Since February 2009 , this blog and Huib's 3 other Euroblogs are together at:

- In Europa Zu Hause [DE]
- L'Europe Chez Soi [FR]
- At Home in Europe [EN]
- In Europa Thuis [NL]

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Bulgaria - Mani Pulite?

No doubt with us, that countries like Bulgaria should be part of the European Union.
And it is not bad, that the European Commission, Council and Parliament are using the accession process to help modernising forces in the country, to combat corruption, enhance democratic representation, empower civil society, create correct market conditions and make the justice stronger.
A Bulgarian observer said (31/8/2006) in
"It would be fair to mark the latest positive developments, something that has escaped from the attention of Western media."
Indeed, a difficult accession process as the Bulgarian and the Rumanian ones, could be helped enormously, when public opinion in the EU would get acquainted with successes, failures and dilemmas that come up during it. Only specialised (web-) publications like TOL (“Transitions On Line”) follow these processes with attention.
"For the first time in its difficult transition, Bulgaria will see a number of high officials appearing in court and probably being sentenced to years of imprisonment. The move may look designed to appease Brussels ahead of its crucial report, to be made public on September 26. But the real reason for these developments taking place now is the arrival in office last February of a new chief prosecutor - Mr. Boris Velchev, former counsellor to president Georgi Parvanov.

Seven lost years
His predecessor Nikola Filchev was a total failure, he was suspected of mental problems and even complicity with the mob. This may not be proven, but in any case his style, adopted by many other high prosecutors, have caused great harm to Bulgaria and its image. The procedure for having the prosecutor general replaced being too complex, the whole country had to wait until the expiration of his seven-year term.

Mr Velchev managed very quicky to rid himself of undesirable prosecutors after exposing to the media the vast record of their 'unfinished business.' We learned from Mr Velchev what everyone suspected: dozens of highly sensitive investigations had been 'forgotten' for years in drawers by the magistrates. "
Here seems to come up an operation like Italy’s « Mani Pulite », an action led by courageous prosecutors and judges, that cleaned up a great part of the corrupt mess in (Northern) Italy.

As we know, what dangers the prosecutors and their families got exposed to in eighties and nineties’ Italy, a vigilant public attention to what is happening, could help to suppress slander, sabotage and even life attempts by some established authorities.

If we do nothing now, it may be too late.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

‘Appeasing Fascism’ - Rumsfeld

War Cabal at the White House, 2002
The more you say about it, the more the Karl Rove-lead spin will work, we thought.
So we kept this subject for almost a month in the vault of our unpublished posts.
The spin is outrageous.
The accusation calls for an impeachment.
But everybody remained silent (including me), until former president Clinton, two days ago, broke the "enthrallment" (dixit Civil War president Lincoln in 1862), "so as to save the country".
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann honored Clinton for his courage to tell -finally- the truth about the "1984" Bush manipulation of public opinion.
This is a great moment.
Bush and Rove have gone too far.
Rumsfeld is exposed as a liar and a demagogue. Listen to what he said: / World / US & Canada - Rumsfeld accuses critics of ‘appeasing fascism’: "Rumsfeld accuses critics of ‘appeasing fascism’


Published: August 29 2006 19:26 | Last updated: August 29 2006 19:26

US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Tuesday accused critics of the administration's Iraq and counterterrorism policies of trying to appease ‘a new type of fascism.’

In unusually explicit terms, Mr Rumsfeld portrayed the Bush administration's critics as suffering from ‘moral or intellectual confusion’ about what threatens the nation's security and accused them of lacking the courage to fight back.
Mr Rumsfeld spoke to the American Legion as part of a coordinated White House strategy, in advance of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil, aiming to take the offensive against administration critics at a time of doubt about the future of Iraq and growing calls to withdraw U.S. troops.

Real America, "l'Amérique profonde", reacts. I have always kept my trust in it.
It will have been a long waiting. From 2001 to 2006.
But the tides turned.
The American Army protests. The CIA agents are striking. A National Intelligence Evaluation (NIE) states, that the Iraq invasion engendered more terrorism, dangerous to the US (and still more to Europe), and not less, as the Bush administration repeats.

Candidates for removal are: Rumsfeld, Rove, Cheney - all have to go the way Ahmad Chalabi went.
A propos: Where IS Chalabi at this moment?
And: What is Tony Blair going to do?

Monday, August 28, 2006

Disputes Spur His Critics, Karzai Says - New York Times

Dutch Prime Minister, Jan Peter balkenende, among his troops, last Saturday (Photo NRC, Holland), click on image to see the sunglasses...

The announced disaster - it happened.
After a visit to the 1.400 strong Dutch NATO-ISAF contingent in Tarin Kowt (Uruzgan, Southern Afghanistan), Dutch PM, Jan Peter Balkenende, participated in a press conference with Afghan president Hamid Karzai.
Karzai complained, that US-led forces had provoked Pakistan critics who support "taliban" insurgency. The Dutch are into the Afghan morass over their (horrible) sunglasses and ears.

