For the First Time in Three Centuries, Jihad Strikes Vienna

On Monday night, an Austrian associated with Islamic State—who was arrested last year for attempting to travel to Syria to join the terrorist group—went on a shooting spree in Vienna, killing four and wounding some two dozen more. Daniel Johnson observes:

The [attack’s] lesson should not be lost on any of us: the enemies of Western civilization respect neither borders nor politics. The peoples of Europe stand or fall together—and for these purposes at least, the British are very much still Europeans.

The Viennese had hitherto been spared the terror to which Parisians and Londoners have become accustomed in the past few decades. Taking a longer historical perspective, however, the Austrian capital is no stranger to the clash of Christianity and Islam. Besieged by the Ottomans in the 16th and 17th centuries, Vienna was also Europe’s gateway for Turkish influence, as its coffeehouses still testify. Mozart and Beethoven wrote popular tunes alla turca. By 1900 Vienna had become one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the continent and the Habsburg empire had developed a relatively tolerant relationship with its millions of non-Christian subjects.

Once the imperial city had become the oversized capital of a much-diminished Austria, however, that tolerance seemed to evaporate. No sooner had Hitler annexed his native land in 1938, than [Austrian Jewry] was successively humiliated, expropriated, and murdered. Few of the Jews who escaped ever returned. . . . Anti-Semitism had not ebbed away even long after the Holocaust: it resurfaced in the late 1980s during the Waldheim affair, [when the Austrian president’s involvement in Nazi atrocities during World War II was revealed], and has been exploited by the far right ever since.

We must hope that this week’s rude awakening from Vienna’s dreams of past glory does not lead to a resurgence of past horrors—either in Austria or across Europe.

Read more at The Article

More about: Austria, European Islam, Islamic State, Jihadism, Vienna

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada