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Foreign Policy for Sale: Greece's Dangerous Alliance with Israel

By       Message Ramzy Baroud       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   2 comments

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From Palestine Chronicle


Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras in June 2017.
(Image by (Photo: YouTube Screen Capture, file))
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For a brief historical moment, Alexis Tsipras and his political party, Syriza, ignited hope that Greece could resurrect a long-dormant Leftist tide in Europe.

A new Greece was being born out of the pangs of pain of economic austerity, imposed by the European Union and its overpowering economic institutions -- a troika so ruthless, it cared little while the Greek economy collapsed and millions of people experienced the bitterness of poverty, unemployment and despair.

The Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) came to power in January 2015 as a direct outcome of popular discontent with the EU. It was a time where ordinary people took a stance to fend for whatever semblance of sovereignty that was not wrestled away from them by politicians, bankers and powerful bureaucratic institutions.

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The result, however, was quite disappointing. Tsipras, now a Prime Minister, transformed his political discourse, and gradually adopted one that that is more consistent with the very neoliberal policies that pushed his country to its knees in the first place.

Syriza sold out, not only politically and ideologically, but in an actual physical sense as well.

In exchange for bailout loans that Greece received from European banks within the period 2010 to 2015 (estimated at $262 billion), the country is being dismembered. Greece's regional airports are now operated by German companies and the country's main telecommunication firm has been privatized, with sizable shares of it owned by Deutsche Telekom.

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"The only thing missing outside the office of Greece's privatization agency is a sign that reads: A Nation for Sale," wrote Greek political economist, C. J. Polychroniou.

Unsurprisingly, economic subservience is often a prelude to political bondage as well. Not only did Syriza betray the aspirations of the Greek people who voted against austerity and bailouts, it also betrayed the country's long legacy of maintaining amicable relationships with its neighbors.

Since his arrival at the helm of Greek politics, Tsipras has moved his country further into the Israeli camp, forging unwise regional alliances aimed at exploiting new gas finds in the Mediterranean and participating in multiple Israeli-led military drills.

While Israel sees an opportunity to advance its political agenda in Greece's economic woes, the Greek government is playing along without fully assessing the possible repercussions of engaging with a country that is regionally viewed as a pariah, while internationally becoming condemned for its military occupation and terrible human rights record.

Israel moved to pull Athens into its own camp in 2010, shortly after the Turkish-Israeli spat over the "Mavi Marmara" attack ensued. Israeli commandos attacked the Turkish Gaza-bound boat, killing nine Turkish nationals and injuring many more.

Although Turkey and Israel have, since then, reached a diplomatic understanding, Tel Aviv has moved forward to create alternative allies among Balkan countries, exploiting historical conflicts between some of these countries and Turkey.

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Bilateral agreements were signed, high diplomatic visits exchanged and military exercises conducted in the name of deterring "international Jihad" and fighting terrorism.

Greece and Cyprus received greater Israeli attention since they, on the one hand, were seen as political counterweight to Turkey and, on the other, because of the great economic potential that they offered.

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Ramzy Baroud is the Managing Editor of Middle East Eye. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza's Untold (more...)
 

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