Disputes Spur His Critics, Karzai Says - New York Times:

"Disputes Spur His Critics, Karzai Says

KABUL, Afghanistan, Aug. 26 — President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that recent criticism of his leadership and his administration stemmed from disagreements that he had had with some partners of the United States-led coalition in Afghanistan over the conduct of military operations.

“For some time, some circles of the Western media have started special propaganda against me and the Afghan government,” he told journalists at a joint news conference with Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands.
There is no record of Balkenende refuting these statements. It is an implicit condonement of the "run-and-kill" tactics that British and Australian military are applying in their Helmand and Kandahar provinces. Dutch F16s are already participating in these killing parties. Dutch commanders of the ground forces are proposing their participation in those actions. Like the Germans (see In Europa Zuhause). Karzai continues:
“We had some disagreements with some members of the international coalition against terrorism concerning counterterrorism, and maybe they did not like those arguments,” he said. “And their media, because of that, started propaganda against us.”
Translation: The Indian secret service, in order to create diversion from the Kashmir rebellion, supports anti-Pakistan movements in Baluchistan and the Pashtun area and the military government of Pakistan has a policy of severe repression against those rebellions.
Saturday, the Pakistan army killed a former minister and important Baluch clan leader, Bugti.
Demonstrations, strikes, manifestations all over the Baluchi Sindh, the Baluchi and Pastuni areas.
A connection with the "Peters" document, published recently in the Pentagon Army Weekly, which proposes a "Free Baluchistan" country, independent from Pakistan, cannot be excluded.
Mr. Karzai has recently come under sharp criticism at home and abroad for failing to protect the country from violence and manage the economy, and for allowing widespread corruption in his government. And as the insurgency has worsened, confidence in his leadership has fallen.
In the real world, the "Taliban" are virtually non-existant. It is all about clanic rule. Pakistan's military ruler Muzarraf does not control the powerful secret service ISI, that foments tribal insurgence in Afghanistan. After the American retreat, the European NATO-ISAF forces are left to deal with their creations. No help from the powerless Karzai.
In response, he has repeatedly blamed the worsening insurgency in southern Afghanistan on infiltration from Pakistan, and has called on the United States and its coalition"
Again: A unified EU policy to stabilise Afghanistan, promote talks with local lords in the way Karzai has repreatedly proposed, combat Indian as well as Pakistani ingerence, could still work. Left alone, the English-Australian-Dutch military will not be able to do anything else as to terrorize local insurgents and create a strong movement against the West.
Some imagination and courage is needed. Could it come from Brussels?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

EU: A common policy for the Middle East, before sending troops!

Next Wednesday, August 23, an EU-meeting in Brussels will deal with the conditions for a military contribution by European countries to Unifil II, the "robust" UN force to be deployed in South Lebanon.

A blessing in disguise, this face-saving manoeuver.

An eager France, during the dealings in the Security Council, hoped to resurrect its colonial role in Lebanon, to suppress Hizbollah and reinstaure the "Lebanon de Papa", its ninteenth century protectorate, led by a Maronite élite.
But the French Army, who did not forget its Bosnian frustrations and aware of the carnage in 1983 of 88 French parachutists in Beirut at a similar ill-defined "peace"-mission in Beirut (Le Monde, 21/8/06: Les réticences des miltaires français, hantés par le syndrôme 'Drakkar'), revolted.
And, what is more: French Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy, on visit in Beirut, had to accept, that the whole Lebanese political spectrum is against disarming its coalition partner Hizbollah. After 15 years of civil war, national unity has become a priority for all Lebanese factions, Hizbollah not excluded, as it has shown convincingly during the so-called Cedar Revolution of last year.

Without the Lebanese, the French would find themselves doing the dirty work for Bush and the NeoCons, as a temporary replacement for Likud. The French are proud and stubborn, but not silly.
So they called, too late, "Europe" to save their faces.
Which means, that, for some wrong reasons, the problem has been transferred to the only forum, where it belongs. No hard feelings, please. Let's see what opportunities this offers.

Neither France, nor the UK, and certainly not Italy or Spain, could handle this situation on their own. Maybe, the EU as a whole, can.

But it is necessary, then, that a common EU-policy for the Near-East is laid down first.

For, without a framework of a common political objective, a military operation is senseless, counterproductive and doomed to turn into a great failure. It would help in one way or another those people who actually have an agenda for the Middle East, that is to say, the Bush administration and/or Israel. There are only two days to go until Wednesday. A short time. Too short?

An EU-roadmap
UNSC Resolution 1701could become a foundation for an EU roadmap. A programme ("process") of mutual steps in the direction of a stabilisation of this part of the Middle East.
1. Demilitarisation of the area south of the Litani river as a condition for redeployment of the Israeli Army 15 KMs from the Lebanese border.
2.Restitution of the Shebaa Farms as a condition for swapping hostages.
These small steps could be monitored and secured by the projected UN army, it is strong enough for that, not for controlling the Hizbollah armament at this moment.
In the mean time, restart of the Israel-Palestine Roadmap. Work with the Fatah-Hamas coalition.
But an EU-policy for the region will have to deal with Syria also:
3. The Avi Dichter (Haaretz today) proposals for an arrangement on the Golan Heights with Syria.
4. Guaranteeing Israel's borders with Lebanon, Syria and Palestine, with an effective border-control by the greater Unifil II (25.000). A control, that guarantees both sides of the border.

