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WHEN northern Mali fell to terrorists and foreign militants last April, a debate began over the causes of the country’s chaotic collapse. Many argued that it was a direct byproduct of NATO’s 2011 intervention in Libya, which sent thousands of well-armed men across the Sahara to Mali. Others pointed to Mali’s internal corruption and ethnic divisions. But little was said about the most important factor: Europeans have knowingly bankrolled Islamist radicals with ransom payments since at least 2003.
Sixteen years before the 9/11 attacks, the United States sold Iran weapons indirectly in the hopes of freeing American hostages held by Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah. The Iran-contra debacle taught America, among other things, that paying ransom money only emboldens terrorist groups and their backers. Yet when confronted with the same challenge, European leaders have failed to heed that lesson, and have filled the coffers of terrorist groups for at least a decade.
by Jerry Gordon and Mike Bates (February 2013)
Mike Bates: Good afternoon and welcome to Your Turn. This is Mike Bates. With me in the studio is Jerry Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review and its blog, the Iconoclast. He is also the author of the book, The West Speaks. Jerry Gordon, welcome to Your Turn.
Bates: Ambassador Ettinger, let’s begin with the recent Israeli elections for the Knesset. Prime Minister Netanyahu may be about to announce a new coalition government. What can you tell us about how Israeli law frames the composition of their parliament and what surprises occurred among the contending parties in the elections?
By Ted Belman
I am fascinated by coalition talks this time around.
Lapid doesn’t want Shas and so Netanyahu doesn’t want Lapid. Unfortunately for Netanyahu he is confronted by a pact between Lapid and Bennett in which they are in or out of the government together. They represent 31 mandates against Netanyahu’s 32.
Of course Netanyahu could accede to their request and form a government with a 63 seat majority and leave Shas and everyone else out. He obviously doesn’t want to do this. Such a coalition would work well together. Bennett is against the two state solution but will likely accept Netanyahu’s Bar Ilan formulation simply because nothing will come of it. So far in talks Bennet does not appear to make annexation of Area C a demand. Lapid on the other hand also accepts the formulation, an undivided Jerusalem and building in settlement blocs providing negotiations commence in six months. He is unlikely to leave government if they don’t.
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