August 31, 2006

Steinmeier on Ahmadinejad: Bizarre

Posted in Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany, Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at 11:37 pm by billdawson

It is refreshing to see some fairly straight talk from German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier regarding Iran. In his interview in BILD today (31 Aug 2006), Steinmeier says a few things that I’m happy to see being said in public by the highest ranking German diplomat.

Regarding Ahmadinejad personally:

Der jetzige Präsident will sich zum Anführer der islamischen Welt aufspielen – sein bizarrer Vorschlag für ein Fernseh-Duell mit US-Präsident Bush zeigt das wieder einmal. Dabei teilen seine arabischen, ebenfalls islamischen Nachbarn unsere Sorge und unsere Ablehnung gegenüber einem atomar bewaffneten Regime in Teheran.

(The current president wants to present himself as the leader of the Islamic world — his bizarre suggestion of a TV-duel with US President Bush shows that once again. His arab and islamic neighbors share our worries and our rejection of a nuclear-armed regime in Tehran.)

His acknowledgement that time has run out for Iranians to comply:

[BILD: aber die Mullahs lehnen das Angebot doch kategorisch ab…]

So sieht es leider aus. Deshalb wird sich – wie angekündigt – wohl bald der Weltsicherheitsrat einschalten und die weiteren Schritte beraten. Klar ist: Der Iran hat ein Recht auf friedliche Nutzung der Kernenergie, aber kein Recht auf Atomwaffen! Hinzu kommt: Mit angereichertem Uran kann Teheran derzeit überhaupt nichts anfangen – außer, es plant den Bau der Bombe. Und eine iranische Atombombe müssen wir verhindern!

([BILD]: but the Mullahs categorically reject the proposal…]

So it seems, unfortunately. The Security Council will therefore assemble and discuss the next steps. What’s clear is this: Iran has a right to peaceful nuclear energy, but no right to possess nuclear weapons! It comes to this: Tehran absolutely cannot enrich uranium — if they do, they are planning to build the bomb. And we must prevent an iranian atomic bomb!)

Bravo. I like the talk, now let’s see the walk.

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August 26, 2006

Some kill, some die

Posted in France, Israel, Media at 8:29 pm by billdawson

Bias? Maybe, maybe not. But I thought it was interesting. A screen capture from CNN.COM’s World section earlier today:

diekill.png

In one headline, Israelis “kill”. In the other, French “die”. The stories indicate that the Israelis shot a Palestinian who was hurling explosives and the French died when killed by “insurgents” in Afghanistan.

Natascha Kampusch — the most coverage I’ve seen of an Austrian story

Posted in Austria, Natascha Kampusch at 8:06 pm by billdawson

There has been an extraordinary human interest story in Austria for the last several days and I am really amazed at the amount of international coverage. A visit to CNN’s Europe news page right now shows that the top story is “8-year kidnap: accomplices hunted“. And a video report by CNN’s Matthew Chance can be viewed here. This video, in which Chance interviews Natascha’s father, is currently the most popular on the cnn.com site.

The story concerns Natascha Kampusch, an 18 year-old girl who was, until Wednesday, held captive in a small room (people are referring to as a “dungeon” or “cell”) for the last eight years by her abductor. As I came home from work on Wednesday, there were many helicopters in the air, which is rare. I don’t know for certain if they were related to the case, but in fact at that time the police were hunting for her captor after she successfully escaped. As my wife arrived home, she also noted the helicopters and said that the goings on must be about “Natascha”. I had no idea what she was talking about, and she told me the story. The case was huge news when Natascha was kidnapped.

Anyway my point here is not to re-tell the story, which you can find on just about any news site right now, but rather to say that I think this is the most international coverage that I have seen regarding an Austrian (and specifically Viennese) story since living here, with two possible exceptions: the forming of the ÖVP/FPÖ coalition government (which caused Austria to be sanctioned in the EU) and the disaster at Kaprun. Both of those events occurred very early on during my Austrian residency.

Even the local press is taking notice of the international coverage. Die Presse (Austria) has a fairly comprehensive round-up of the scope of the coverage. It begins by mentioning Matthew Chance’s report then lists others. By Thursday (just the day after she escaped), the New York Times, El Pais (Spain), La Tercera (Chile) and Figaro (France) already had stories. Then on Friday basically every newspaper had the story. The Guardian, notes Die Presse, had Natascha’s photo on the front page. The BBC covered the story, and, of course, newspapers in the German-speaking areas had big stories, including Bild (sensationalistic), which had a full page and many photos.

