as it were, a matter of destroying even healthy trees to save the forest. But in this tug-of-war between the Islamic world’s efforts to shape the West, and Western efforts to save itself, only our commitment to the very heart of our ideals will define who wins this fight.