In order to stabilize really the region, a nuclear disarmament of Israel (and the whole M-E) would be unavoidable. Here, only an intervention with the USA could bring a solution.

But the procedural steps mentioned before, lie within the power of a solid EU, alone, without American support, or even more or less against it. Important will be an effort to engage Turkey into the EU effort. The Turks have diplomatic, military, economic and nuclear relations with Israel.
Their army is well-equipped and competent, and, something that is not often discussed, their nuclear capabilities are strong enough, to neutralize an eventual Israele nuclear blackmail.
Maar de voorgaande stappen liggen binnen de macht van een gezamenlijk optredende EU.

In this way, an UN-covered strategic intervention by the EU, could secure the state of Israel step by step, and secure other countries in the region as well.
It would offer an opportunity to realize the Cohn-Bendit plan to have Joschka Fischer as an omniguarantee between Israel and its neighbours, including Palestine.

Wednesday, this could start, in Brussels.

Translingual crossposted to L'Europe Chez Soi, In Europa Thuis, In Europa Zuhause and

powered by performancing firefox

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mark Mazower: Europe should use its leverage to lean on Israel

Historian Mark Mazower is a professor at Columbia University and at a College in the UK. He is the author of a History of 20th century Europe ("The Dark Continent") and of a captivating history (1400-1950) of multicultural Salonika (Thessaloniki, Greece).

In today's his call for a new, more active European role in the Middle East: Europe should use its leverage to lean on Israel, that ends with (numbering and bolds are mine):

"What would a more ambitious European stance on the Middle East look like?
  1. Beyond the current Lebanon crisis, it would prioritise the need for an Israel/Palestine settlement and would seek to convert its economic power into diplomatic clout. With its massive humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, the EU already has considerable leverage there.
  2. In addition, its significant trade relationship with Israel should allow it to lean much harder on Israeli governments than it – or anyone else – has done for a long time. This requires urgent institutional reform within the Union itself, in particular overcoming the traditional rivalries between the Council of Ministers and the Commission that still stymie the emergence of a common foreign and security policy.
What, though, is the alternative? Stripped of its rhetoric, US policy currently holds political and economic development in the Arab world hostage to a peace settlement with Israel without ever putting sufficient pressure on its ally to effect this.
If Europe does not recognise its own pressing need to change this dynamic, the alternative is likely to be instability, regional repression and economic stagnation on its doorstep for the indefinite future."
Indeed: The failure of the American-Israeli intervention in Lebanon, designed as a further step to create a "New Middle East", is, after the failed occupation of Iraq, the failed "democratization" diplomacy aimed at Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, and after the failing efforts to isolate Iran and Syria, a not-to-be-missed opening for Europe to step in.
No more as a divided and subordinated reserve of allies, but as a responsible and powerful bloc that protects the vital interests of its inhabitants.
For the Europeans, there is much more and much longer at stake, than for the USA.
It is all happening on our doorsteps. And it will last much longer for us, than for the Americans. Deep into the coming after-oil aera.
That is why the August 2 Los Angeles speech of Tony Blair ("value change" replaces "regime change") is so hollow. Blair pleaded the same solutions as Marzower does, but he takes no responsability for building the necessary European bloc. And no concrete proposal for common action is to be found in his speech.
And what to say about the French? Their option boils down to a "classic" French imperialist restoration of the Lebanon inter-community balance, with the Maronites in the role of, let us say, the Iraqian Sunnis before 2003. "Disarming" the Shiites is an impossibility and is rejected, even by their most rabiate Lebanese enemies, the Druzes and their leader Walid Jumblatt.
The French got the room to play that role, only because it presents to the Americans another way (the Israelian having temporarily failed) to possibly isolate the Shiites.
The most daring European proposal, I heard of, was Daniel Cohn-Bendit's idea of sending former German minister Fischer as an European envoy to the region, in order to "secure the borders of Israel". As Dany knows, a secure border has to be secure for both sides of it, to be really secure. That means....: "leaning on Israel" in order to get secure borders for Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and ... Palestine. A huge task. An effort that needs a seamless cooperation of the EU and its allies (Turkey, for instance).
As this condition is far from existing, friend Joschka has apparently said "no" to the invitation.
But there is still some room for less spectacular moves in the good direction.
A first step could be a strong mandate for the Middle East to Xavier Solana, EU external policy coordinator. Another one, would be a common EU command over the UN forces in Southern Lebanon. No French "Alleingang".

I wonder, if somebody is going to do something with Mazower's plea.

(Crossposted at "Legal Alien @ NY")
Related Posts with Thumbnails