August 25, 2006

DW’s Philipp: “Israel deserved ‘war crime’ label”

Posted in Amnesty International, Deutsche Welle, Hezbollah, Israel, Lebanon, Peter Philipp at 12:00 am by billdawson

(ed. note: this post was later updated to fix spelling and grammatical errors)

Deutsche Welle’s Peter Philipp enjoys living in the same fantasy world as Amnesty International, the world where bombing supply routes of a determined belligerent (who started the conflict) is not allowed because the artifacts along those routes — bridges, fueling stations, etc. — are primarily used by civilians. It’s the same world where the figure of 1,000 dead after one month of fighting and (by Amnesty’s own numbers) 7,000 air attacks and 2,500 naval bombardments — not to mention a full scale ground invasion in the latter days of the conflict — is an outrage. And in that world you are not to be outraged at the terrorist organization whose terrorist act — an attempt at terrorist blackmail — caused the conflict, nor should you be outraged at the country which has allowed this terrorist organization to grow, operate, arm itself and virtually take over a large chunk of territory.

To be a bit more fair to Mr. Philipp, I suppose he might jump in at this point and remind me that he is also critical of Hezbollah and of AI for not yet writing about Hezbollah. Sure I will give him some credit for that. He mentions it, but then gives Hezbollah their way out:

But it is going to be hard for Amnesty to criticize Hezbollah for this behavior. In contrast to Israel, Hezbollah is not an organized state, but a hard-to-define militia. It is a further example for the imbalance of an “asymmetrical conflict”: States always get a worse deal than non-states. Has there ever, in the history of the world, been a militia that has obeyed international laws? It is not meant as an excuse for Hezbollah, but the fact is, a state like Israel — which sees itself bound by international law — will be judged differently than a militia in such situations.

 

Unfair? Perhaps. But it represents the increased responsibility that comes with being a recognized state. Especially one that repeatedly uses international law in its own interest. Israel needs to learn that it will be measured against the same standard that it uses to its own ends. (my emphases)

In Mr. Phillip’s world, Hezbollah is a “hard-to-define militia.” That’s the best he can come up with? I have two objections to that. The first is the obvious objection that all of you dear readers also thought of immediately: to call Hezbollah a “hard-to-define militia” as opposed to a well-known, well-armed and well-organized international terrorist organization is, to say the least, ignoring the obvious. Really, it’s scandalous. Mr. Phillip will reply that he meant it in the legal sense, in order to point out AI’s difficulty in dealing with it. That brings me to my second objection: trying to let AI off the hook with the “hard-to-define militia” statement is nonsense. Hezbollah does not exist in a vaccuum. It is a terrorist organization that has state sponsors. Mr. Phillip can call it a “militia” all he wants, but there is no escaping the fact that this “militia” is acting in accordance with two states — nay, three states — which, I’m sure, Mr. Phillips would regard as being bound by international law. AI has no excuse when it comes to Hezbollah. In fact, why don’t they, for once, stop hitting the easy targets with their self-righteous reports and finally do some down and dirty investigations and write the mother of all dossiers detailing for us all the steps that Iran and Syria have taken over the years to establish a “militia” inside a sovereign third state? They could, for example, investigate arms shipments, training methods, the presence of Syrian and/or Iranian military and intelligence officials inside the sovereign third state of Lebanon. They could educate us about the motives that Syria and Iran have for supporting Hezbollah. They could use their superb in-depth analysis to discuss how Iran’s support for Hezbollah should be seen in light of public statements by the president of Iran concerning the destruction of Israel.

I also emphasized in the quotation above the last few sentences concerning Israel and international law. I wish Philipp would have elaborated. What international laws is Israel so often using? I feel like I cannot quarrel with this statement of his too much, because I’m not really sure which laws he means. But I can say that my first reaction was to laugh and think, “Oh yes, Israel, always the beneficiary whenever an international body gets together to decide things about it.” The “illegal” defense wall comes to mind. Well, perhaps I’m missing the obvious.

