New political parties have been rising in many European countries to oppose established policies of both leftist and conservative governments, particularly policies towards the European Union and immigration.
Most of the new parties are on the Right, but recently some have been formed – or have quite suddenly grown from being inconsequential groupings into forces to be reckoned with – on the Left.
The newly aggressive parties of the Left are mainly in the South, in countries at the receiving end of EU subsidies, angry that the subsidies are not substantial enough.
The new parties of the Right are mainly in the North, in countries at the paying end of the system, angry that they have to subsidize the failing economies of the South.
That sections of the Left should see how badly Europe needs a strategy for survival, should find fault with the EU, and object to unending immigration of dependents into their already hard-pressed welfare states, is a startling development. It means that new political patterns of alignment and opposition are emerging.
In the following article, which we quote from Gatestone, Peter Martino writes about the new parties’ concern with the adverse economic effects of EU membership. He only touches on immigration as a factor in the intensifying discontent which prompts the formation of new political organizations, movements and agendas, but it is in fact quite as hot an issue.
Last week, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) won a landmark victory in the Rochester & Strood by-election. With this win, UKIP secured its second Member of Parliament. The UKIP candidate, Mark Reckless, won 42.1% of the votes, thrashing the Conservatives (34.8%), Labour (16.8%) and the Liberal Democrats (0.9%). It was the first time ever that UKIP stood in Rochester & Strood. The party won votes from all the major parties. The Conservatives lost 14.4% of the votes, Labour 11.7% and the Liberal Democrats a whopping 15.5%.
UKIP is expected to do very well in the British general elections next May. Last month, a poll predicted the party could win up to 25% of the vote in these elections. In the 2010 general elections, the party had only 3.1%.
UKIP stands for the preservation of the Britain’s national identity. It opposes the European Union (EU) and wants Britain to remain a sovereign nation rather than become a state of a federal Europe. The party is also critical of mass immigration, in particular from Eastern Europe. Though Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, carefully avoids the issue of Islam, the party has also become the refuge of voters who worry about Islamization. Above all, however, the party embodies the dissatisfaction of the electorate with the traditional political establishment.
As such, UKIP is part of a broad trend that can currently be perceived all over Western Europe.
In Spain, a poll this week said that Podemos, a brand new party that was established only nine months ago, is currently the largest party in the country with 28.3% of the vote. The governing conservative Partido Popular of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy would finish second with 26.3% and the Socialist Party would get only 20.1%. Three years ago, in the November 2011 general elections, the Partido Popular won 44.6% of the votes.
Unlike UKIP, Podemos is a party that clearly belongs to the left of the political spectrum. Podemos (the Spanish for We can) was founded by “anti-capitalist” academics and trade unionists who want to “oppose the dominating EU politics from the left”. Unlike UKIP, Podemos does not want to abolish the EU. On the contrary, since Spain is receiving billions of euros in EU subsidies, a majority of the Spaniards clearly want their country to remain an EU member state.
However, the party opposes the austerity policies that the EU is imposing on Spain as a prerequisite for the continuation of the flow of EU subsidies. Both the Spanish Socialist Party and Prime Minister Rajoy’s Partido Popular are perceived by voters as implementing the same set of EU-prescribed policies.
In this regard, Podemos does resemble UKIP, which also accuses the British political establishment of simply implementing EU mandated policies. In Britain’s case, the dissatisfaction with the EU stems mostly from British taxpayers having to pay billions to the EU, which are then transferred to countries in the south of Europe [such as Spain -ed], where governments use them to fund welfare programs. In this sense, the rise of leftist tax-and-spend parties (or rather tax-other-countries-and-spend parties), such as Podemos, reinforces the rise of parties such as UKIP in the north of Europe.
Indeed, all along the Mediterranean, parties opposing the EU-mandated austerity policies are growing spectacularly.
One of the keynote speakers at Podemos’ recent first-ever party congress was Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Greece’s neo-communist party Syriza. In last May’s European elections, Syriza became Greece’s biggest party with 26.5% of the votes, ahead of the governing Nea Demokratia party of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras. Syriza draws on the same kind of sentiments as Podemos and is popular for exactly the same reasons.
