Saturday, August 2, 2014

Funding al Qaeda, European antisemitism, a few questions for Hillary, and a modest proposal

This week brought two interesting stories about Europe and the current troubles, neither of which have received nearly enough attention. On July 29, The New York Times ran a shocking front page story about the extent to which European governments are funding al Qaeda through ransom payments.

While European governments deny paying ransoms, an investigation by The New York Times found that Al Qaeda and its direct affiliates have taken in at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, of which $66 million was paid just last year.
The short version is this: Al Qaeda has figured out that the continental European countries will pay lavish ransoms to get back their citizens who have foolishly wandered -- the chic term for this is "trekked" -- in to parts of the world where al Qaeda ranges unchecked. Al Qaeda then captures them, and after some agitated back and forth the Europeans fork over bales of cash which they then disguise on their books as "foreign aid" or "relief" because, well, they deny having done it. All of this happens over alleged U.S. and British opposition, neither of which stalwart country will pay ransoms (with the happy and obvious collateral result that al Qaeda has given up kidnapping American and British citizens). Intelligence estimates suggest that al Qaeda may be raising as much as half of its operating budget from feckless European governments.

In entirely unrelated news, Newsweek's cover story -- yes, it has a cover again, being back in print -- purports to explain "why Europe's Jews are fleeing once again." The violent return of antisemitism in Europe is scary enough, and if you think "it can't happen there" just remember that's what everybody thought about Germany in the 1920s. It's enough to make this Gentile want to wear a yarmulke in solidarity the next time we go to Europe. Except that we would be too afraid for our safety.

All of this leads to a few questions for the Obama administration and any current or former Secretary of State with presidential aspirations.

  • Why hasn't the Obama administration been screaming about this to high heaven? True, Bush was quiet about the few ransoms paid during his term, but he had the excuse of needing Europe's money and soldiers for wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. With no such dependency, why did it take the NYT to bring the extent of these payments to light? Or, might it be that the Grey Lady's story is the Obama administration screaming about this? This last possibility seems almost impossibly Europhobic for this administration, but if it were true we would have to dial up our respect for Obama's game. Slightly. He has not actually stopped the practice yet.
  • Reporters with self-respect and access to the administration might well ask, what did Hillary know and when did she know it? More importantly, what specifically did she do to persuade, cajole, or coerce European governments to stop making these payments that are converted in to arms for killing innocent civilians and American soldiers? Since there may not be any reporters that have both such qualifications, these are also good questions for the GOP nominee to ask in a presidential debate. Just make sure Candy Crowley isn't the moderator.
  • Regardless of the politics, we believe that the United States needs to punish Europe for financing its enemies. The question is, how to do that? Yes, well, President Obama could always lecture them, but that sanction seems to be losing its potency. The official Tigerhawk solution, however, is poetic in its justice and solves more than one problem: Offer refugee status to any European Jew who wants to come here because of antisemitism in Europe. The benefits of this solution ought to be obvious, but we here at the CW are nothing if not skilled at enumerating the reasons why our ideas are awesome:

  • We punish Europe by draining away many of its most productive citizens.
  • We get a bunch of really educated and economically productive new immigrants.
  • The United States enjoys a schadenfreude moment, insofar as we get to lecture Europe about human rights, rather than the reverse.
  • Perhaps most importantly, offering refugee status to European Jews now would be a small step toward expiating the original sin of the Roosevelt administration, the turning away of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany. Do not fail to appreciate the significance of this.
  • If the GOP had two brain cells to rub together, it would attach such a provision to legislation that provides more funding for immigration matters. What, pray tell, would Barack Obama have to say about that? Sadly, we detect no such imagination among the Congressional Republicans.


    Tom de Plume said...

    I hate being "that guy" especially when it comes to correcting a blogger that I admire so much. But it is "Candy" not "Cindy" Crowley. An easy mnemonic is "she wouldn't be such a bloated slob if she didn't eat so much candy". But I am sure she would claim she is just "big boned". but she does spell it with a "y" rather than the stripper "i" version of the name.

    Great modest proposal though.

    Anonymous said...

    Unfortunately, I'm not sure the GOP *has* two brain cells to rub together at the moment...

    TigerHawk said...

    Tom de P - thanks. Doh!

    Unknown said...

    "It's enough to make this Gentile want to wear a yarmulke in solidarity the next time we go to Europe. Except that we would be too afraid for our safety." Wow McG, you outdo Krauthammer with that. To feed your yarmluke-wearing fantasy, might I suggest Erik Larson's "In the Garden of Beasts"? Though I'm sure you've read it already.

    The Conservative Wahoo said...

    Jonathan. Look closer and I believe you will see that I did not write this post.

    Anonymous said...

    Is Tom de Plume suggesting that Ghandi was a stripper?

    Unknown said...

    Ah, tigerhawk posted on your blog site. Thanks for clarifying. Suggestion still applies

    Unknown said...

    And, no, im not a robot ;)

    Anonymous said...

    "It's enough to make this Gentile want to wear a yarmulke in solidarity the next time we go to Europe." Fully understood, which is why this goy sometimes flies an Israeli flag from the car. That takes no courage, though, here in a refined place like Princeton. True bravery would be doing in in Malmo or Amsterdam or Copenhagen or Lyons, where you run the risk of being another Theo van Gogh.

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