Will Europe Put an End to Hizballah’s Operations on Its Soil?

July 23 2015

Last week, Hussein Bassam Abdallah pled guilty to involvement in a terrorist plot in Cyprus, where he was hiding 8.2 tons of ammonium nitrate intended for attacking Israeli and Jewish targets on the island and smuggling the remainder to Hizballah operatives throughout Europe. Matthew Levitt cites this as evidence of how little has been accomplished by EU’s July 2013 ban on Hizballah’s military wing but not on the organization in general:

Not only did Hizballah actively maintain an explosives stockpile in Cyprus, the group retained the operatives, infrastructure, and reach to engage in operations across Europe. Over the course of the time Abdallah maintained this explosives stockpile, Hizballah remained active across Europe, from a 2012 bombing thwarted in Greece to the arrest and deportation of a Hizballah operative in Denmark in 2013 who arrived on a commercial ship for purposes still unknown. . . . Germany’s domestic intelligence agency recently reported that Hizballah maintains some 950 active operatives in the country. . . .

When the EU banned Hizballah’s military wing, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius pledged, “There’s no question of accepting terrorist organizations in Europe.” Now, as Europe marked the third anniversary of the July 18 Hizballah bus bombing in Bulgaria, there is abundant evidence that Hizballah is doing just that: engaging in terrorist activities in Europe.

In other words, the EU banned part of Hizballah and warned it to cease activities in Europe, and Hizballah promptly called Brussels’ bluff. Which leaves us with a question for Fabius: will the EU accept a terrorist organization operating in Europe?

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Read more at Daily Beast

More about: Cyprus, European Union, Hizballah, Politics & Current Affairs, Terrorism

What Israel Can Offer Africa

Last week, the Israeli analyst Yechiel Leiter addressed a group of scholars and diplomats gathered in Addis Ababa to discuss security issues facing the Horn of Africa. Herewith, some excerpts from his speech:

Since the advent of Zionism and the birth of modern Israel, there has been a strong ideological connection between Israel and the African continent. . . . For decades, [however], the notion that the absence of peace in the Middle East was due the absence of Palestinian statehood prevented a full and strategic partnership with African countries. . . . The visits to Africa by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—in 2016 to East Africa and in 2017 to West Africa—reenergized the natural partnership that was initiated by Israel’s Foreign Minister Golda Meir in the 1960s.

There is much we share, many places where our interests converge. And I don’t mean another military base in Djibouti. . . . One such area involves the safety of waterways in and around the Red Sea. Curtailing contraband, drugs, arms smuggling, and other forms of serious corruption are all vital for us. . . . But the one critical area of cooperation I’d like to put the spotlight on is in the realm of food security, or rather food insecurity.

Imagine Ethiopia’s cows producing 30 or 40 liters of milk a day instead of the two or three that they produce today. Imagine an exponential rise in (organic) meat exports to Middle Eastern and even European countries, the result of increased processing, storage, and transportation possibilities. Cows today can have a microscopic chip behind their ears that sends messages to the farmer’s computer or mobile phone that tracks what the cow ate, what its temperature is, and what care it might need. Imagine a dramatic expansion of the wheat yield that can make Ethiopia a net exporter of wheat—to Egypt, perhaps in the context of negotiations over the waters of the Nile.

Israel has proven technology in all of these agricultural areas and we’re here; we’re neighbors. We are linked to Africa, particularly the Horn of Africa, in so many ways.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Africa, Ethiopia, Israel diplomacy, Israeli agriculture, Israeli technology