The same is true of Italy’s Five Star Movement, led by the comedian Beppe Grillo, which, with 21.2% of the vote, became the country’s second largest party in last May’s European elections.
And the same is even true for the Front National of Marine Le Pen in France. Ms Le Pen claims that without the euro, the EU’s common currency, there would be “no need for austerity”. Drawing on anti-EU sentiments, the Front National became the largest French party in last May’s European elections with 24.8% of the vote.
The popularity of these parties is still rising. A recent poll in France revealed that Marine Le Pen might win the next French presidential elections, not just in the first round, but also in the decisive second round. It is the first time ever that the FN leads in a presidential poll against France’s two major parties, the Socialist PS and the Center-Right UMP.
In the countries to the north, however, the popularity of the parties opposing the EU subsidization of the southern countries is rising equally spectacularly.
In the Netherlands, the anti-establishment Party for Freedom (PVV) of Geert Wilders is currently the biggest party in the polls. Wilders has consistently opposed the bailing out of countries such as Greece and Spain with Dutch taxpayers’ money.
In neighboring Germany, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a party established last year to oppose eurozone bailouts, is shaking up politics with its astonishing wins in recent state elections.
In Sweden, the Sweden Democrats (SD), opposing both immigration and the EU, won 13% of the vote in last September’s general elections, but their popularity keeps rising. Last week, an SD spokesman said the party is currently expected to win up to 18% of the vote.
All across Europe, the electorate is deeply dissatisfied and disillusioned with both the Conservative and the Social-Democrat parties of the political establishment. Voters no longer see much difference between the traditional political protagonists, who are perceived as imposing an EU agenda that, for various reasons, is seen as bad for the country.
In Europe judging by the polls, political landslides are on the way.
European governments cannot think of an effective way to deal with the jihadis in their midst.
Take the case of Sweden. We quote from an article in this month’s issue of Commentary by Annika Hernroth-Rothstein. It is titled A Local Story of Global Jihad:
Sweden has long functioned as a hub for international terrorism and has housed members of international terrorist organizations such as Hamas, the Armed Islamic Group, Al Shabaab, Egypt’s Gamaa al-Islamiyya, and the Islamic State. Because membership in foreign terrorist organizations is not illegal, these operatives have largely been left alone.
In some cases, the Swedish government has gone out of its way to help them. In 2002, Swedish jihadist Mehdi Mohammad Ghezali was captured in Afghanistan by American forces. Deemed an enemy combatant, he was incarcerated at Guantánamo Bay. Stockholm immediately launched a campaign to release Ghezali, and in 2004 he was let out. Five years later, he was arrested in Pakistan for collaborating with the Islamic State.
While other European countries have broadened their anti-terrorism policies in order to crack down on terrorist propaganda, Sweden has become a safe haven for websites and publishers that specialize in jihadist material. Additionally, Sweden is home to certain mosques that are funded by foreign countries and known to function as recruitment centers for terrorist organizations. On the island of Hisingen, for instance, the Gothenburg Mosque, in Sweden’s second-largest city, is financed by Saudi Arabia. The Islamic Center in Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city, is funded and owned by the World Islamic Call Society, an Islamist umbrella organization founded by Muammar Qaddafi. With 60,000 members, it’s the largest mosque in Scandinavia. And the Husby Islamic Center, in the Stockholm suburb, was funded by Qatar. The new mosque to be built in Rinkeby, a suburb of Stockholm, is a Qatari undertaking as well.
But Sweden’s most insidious enabling of jihad is achieved through its generous social-benefits system. According to the latest numbers from the Swedish Social Insurance Agency, the average immigrant family in Sweden, consisting of two parents and two children, receives $3,135 per month in benefits. What’s more, these funds are exempt from the country’s standard 33 percent income tax. This may not seem like a lot of money compared with the gargantuan sums we often hear about in cases of international terror financing, but it’s more than enough to do great harm. The Swedish Security Service concluded that the money Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly [a suicide bomber who returned from the Middle east and blew himself up on a Stockholm street] and his wife were given in benefits and loans from the Swedish government was used to finance his trips abroad, where he received terrorist training. The family had no other source of income.
Abdaly, Ghezali, and the country’s approximately 200 other potential militants are manifestations of the larger problem of jihad in Europe. There is no shortage of nightmare stories to attest to this ballooning reality. British citizens who received al-Qaeda training in Afghanistan and Pakistan bombed the London subway in 2005. Mehdi Nemmouche, an ISIS member and French national, fought for jihad in Syria before opening fire on innocents at the Jewish Museum in Brussels this past May. The ISIS executioners who recently beheaded American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning delivered their crazed overtures to human slaughter in native British accents. …
Western leaders are now aggressively pursuing ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but while they chase the bad guys from the edge of town, they risk leaving the door to the house wide open. Above all, it must be remembered that the jihadists’ long-term goal is to strike the West. The war they fight has no borders; the caliphate they seek has no geographic limits.
Europe is slow to connect the dots when they form a discomfiting image. For Sweden, a country that prides itself on the progressive values of openness and inclusivity, the steps necessary to fight a counter-jihad at home are almost too painful to countenance. The Swedish measures now in place amount to a kind of counter-radicalization therapy. … Muslim extremism in faraway lands is a suitable topic for discussion, but addressing the jihadists among us is political kryptonite.
Yet such considerations are meaningless to the jihadists themselves. As Abdaly himself put it: “The Islamic State has lived up to its holy promise; we are here in Europe, and in Sweden. We are a reality, not a fantasy.” In Sweden, Europe’s third-largest contributor to the jihad, we’d do well to take our enemies at their word.
Britain is floundering in a fog of of misdiagnosis just as Sweden is.
We quote from a recent article at Stand for Peace by Sam Westrop:
On September 30, Theresa May, the British Home Secretary, gave a speech at the Conservative Party’s annual conference, in which she outlined the threat posed to Britain by terrorism from abroad and extremism at home.
After giving the customary assurance that the actions of ISIS have no basis in Islam and proffering a quote from the Quran, May boasted of the Government’s record fighting fundamentalism, promised new powers to fight extremist groups and declared her gritty determination to uphold “British values”.
This grandiose speech revealed ambition – albeit mostly May’s own. It did not, however, demonstrate any real progress. The Home Secretary’s effusions were example of a government that has only half-heartedly responded to the problem of extremist ideology. It is a government that likes to talk but fails to act.
The Home Secretary then announced a series of weak measures to be taken in dealing with “extremism” in the organized charities, the media, the internet, schools, prisons, universities.
Sam Westrop rightly concludes:
It appears that the Home Office urgently needs to define “extremism.” This definition should include the smiling Islamist who attends interfaith vigils during the day but propagates anti-Semitism and expresses support for Hamas at night.
Extremism is a dangerous animal, but presently it is being given both the carrot and the stick. As long as we allow the human face of Islamist extremism to subsist, and even flourish, we will continue to churn out radicalized Muslim youth who will choose the Kalashnikov over a university degree. No one claims that the answer to Islamist extremism is easy. The question of extremism, however, is remarkably simple. If only the government would understand.
And the US government, under the leadership of a devotedly pro-Islam president, is trying to pretend that holy warriors are simply breaking US domestic law and need to be tried in civil courts.
We quote from the Guardian:
Irek Hamidullin was arraigned on 12 counts, including providing material support to terrorists, trying to destroy US military aircraft and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction. Half of the charges are punishable by up to life in prison. Attorney general Eric Holder chose not to seek the death penalty …
Hamidullin is the first military detainee from Afghanistan to be brought to the US for trial. His transfer represents the latest attempt by the Obama administration to show that it can use the criminal court system to deal with terror suspects – a move criticized by some Republican lawmakers who believe such cases should be handled by military tribunals.
US officials say Hamidullin is a Russian veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan who stayed in the country and joined the Taliban. He was captured in 2009 after an attack on Afghan border police and US soldiers in Khowst province. He had been held at the US Parwan detention facility at Bagram airfield before being brought to the US. … He became affiliated with the Taliban in 2001.