But I think the final paragraph of the article is probably fairly revealing about Mr. Philipp’s overall view:

Finally, as imbalanced as Amnesty International’s statements are, they are nonetheless a beginning. The latest war against Lebanon was not the first time Israel broke international conventions, especially international law. In the Palestinian territories, such transgressions are an almost daily occurrence. But the protests mostly go unheard.

If I am reading that correctly, by emphasizing that the AI report is a “beginning”, and then following up by mentioning that Israel is in constant violation of international laws, Philipp is hoping for a continued legal and verbal assault on Israel until … Until what exactly? Complete unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank? The tearing down of the defense wall because some international body has declared it illegal?

I reviewed some other of Mr. Philipp’s articles at DW. You can go there and search for “Peter Philipp” using the search box at the top of the screen. I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Mr. Philipp is probably on the left side of the political spectrum. I could be wrong, and I’m open to being corrected. But I hold this opinion because his writing seems to me to be plagued by a kind of confused logic that I think is prevalent on the left. It’s the logic of admitting — because it’s obvious — that certain people or groups or states are doing or hoping to do really, really bad things, yet having nothing to offer in the face of that threat other than the standard and rather tiresome gutmenschliche responses. (I don’t know if Mr. Philipp is German — but the label fits his writing enough to use it anyway.)

Take his essay on “What Drives Hezbollah” as an example. This article, dated 15 July, so about two weeks into the fighting, goes into useful detail concerning Hezbollah’s history and also Iran’s and Syria’s motivations for having Hezbollah inside Lebanon. The following statement shows that Mr. Phillip is pretty clear about the meaning of Hezbollah’s existence:

It has already trained Hamas militants, with whom it shares a single goal: The liberation of Jerusalem, or in other words, the destruction of Israel. (my emphasis)

After reading such a dossier on Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, you would not be blamed for thinking you were reading a hawkish article that would conclude with a well-reasoned justification for Israel’s aggression in Lebanon. But the article ends precisely like this:

Syria and Iran have used Hezbollah to set a trap for Israel — and without great foresight, Israel has fallen into it. Those who demand violent solutions cannot truly have an interest in peace.

In other words, Israel has blown it again: they fought people who want to fight them. By falling into Iran’s and Syria’s trap, they have helped Iran and Syria achieve their goals, which are to avoid, as he says in the paragraph preceding the one above, “gradual calm and normalization”. This is why I consider Mr. Philipp on the “left”, at least in terms of this issue. This is the standard leftist fantasy whereby any aggressive response to aggression is a priori the wrong response.

(Forgive me, but during the last several years I missed the signs of “gradual calm and normalization” that Israel, had it been wise enough to recognize it, could have latched on to for its own security and for the sake of peace in the region.)

The logic employed by Mr. Philipp means quite simply this: any time Israel acts to defend itself, it immediately becomes blameworthy. That is precisely the view of the political left.

August 21, 2006

Günter Grass (2) — the anti-bourgeois

Posted in Germany, Guenter Grass at 9:49 pm by billdawson

Wolfgang at Kapitalismus-Magazin:

Aber kann man über dieses Verhalten von Grass wirklich so überrascht sein oder muss nicht vielmehr festgestellt werden, dass es absolut zu dem passt, was Grass in den letzten Jahrzehnten politisch abgesondert hat?

(But can one really be so surprised about Grass’s behavior? Can’t we instead conclude that it is perfectly consistent with the political Günter Grass of recent decades?) [not a perfect translation from me, but I think it matches the sense and meaning of what Wolfgang is saying.]

Bravo. I think (I’ll have to look it up and write more about it later) that somewhere in that FAZ interview that Grass gave — or perhaps in an excerpt from the autobiography — Grass says something like (I think!) that the stifling bourgeois atmosphere of his family home is what interested him in volunteering for the submariners. If I’m right about that, it is, after all, indeed consistent with the anti-bourgeois leftist Grass of later years.

More along these lines… Wolfgang links to an excellent opinion piece by Wolfgang Münchau in the Financial Times Deutschland. Münchau begins by using Wagner (whose Bayreuth festival is going on right now) as a partial metaphor for Grass; one can enjoy the artistic Wagner in spite of Wagner the anti-semite. Regarding Grass, Münchau says that those who are calling for the revocation of his Nobel Prize for literature are being absurd. As for the political Grass:

Grass ist kein Antisemit wie Wagner, kein Nazi, kein alter Kommunist, sondern ein unerträglicher Doppelmoralist und, schlimmer noch, er ist ein Gegner freiheitlich-demokratischer Politik.

