31st March 2014: This afternoon at the European Parliament in Brussels, Andrew Brons made the following contribution during a debate in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee (LIBE) on a report from Mr Gilles de Kerchove, EU Counter-Terrorism Co-ordinator, on the problem of people from* Europe going to Syria and returning radicalised** and trained in the use of weapons.
"The EU and some member states were pro-active in encouraging the rebellion in Syria from the outset. It might be that these governments would have preferred to see Proto-European liberals in opposition to Assad but it was obvious that opposition to the secular Ba'athist government of Syria would be attractive to Islamists. It was certainly obvious to me and I said so but it was apparently not obvious to the member states concerned.
"Of course, some of the forces had ulterior motives. Saudi Arabia that model democracy for the Middle East wanted to reduce the influence of Shi'ite Iran and its Alawite (but secular) protege Syria.
"For Israel, de-stabilisation of potentially dangerous neighbours is part of the Oded Yinnon plan from the 1980s.
"The problem is that European countries have, for decades, imported populations of people intended to be replacement Europeans but who have, into the third generation, remained the product of their Non-European backgrounds. Perhaps we should discontinue this policy of importing these populations.
"Perhaps the EU as a whole and individual member states should discontinue their policy of disrupting stable, if undemocratic, secular countries like Syria, because otherwise their governments will be replaced by governments that are anything but secular."
Mr Kerchove said the first (i.e. my) intervention was not a question but a statement and said no more!
* The word from was used to indicate that they had embarked from Europe and that they has lived in Europe perhaps since birth but it is rather unlikely that theirn families came from Europe
** The word radicalised is often used in this context but what is meant is persuaded to violence.
Footnote from Andrew:
Most of the audiences comprised three MEPs (though a different three) except for the last one on 'returns policy' for which I was the entire audience apart from the Vice President on the platform. I don't know where the other 117 MEPs were!