The end of the welfare state? 0

Most west European governments have known for the last thirty years at least that it is impossible to maintain the welfare state. None has had the courage to start dismantling it. No matter what party was in power, whether outrightly socialist or nominally conservative, each successive government tried only to postpone the day of reckoning.

It seems that day has now arrived.

Vasko Kohlmayer writes at Front Page about the eurozone’s ‘skyrocketing debt’ and its likely consequences:

The European Monetary Union lays down strict regulations … The so-called Stability and Growth Pact requires each country’s to hold down its annual budget deficit below 3 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). The Pact also stipulates that any member’s public debt is not to exceed 60 percent of GDP.

This year only one eurozone country is expected to have a budget deficit that falls within the three percent limit. The rest will go over, most by a large margin. Germany, which was the country that lobbied most rigorously for the strict fiscal requirements, was among the first to break them. Greece is currently the leading offender with a deficit that equals 12.7 percent of its GDP. But the figures are generally abysmal throughout the monetary union. Ireland’s deficit, for example, is 11.5 percent, Spain’s 11.4 percent, Portugal’s 9.3 percent.

As far as public debt is concerned the average European ratio is 88% of GDP, nearly 50 percent above the “allowable” limit. The worst offender is Italy whose public debt stands at an astounding 127 percent GDP. Greece’s debt is 113 percent, Belgium’s 105 percent, Germany’s nearly 80 percent. High as these figures are, the reality is probably worse as EU countries routinely use an assortment of accounting tricks to understate their deficits and obligations.

It is becoming increasingly obvious that if the euro is to continue as a viable currency, eurozone states must take decisive measures bring their finances under control. This, however, appears to be a nearly impossible task. Greece shows us why. Shortly after the government announced a package of budget cuts and tax increases the country’s civil servants took part in a nation-wide strike. Plans are afoot for another one next month. At the same time, Greece’s umbrella private sector union is planning an extensive walk-out for the last week of February. The Associated Press observed that the Greek government “may find that unions and voters push back against cutbacks that will take years to show results. With a potential public backlash, their chance to win approval for such measures remains unclear.”

Memories are still fresh of the protests that took place early last year. Angry at cuts in their subsidies, Greek farmers blocked major roads and paralyzed the country. Parts of the nation were thrown into chaos as lines of vehicles stretched for 12 miles or more. Unable to restore order, the prime minister was forced to beg the farmers to remove the roadblocks. “There is an urgent need to free up the roads. A whole society cannot be held hostage,” he pleaded.

This time around far more substantial steps must be taken in order to put Greece’s fiscal house in order. This is certainly not going to sit well with the Greek public and there is fear that things could deteriorate in dramatic fashion. …

The Eurozone … faces a seemingly unsolvable conundrum. Even though it is steeped deeply in debt, almost every serious effort to curtail spending meets with popular rage. The problem is that they cannot have it both ways. It is impossible to have a large welfare state and a sound fiscal house at the same time. It is either one or the other.

Until recently the euro was considered a possible alternative to the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. It was thought that the Monetary Union’s strict guidelines would safeguard its debasement. But it turns out that the Union’s respect for its founding documents is only paper deep. It is now becoming apparent that the disregard will have dire consequences. It may even bring about the break up of the eurozone and the demise of what once seemed like a solid currency.

Given that the United States is taking the same path of unrestrained spending, we would do well to take heed and learn from Europe’s painful lessons.

*NOTE: The eurozone is not the same as the European Union (EU). The European Union has twenty seven members as of this year. The eurozone is made up of those countries within the European Union that use the euro as their sole currency. The eurozone currently has sixteen member states.

The crisis may cause the break-up of the eurozone. Undesirable as this may be for economic reasons, one highly desirable political consequence could be the end of the welfare state as such, with the proof of its unsustainability so incontrovertible that no one – not even Barack Obama – would attempt to resurrect it.

The welfare state pays people not to work, not to produce, not to innovate, not to marry, not to have children – or if they do, not to take care of them themselves.

It may be that the peoples of Europe are dwindling away (which they are) because they have no incentive to beget children and strive to raise them. Or to put it another way, they may be dying out because they have nothing to go on living for.

Posted under Commentary, Europe, Socialism, United States by Jillian Becker on Friday, February 19, 2010

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Europe betrayed 0

Here is an account of how and why twenty million Muslims were imported into Europe, and to what effect.

The information is condensed from Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye’or. (The wording is largely hers, with some added notes and comments of my own – JB.)