(Grass is not an anti-semite like Wagner, not a Nazi, not an old communist, but rather an insufferable double-moralist and, worse yet, an opponent of free, democratic politics.)

Münchau lists some examples, such as Grass pinning blame for 9/11 on the US and, during the recent “capitalism debate” in Germany (touched-off by Franz Müntefering), taking up his pen to argue that the parliament is run by banks and industry associations and that it subverts democracy in the name of global capitalism, which is discredited and “on the run.”

What Münchau finds noteworthy in all this is that the typical German reaction to the Waffen-SS connection is probably one of surprise because Germans are more likely (than Americans) to see the far right and the far left as being, in fact, opposites. Americans, he argues, would more likely see the extremes of the left and the right bending around to meet each other.

Bingo; that’s certainly how I see it. Münchau:

Grass’ Geschichte spiegelt die Lebenslüge der deutschen Linken. Sie glaubten, links sei das Gegenteil von rechts, und linksextrem sei das Gegenteil von rechtsextrem. Sie sahen sich als die wahren Antinazis. Sie betrachteten die bürgerlichen Parteien CDU, CSU und FDP als die Fortsetzung des Faschismus mit anderen Mitteln. Noch absurder ist, dass sie die USA in demselben Licht betrachteten, ungeachtet dessen, dass ohne Eintritt der USA in den Zweiten Weltkrieg der Faschismus gesiegt hätte.

(Grass’s story shows the lifelong lie of the German left. They believed that left is the opposite of right and that the extreme left is the opposite of the extreme right. They saw themselves as the real anti-Nazis. They viewed the bourgeois parties — the CDU, CSU and FDP — as the continuation of fascism by other means. Even more absurd is that they considered the USA in the same light and ignored the fact that without the USA’s entry into World War Two, fascism would have emerged victorious.)

Could the Grass confessions lead to some useful soul-searching by the German left? Certainly not. Could it at least open the eyes of those amongst the normal germans (i.e., the dreaded bourgeois!) who are prone to seeing the left in a favorable light? I hope so, but I wouldn’t count on it.

August 20, 2006

The Vacation and Entitlement Continent

Posted in Europe at 5:40 pm by billdawson

[hat tip Pajamas Media]
At Political Animal, Kevin Drum mentions a NY Times report about Americans taking less vacation time than ever. And he says the following: “[B]ack when I worked closely with Europeans, this was probably the most common area of incomprehension.”

Amen to that. There is an enormous disconnect between “us” and “them” on this topic. And it is not just vacation time — there are also an ungodly (no pun intended) number of holidays here. It’s astonishing to me that businesses manage to complete projects.

My wife has so much vacation time that she can’t possibly use it all, unless she wants to stay home and twiddle her thumbs. I am an independent contractor so I get no paid vacation, and that makes me a strange animal indeed in these parts. But I prefer the freedom of doing what I want when I want to the “security” of so much of what the social state here offers.

You know, it would be one thing if the massive amount of vacation time means that there is a large body of refreshed and therefore happy and efficient workers here. But instead I think the more prevalent attitude is one of what I guess would be called “entitlement”, which is not surprising to anti-social-statists such as myself who believe that nannyism leads to such attitudes. Here are some anecdotal impressions of mine:
Closing time is closing time. I have had the experience of walking into a store at 6:29 to quickly buy a greeting card and being told point-blank that “Feierabend” (a much-beloved word meaning the time after work) is about to happen so I can’t make the purchase. In the States, I would think it much more likely that people would want the business and stay an extra minute to finish a transaction.

“It’s not my responsibility.” Too many private businesses here seem like public offices (Post Office, DMV) in the US. The Customer is certainly not King. The workers are there to make it through the prescribed number of hours with the minimum amount of effort. Long lines in the grocery are shortened by opening new lines only after much huffing and puffing — much more huffing and puffing than is usually required in any grocery I’ve been to in the US.

“It’s not on the menu.” This is the classic example here. Just try customizing a food order in Austria. Maybe you’ll get lucky, but more likely you’ll get rolled eyes, unintelligible grunting or outright “No”s. My favorite personal example: I took friends from the US to a rather popular restaurant downtown here in Vienna. One of my guests had been in the Air Force and stationed in Germany, where he learned to love Jägerschnitzel. