EURDEMOCRACY

Three lessons should be clear to Europe’s policy-makers from the WikiLeaks affair.

The Saudis strident warning against Iran to diplomats is now seen by all and sundry: ‘Cut off the head of the snake‘ That message from the Saudi king says the snake is Iran. The nuclear bomb is its fangs. The Saudis recently signed a $60 billion arms deal with the US — one of the biggest ever. Saudi Arabia is to buy 84 new F-15 fighter jets and three types of helicopters: 70 Apaches, 72 Black Hawks and 36 Little Birds. Upgrades for 70 other F-15s already in the Saudi Air Force is included, as well as Saudi purchases of HARM anti-radar missiles, precision-guided JDAM bombs and Hellfire missiles.

This shows a resumption of the close relationship of the defence communities that was frozen after the 9/11 attack on Washington and New York by Saudi suicide-jihadis. This huge deal is all the more extraordinary because leaked cables reveal that Saudi donors remain chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like al Qaeda. The Gulf state of Qatar, that has hosted the American military for years, was called the ‘worst in the region‘ in counter-terrorism efforts.

The Jordanians call Iran an octopus. Why? ‘Iran is of an octopus whose tentacles reach out insidiously to manipulate, foment, and undermine the best laid plans of the West and regional moderates. Iran’s tentacles include its allies Qatar and Syria, Hizballah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Palestinian territories, an Iraqi government sometimes seen as supplicant to Tehran, and Shia communities throughout the region.‘ explains a US diplomat.

Zaid Rifai, then-president of the Jordanian Senate and former prime minister and foreign minister, is quoted as saying to US diplomat, ‘Bomb Iran, or live with an Iranian bomb. Sanctions, carrots, incentives won’t matter.’ The diplomatic cable continues, ‘while Rifai judged a military strike would have “catastrophic impact on the region,” he nonetheless thought preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons would pay enough dividends to make it worth the risks.

Are the Saudis preparing for war or is the arms deal merely a token encouragement for others to do so? Will the holders of Mecca attack the followers of the Twelfth Imam? They would prefer other people’s blood is spilt first. The Saudis told the Americans that the USA should go to war to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons.

The Israelis are curiously mute about the Saudi arms deal. They see the immediate threat of a holocaust-denying, nuclear-armed regime that would like to wipe the Jewish State off the map as more urgent than the corrosive but persistent diplomacy of the Saudis to undermine it. The Saudis let it be known that for a considerable period they have been in talks with the Israelis. They have held meetings in Jordan between the highest security officials. Compared with the real danger they see with Iran, clearly the fear of being seen talking to the Israelis, Zionists and Jews is of little consequence.

Iran with its skilled media manipulation has made the Palestinian issue the hottest emotional issue, regardless of facts on the ground. It is the means to distract world attention from its own plans. The emir of Qatar is reported as saying that, based on over 30 years of experience with the Iranians, we shouldn’t believe but one word in a hundred that the Iranians say.

Next year with the continuing hard winter in Europe may be an even greater danger for Europe. For the first time in 36 years, Iran will assume the chairmanship of the oil cartel, OPEC. The cartel controls the price of oil by determining the supply rate and shutting the oil spigot. That is another element to factor in as the world passing into peak oil is now facing accelerating demand from oil and gas from booming China.

Disclosures from European politicians in the released cables show that the danger is widespread — but secret. There is little public debate. Some leaders like Germany’s Angela Merkel, have, however, spoken out in public. Iran with a bomb ‘threatens the entire free world,‘ she told the US Congress. Are other leaders being as frank with their public AT HOME?

There is one stark exception. Israel has consistently spoken out to its public and abroad about the danger to all. Iran is still a far-away country for Israel but it experiences the effects of Iranian support to terrorist organisations in Gaza, Lebanon, its own heartland and Jordan. Tens of thousands of rockets and missiles have been launched from Gaza, many of them Iranian imports. Gaza has a stockpile of 5000 and Hizbollah in Lebanon many more, some 50,000 to 80,000 due to ineffective UN ‘peace-keepers’.

Israel has shown that it has valued world safety and ethics more highly than any other country in the region. When Saddam Hussein of Iraq was building an atomic programme with the aim of launching a nuclear bomb on Israel, Israel acted although it seems the world said ‘Don’t do it!

That courageous action gave the world a breathing space from a nuclear Mid-East war. Only after the act and after a little more reflection did the world’s diplomats agree that Israel had saved their own hides.

Much expertise and equipment from Saddam’s Iraq was secreted into Syria, say the cables. Israel bombed that plant which potentially threatened its own existence and that of much of the West. Europe looked dumbly on.

Why are Arab states so anxious about Iran, nominally a fellow-Islamic nation? Three reasons spring to mind, religion (shi’ites versus sunnis), race (Persians versus Arabs) and politics (control of the Gulf with its choke point on oil, and the expanding terrorist network to Hizbollah in Lebanon, Syria and Gaza with increasing interference in Egypt). At the core of this is the revolutionary, expansionist ideology of the twelfth imam of Ayotollah Khomeini who wanted world religious revolution. For thirty years the crowds have been yelling Death to the Great Satan, meaning the West, USA and Europe. The success of the industrialized West puts to shame the barren outcome of Islamic development. So extremists feel the only way to show Islamic society as superior is to destroy or undermine the West. ‘We will export our revolution throughout the world … until {Islam} is echoed all over the world,‘ exclaimed Ayatollah R Khomeini. Osama bin Laden said the same thing as the founder of his faction: ‘I was ordered to fight the people until they say there is no god but Allah and his prophet Mohammad.‘ Hamas leader Khaled Mash’al warned Europeans on the Danish cartoon affair: ‘Tomorrow our nation will sit on the throne of the world. This is not a figment of the imagination but a fact. Tomorrow we will lead the world, Allah willing.

Europe is in great danger. Firstly such threats attempt to undermine the supranational or universal values on which Europe is built. Forcing religious belief by the sword, bomb and blackmail is a power given to no man. It is illegitimate. Freedom to choose, and especially freedom of religious choice, is a fundamental value written into Europe’s great Charter of Interdependence. The freedom to hold a religion or not and to change one’s religious belief freely is written into the Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, initiated by Robert Schuman and other Founding Fathers. That should make it abundantly clear that Europe is a zone of peace where all debate, political and religious, is open. All views may be analysed. Violence and the threat of violence is excluded.

What are Europeans leaders doing about the physical danger of a Mid-East war? What would happen if the Persian Gulf is blocked in this seemingly inevitable war between Islamic factions? Despite decades of warnings dating back to the times of the Founding Fathers of the European Community, European leaders have made little progress to the goal of energy independence. Only by saving energy and providing the maximum amount of its own native energy can Europe have an independent foreign policy, rather than being on the hook of its energy suppliers.

We must learn as Schuman said that Europe’s salvation must come from itself and those resources given to its citizens, material and spiritual.

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