1969 France sells 110 Mirage jets to new Libyan dictator, Muammar Qaddafi. Explores with him the concept of a Euro-Arab dialogue. Becomes in the following years a major supplier of arms to many Arab states.

1973 May: London. Conference of Islamic Cultural Centers.  Islamic leaders decide to create, fund and support cultural centres in Europe as ‘a great need was felt [in Europe] for the tenets of Islam’ and such centres would help Muslim communities in Europe play this role [of teaching the tenets of Islam] effectively and fruitfully.’ The Conference also ‘decided to establish the Islamic Council of Europe to serve as an organ of co-ordination among all Islamic institutions and centres.’ It was to ‘propagate the true teachings of Islam throughout Europe.’ Thus there was to be a ‘stepping up of the activities of the Islamic Da’awa [proselytism]’.  To this end, an International Islamic News Agency was to be established, also a Jihad Fund open to subscription ‘with no restrictions’.

The ‘rights’ of immigrants to preserve their beliefs, traditions and national cultures were to be guaranteed by the Europeans. Facilities for the teaching of Arabic were to be ‘improved’. The establishment of a Euro-Arab University was proposed (and initial steps to do so were taken in subsequent years including the founding of the Euro-Arab Business Management School in Granada in 1994).

October 16-17: Kuwait. Mortified by the defeat of Egypt, Syria and Jordan in their war against Israel, the Arab oil-producing countries meet and decide to quadruple the price of oil and to reduce their production of crude oil by 5% each month until Israel withdraws from the territories those three countries lost to Israel in 1967 and failed to recover in 1973. Impose an oil embargo on the US, Denmark, the Netherlands as states friendly to Israel. Sheikh Yamani of Saudi Arabia threatens that the oil states could ‘reduce production by 80%’ and asks the West ‘How could you survive with that?’ In response the US stands firm, France and Germany panic.

November 6: Brussels. Meeting of the EEC nine members. Ignoring objections from Washington, the meeting insists on starting an appeasing approach to the Arab oil states. They issue a joint Resolution based on their dependence on Arab oil, in which they pledge themselves to support the Arabs diplomatically in their conflict with Israel. This was sufficient to induce the Arab states to increase oil supplies and ‘open a dialogue’ (as already conceived in discussions between France and Libya). Thus began a Euro-Arab political solidarity pact that was hostile not only to Israel but also to America.

November 26-27: Georges Pompidou, President of France, and Willy Brandt, Chancellor of West Germany meet. Reaffirm intention to ‘engage in a dialogue with the Arabs’.

November 28: Algiers. Sixth Summit of the Arab Conference. Arab heads of state address a Declaration to the EEC,  noting with interest ‘the first manifestations of a better understanding of the Arab cause by the states of Western Europe’, and setting out Arab political preconditions for the projected dialogue.  The Declaration stresses that the political and economic aspects are interdependent and non-negotiable – ie the supply of oil depends on EEC acceptance of Arab political conditions concerning Israel.

December 15:   Copenhagen. An EEC summit,  called by President Pompidou of France, considers the planning for co-operation between the EEC countries and the Arab League. Four Arab foreign ministers, delegated by the Algiers Arab summit, are invited  to monitor the project. They suggest various strategies in the context of the conditions that the Arab states place on any accord with the EEC.

1974 February 24: Lahore. The Second Islamic Conference, organized by the recently created Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) confirms and elaborates the conditions for co-operation with the EEC.

June 10: Bonn. Britain (which had joined the EEC in 1973, as had Ireland and Denmark), had vetoed the Euro-Arab Dialogue in protest against Holland being under an Arab embargo ‘for being pro-Israeli’, but  the embargo was lifted against Holland, so now  the foreign ministers of the EEC states meet to discuss ‘the Dialogue’.  Areas of co-operation  between Europe and the Arab states include industry and agriculture, science and technology, finance, education, and ‘civil infrastructure’. The Arab states, in other words, are being promised massive transfers of money and know-how with programmes to industrialise and modernise their countries.

Note:  All this was desperately desired by the Arab states, and the provision of it could have been used by Europe as a counter-lever to the oil blackmail which the Arabs had brought to bear on Europe. Furthermore, the Arab oil states needed to sell their oil to Europe, and needed to invest in a thriving European economy. The European governments could have dictated terms. But the EEC, under insistent French leadership, preferred to appease rather than negotiate. The motivation for France was not only commercial. It was a desire to re-acquire a large sphere of influence in the Arab world, in pursuit of an intense ambition to achieve super-power status and so to rival the United States.

July 31: Paris. The first official meeting at ministerial level between the Europeans and the Arabs to discuss the organization of the Dialogue.  An institutionalized structure is created to harmonize and unify the trade and co-operation policies of each of the  EEC countries with the member states of the Arab League.

The EEC founds The European Parliamentary Association for Euro-Arab Cooperation ‘to improve political, cultural, and economic cooperation between Europe and the Arab world’.   Its Executive Committee set to meet regularly every six months.  All the  political parties and groupings of Europe are members of it.  It is to keep in regular contact with European governments, the Presidency of the European Council of Ministers, and the EEC Commission.

September 14-17: Damascus. To meet Arab demands in preparation for the next summit of the Arab Conference, the Association convenes representatives of all the parliamentary parties of the EEC member states except Denmark and resolves, inter alia, to permit the participation of the PLO and its leader, Yasser Arafat, into all negotiations, and  to bring pressure to bear on the United States to shift its Middle East policy in favour of the Arabs. Also to permit Arab countries to export millions of their populations into all the EEC countries, along with their culture and their customs.

October: Rabat. The Seventh Summit of the Arab Conference confirms that the indispensable political preconditions for the Euro-Arab Dialogue have been met by the EEC. The Arabs stress that the interdependence of the political and economic aspects of European-Arab cooperation is not negotiable, ie European oil supplies are dependent on European support for Arab political demands.

A permanent Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD) secretariat of 350 members is created, with its seat in Paris,  for the purpose of promoting economic and political cooperation. The EAD is organized into various committees charged with planning ‘joint industrial, commercial, political, scientific, technical, cultural, and social projects’.  European members are for the most part persons with vested interests in the Arab and Islamic world, whether commercial or in relation to their academic jobs as Arabists and Islamists.

Note: The EEC had been conceived of as an economic institution, dealing with markets, finance, and trade. The Arab states’ pressure for a unified European policy to meet  their political demands were a vital factor in the development of the EEC  from an economic to a political union.

1975 June 10: Cairo. First meeting of The Euro-Arab Dialogue. EEC delegates meet with those of 20 Arab states and the PLO.  The basis of the agreement with Europe is emphasised:  economic deals with Europe in exchange for European alignment with Arab policy on Israel.

With that locked in place, other agreements could follow.

July 24: Rome, and November 27: Abu Dhabi.  EAD meetings. Co-operation extends and deepens.

1976 May 18-20: Luxembourg.  EAD organization and procedures are defined. ‘The Dialogue’ is composed of three organs:

A General Committee – presidency jointly held by heads of Arab and European delegations.  All delegates on both sides are of ministerial and ambassadorial rank.  Purpose, to keep the Dialogue on track. (No wavering on Europe’s part from the founding commitments.) Meetings secret.  No recorded minutes. Can publish summaries of decisions and issue press releases.

A Working Committee. Made up of business experts, economists, oil specialists along with Arab League and EC representatives.  Again, joint Arab League/EC presidency.

A Coordinating Committee.  To co-ordinate the work of various working parties set up by the other committees.

Further EAD meetings (several in Brussels, then in Tunis in February 1977) establish the conditions for an intertwining of Arab and European policies: the establishment of a Palestinian state with Yasser Arafat as its leader; a campaign to bring worldwide political and economic pressure on Israel to force its withdrawal to its 1949 armistice border [as a step in a policy of ‘stages’ with the ultimate aim of extinguishing the State of Israel]; an international boycott of Israel and opposition to any separate peace treaties; promotion of Anti-Israel media propaganda.

Note: The Arabs at this point had not got all they wanted from Europe. They had to accept some significant failures – attested to by the fact that Israel continued to exist, which is nothing short of astonishing in the light of the jihad campaign working so persistently and in most respects triumphantly against it – but they contented themselves temporarily with partial success.

Meetings of the EAD committees continue into 1978.  Then the Camp David agreement between Egypt and Israel acts as a brake on EAD activity.

1980 The EAD meets again when the Europeans are worried about declining oil production in Iran, and the Arabs want to complain to Europe about the Israeli-Egyptian treaty.

1981 January 25-28: Mecca and Taif. The Third Islamic Summit Conference issues a Declaration of Holy Jihad ‘as the duty of every Muslim, man or woman, ordained by the Shariah and the glorious traditions of Islam; to call upon all Muslims, living inside or outside Islamic countries, to discharge this duty by contributing each according to his capacity in the cause of Allah Almighty, Islamic brotherhood, and righteousness.’

One of the chief aims the declaration specifies is ‘to save Al-Quds’ – ie to take Jerusalem into Arab possession. To this aim, through the EAD, Europe accedes, co-operating with the Arab campaign to isolate and vilify Israel and  helping to deliver the United Nations as an  instrument of Arab jihadic purpose.

Note: The EC/EU’s moral commitment to connive at the Palestinian jihad compromised the very foundations of freedom and Western culture, and did not make Europe safer.

Europe is also a designated target of jihad. The national governments are not unaware of the threat that hangs over them, and from early on fear has been one of the motivating causes of the European policy of appeasement:-

1998 Damascus:  Three years before ‘Islamikazes’ carried out the 9/11 mass murder of Americans in New York, six years before the massacres of commuter-train passengers in Madrid, seven years before the underground and bus bombing atrocities in London, a conference of the Euro-Arab Parliamentary Dialogue is held in Syria, under the auspices of the murderous dictator Hafiz al-Assad. Members of fourteen national European parliaments and the European Parliament attend, also representatives of the European Commission. Arab members of sixteen non-democratic parliaments and representatives of the Arab League bring a heavy threat to bear openly on the Europeans: they stress that ‘peace and stability in Europeis ‘closely connected’ to Europe’s compliance with Arab Middle East policy. The official reports of the Dialogue constantly reiterate this point. It could not have been impressed more firmly on European parliamentarians and the EU Commission that jihad could be unleashed against Europe itself if Arab conditions were not met.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the EAD continued to serve as a vehicle for policy decided at Islamic Conferences. It was the principle instrument for implementing the resolutions of the Arab conferences. It advanced the Arab mission of implanting millions of Muslims into Europe who come with no intention of integrating into European culture and society, but arrive with the desire and the legal right, granted by the EEC/EU, to impose their own culture upon the host country – a culture fired by a fundamentalist mission of violent jihad.

It facilitated the creation of those fundamentalist trends. It introduced the educational and cultural programs of the European Islamic Centres into European schools – programs enthusiastically accepted and applied by European political leaders, intellectuals, and activists. EAD facilitated the creation of fundamentalist trends.

2000 The European Commission provides  funds to revive a dormant organisation called the European Institute for Research on Mediterranean and Euro-Arab Cooperation, known as MEDEA. (The Euro-Arab political partnership was increasingly called ‘Mediterranean’, the Arab states being referred to as ‘the South’ and the EU states as ‘the North’.)  MEDEA is now chaired by a  Belgian minister for foreign affairs who reorganises MEDEA’s European Parliament section of over 100 members. There are also MEDEA sections in individual national parliaments. Subsequently the organisation issues regular press releases to opinion- makers, intellectuals and pressure groups, and plays a major role in spreading Arab influence in Europe.

2001 September 11: New York and Washington. ‘Islamikaze’ terrorists fly hijacked planes into the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, killing close on 3000 people. Another hijacked plane is forced down by its passengers near Shanksville in Pennsylvania. President Bush declares ‘War on Terror’.

October: The US, its military assisted by seven other countries, the UK primarily, also Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany and Italy, invades Taliban-ruled Afghanistan to overthrow  that fundamentalist Islamic government. The Taliban had equipped al-Qaeda, the  organization, led by Osama bin Laden, which had despatched the terrorist attackers of America. The Taliban is (temporarily) overthrown.

2002 June 20. Brussels:  The Arabs ask for special privileges for Arab immigrants into the EU to put them ‘on an equal basis with Europeans’. The host countries are exhorted to provide Arab immigrants with vocational training, freedom of movement, suitable living conditions, and financial aid if they should choose to return to their homelands.

2003 March 20: The US and Britain invade Iraq to overthrow the dictator Saddam Hussein. Other countries, including Spain, lend various degrees of military assistance.  France and Russia emphatically oppose the invasion. Anti-war demonstrations, intensely anti-American, are staged throughout Europe.

In this year the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI) reports to the European Commission that the economic outlook for Europe is  gloomy but would be brightened if there were to be increased Arab immigrationIn Britain, however, the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, warns that the imposing of mass immigration on a populace that did not want it, threatened the social fabric of Britain because of “the disintegration of community relations and social cohesion”.

December 2-3. Naples:  At a Euro-Mediterranean Conference of ministers of foreign affairs, EU officials reaffirm Europe’s ‘solidarity’ with its ‘Mediterranean partners’. At this conference even more foundations, committees and subcommittees are proposed.  The European Bank  – an institution funded entirely by Europe’s tax-payers – will open a subsidiary to serve Arab (sharia conforming) requirements. The absence of democracy in the Arab states, their economic stagnation, continuing terrorism carried out in many parts of the world in the name of Islam, are not matters on which the Europeans choose to lay stress.

2004 March 11 Madrid: Terrorist bombs are exploded by Muslim residents of Spain on commuter trains. Nearly 200 people killed, nearly 2000 injured. The response of the Spanish electorate a few days later is to vote Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, who supported President Bush in his war on Iraq, out of power, and vote in Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero who has opposed Spain’s participation in the Iraq war. The change favours the Islamic terrorists. The result amounts to a national capitulation to terrorism.

November 2.  Amsterdam: Theo van Gogh, Dutch film maker, is shot, stabbed and has his throat slit by a Dutch-born Muslim. The victim had made a film about the abuse of Muslim women.

In this year Eastern European countries are admitted into the EU. Arab leaders fear that their immigrants will no longer be welcome in Western Europe. They ask for and are granted assurances that Europe’s chief sources of immigration will continue to be ‘above all the Mediterranean Arab countries.’  So EU policy in this regard is (yet again) shaped to conform to Arab demands. It will ‘balance’ its expansion into Eastern Europe with an increase in Arab immigration.

2005 July 7: London. Terrorist bombs explode on three underground trains and a bus in central London.  56 killed, about 700 injured. The killers are identified as British born Muslims.

Violent jihad had been unleashed against Europe from within.

Increasingly the continent is being made to feel the tragic consequences of its policies. In the light of the demographic facts on the ground – a drastic shrinking of indigenous populations and an exponential rise in the numbers of  Muslims – it seems it may now be too late for it to save itself.

Jillian Becker February 11, 2010

A vision of pure meaninglessness 7

The Canadian journalist Diane Francis has written an article in the Financial Post, expressing the opinion that the whole world should adopt China’s one-child-only policy in order to reduce the world’s population.

The environmentalists hold to the view, as little fact-based as all their views tend to be, that over-population is a threat, when in fact most countries, notably all of Europe and Japan, have precisely the opposite problem: birth-rates so low that the Italians, the Irish, the Spanish, the Portuguese (all predominantly Catholic countries, note) as well as the British, the Scandinavians, the Russians, the Japanese are literally dying out.

The environmentalist view is that human beings are messy creatures, doing more harm than good to the planet. The Green vision is of a clean, nay a pure planet. In truth, their ideal could only be realized by the total elimination of the filthy human species.

Here’s what Diane Francis has to say:

The “inconvenient truth” overhanging the UN’s Copenhagen conference is not that the climate is warming or cooling, but that humans are overpopulating the world.

A planetary law, such as China’s one-child policy, is the only way to reverse the disastrous global birthrate currently, which is one million births every four days.

The world’s other species, vegetation, resources, oceans, arable land, water supplies and atmosphere are being destroyed and pushed out of existence as a result of humanity’s soaring reproduction rate. [This is the sheerest nonsense – JB]

Ironically, China, despite its dirty coal plants, is the world’s leader in terms of fashioning policy to combat environmental degradation, thanks to its one-child-only edict.

The intelligence behind this is the following:

-If only one child per female was born as of now, the world’s population would drop from its current 6.5 billion to 5.5 billion by 2050, according to a study done for scientific academy Vienna Institute of Demography.

-By 2075, there would be 3.43 billion humans on the planet. This would have immediate positive effects on the world’s forests, other species, the oceans, atmospheric quality and living standards.

-Doing nothing, by contrast, will result in an unsustainable population of nine billion by 2050.

Humans are the only rational animals but have yet to prove it. Medical and other scientific advances have benefited by delivering lower infant mortality rates as well as longevity. Both are welcome, but humankind has not yet recalibrated its behavior to account for the fact that especially if billions get indoor plumbing and cars.

The fix is simple. It’s dramatic. And yet the world’s leaders don’t even have this on their agenda in Copenhagen. Instead there will be photo ops, posturing, optics, blah-blah-blah about climate science and climate fraud, announcements of giant wind farms, then cap-and-trade subsidies.

None will work unless a China one-child policy is imposed. Unfortunately, there are powerful opponents. Leaders of the world’s big fundamentalist religions preach in favor of procreation and fiercely oppose birth control. And most political leaders in emerging economies perpetuate a disastrous Catch-22: Many children (i. e. sons) stave off hardship in the absence of a social safety net or economic development, which, in turn, prevents protections or development.

China has proven that birth restriction is smart policy. Its middle class grows, all its citizens have housing, health care, education and food [this has long been a popular myth on the Left – JB], and the one out of five human beings who live there are not overpopulating the planet. [What sense can be made of this statement? – JB]

For those who balk at the notion that governments should control family sizes, just wait until the growing human population turns twice as much pastureland into desert as is now the case, or when the Amazon is gone, the elephants disappear for good and wars erupt over water, scarce resources and spatial needs.

The point is that Copenhagen’s talking points are beside the point.

The only fix is if all countries drastically reduce their populations, clean up their messes and impose mandatory conservation measures.

Impose, impose, impose. And because ‘over-population’ is a world problem, there must be a World Authority with the power to impose its will on every single one of us. Totalitarianism on a scale that Lenin could only have dreamed of.

This is neo-Malthusianism. Human beings are not as Malthus or this lady imagines them.

Diane Francis’s article is typical of the thinking of the Left. It is sociological. Sociology is a collectivist idea, a way of seeing people merely as units of a species.

The sociological, leftist, Green view is anti-human, chiming harmoniously with the view of the Communist Chinese government that Diane Francis praises. The naturally dictatorial Greens (including Barack Obama’s adviser, Cass Sunstein) are all for forced sterilization and forced abortion to solve a non-existent problem of over-population. They surely have no objection to another Communist Chinese method of keeping the population down: the murder, usually by exposure and neglect, of millions of babies born alive, most of them girls.

It should never be forgotten that every human being is a repository of meaning, the only meaning there is in the known universe. Every human being is a world. No two are the same.

A critical mass of humanity is needed before you get your innovators, your geniuses, and all of us, even the foolish and the mad among us, can make our contributions.

Paying tribute 2

Certain countries contributing soldiers to the coalition forces in Afghanistan are buying their troops protection by paying the enemy tribute, according to some reports. The allegations seem all too probable. The aim would be not to defeat the Taliban but just to keep them temporarily at bay. It is not a tactic for conquest and victory. If true, it is yet another sign that NATO is in disarray and the Taliban are winning.

From The Australian:

The Times [London] newspaper  said 10 French troops killed in Sarobi, near Kabul, last year had not properly assessed the risks, because their Italian predecessors failed to inform them they had paid the Taliban not to attack them.

The Italian government described the British newspaper’s report as “totally baseless” and said it had “never authorised any kind of money payment to members of the Taliban insurrection in Afghanistan”.

But a senior Afghan official suggested otherwise. “I certainly can confirm that we were aware that the Italian forces were paying the opposition in Sarobi not to attack them,” he said.

“We have reports of similar deals in (western) Herat province by Italian troops based there under NATO’s umbrella.

“It’s a deal: you don’t attack me, I don’t attack you,” he said, adding the practice was passed on between foreign forces and it was likely that senior commanders were either involved or turned a blind eye to it. It is simply a matter of buying time and surviving.”

A French army spokesman in Kabul, Lieutenant Colonel Jackie Fouquereau, said: “The French do not give money to insurgents.”

NATO spokesman in Afghanistan, General Eric Tremblay, said he was “not aware” of such practices and had no information about the Italian case. …

But according to a number of Western and Afghan officers, the politically sensitive practice is fairly widespread among NATO forces in Afghanistan.

One Western military source told of payments made by Canadian soldiers stationed in the violent southern province of Kandahar, while another officer spoke of similar practices by the German army in northern Kunduz.

“I can tell you that lots of countries under the NATO umbrella operating out in rural parts of Afghanistan do pay the militants for not attacking them,” the senior Afghan official said. …

He said he did not want to say precisely how many but one Western officer said: “As it’s not very positive and not officially recognised, it’s never spoken about openly. It’s a bit shameful. Consequently, it’s sometimes not communicated properly between the old unit and the new unit that comes in to relieve them,”  which may have happened between the Italians and the French. According to The Times, the Italian secret service gave tens of thousands of dollars to Taliban commanders and local warlords to keep the peace in the Sarobi region.

Posted under Afghanistan, Commentary, Defense, NATO, News, Terrorism, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Saturday, October 17, 2009

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