The indictment says Hamidullin commanded three groups of insurgents that attacked Afghan border police at Camp Leyza, one of six locations the Taliban had identified as possible targets. He directed insurgents armed with anti-aircraft machine guns to fire at US military helicopters responding to the attack, the indictment says, and later used a machine gun to shoot at US troops and Afghan border police assessing damage at the battle site.
Those are clearly acts of war. Hamidullin should be tried by a military tribunal.
What Western governments fail to understand is that their countries are not being subjected to “extremism”, or “terrorism”, but war.
The jihad is indeed global. Jihad means Holy War. Sure, it must be fought in Europe as well as in the Middle East. But it must be recognized as a war everywhere.
Even if European governments found a way to stop and punish jihadi violence in their own countries, the war would go on. At present they are all acting ineffectively. Instead of joyfully letting all Muslim citizens who want to go and fight with IS/ISIS/ISIL go, and refuse them re-entry, and deprive them of their citizenship (as Geert Wilders so rightly recommends), they try to persuade them not to go, and if they return they give them “therapy”, as if Islam were nothing but a nervous breakdown in a few gullible individuals.
It is foolish and dangerous to go on calling every Muslim “holy” warrior a terrorist. It is even more foolish and self-deceiving to call IS/ISIS/ISIL a “terrorist organization”. They are one of the armies of Islam.
Islam is an ideology of world conquest. It is fighting a war against the non-Muslim world.
At the same time there are battles within Islam. Sunni versus Shia is a perpetual conflict. IS/ISIS/ISIL – the Islamic State – is Sunni. When Shia Iran becomes a nuclear power – which will be quite soon with Obama’s help – there will be a second Islamic force against the rest of the world, competing with the Islamic State for the victor’s crown.
Of course the Iranian force with its nuclear weapons will be a thousand times stronger than the Islamic State.
Even if the US-led “coalition ” were to defeat the Islamic State, the war would not stop. It will be kept going on the streets of Western cities in Sweden, Britain, France, Spain, America, until the nuclear bombs of Iran strike – first Israel and then anywhere else they choose.
How should it be dealt with? At the very least the West should treat Islamic states as it did the Soviet Union. Our long war with the USSR was called a Cold War, but there were many places where it was hotly fought. Persons in the West who were loyal to the enemy ideology were tolerated for the most part if they did nothing actively to aid the enemy. When they acted to help the enemy at the expense of their own country, they were put to death – as the Rosenbergs were.
That is the precedent for the West to follow in dealing now with the equally abominable ideology and aggressive intent of Islam.
Call it Islam, call it Hamas, call it ISIS, call it the Muslim Brotherhood, call it BokoHaram; call it the Palestinians; call it the United Nations; call it by the name of any Islamic state; call it the interfaith movement, call it the Left, call it the religion of peace; demonstrate for it in the streets of the capitals of Europe; parade for it in New York and Chicago and Los Angeles; this is the thing itself:
We found the video at christianpost.com. We quote part of the text:
A Christian man in Syria recently had his head brutally hacked off by Islamic militants after being forced to deny his faith and salute Mohammed as “the messenger of God”.
So by Muslim rules he became a Muslim. Islam forbids Muslims to kill Muslims.
The perpetrators themselves filmed the atrocity “for the world to see and broadcast as a warning to ‘everyone like him’.”
In the video that was posted to YouTube with translated captions, the helpless Christian man is surrounded by armed militants wearing masks and he is heard reciting as instructed: “There is no God but God and I testify that Mohammed is the messenger of God.”
The victim did not say “God” but “Allah”. The Christian reporter chooses, like many Christians, to claim that the god of Islam and the god of Christianity are one and the same.
An apparent leader in the group of militants is then heard instructing the group: “No one will shoot him now, do you understand? He will not be killed by shooting because it is merciful for him.”
By which the savage seems to mean that death by shooting would be too merciful for him. He goes on:
“He will be beheaded because he is Kaffir, non-Muslim, sided [with] the government and was not praying at all. Everyone like him will have the same end, beheading,” said the militant.
Then they cut his head off as the Muslim murderers cry ‘Allahu Akbar’.
This is the way the welfare state ends – with whimpers and whistles and bangs.
Interestingly, RT – delivering the message that “Socialism is unaffordable” – is a Russian English-language news channel.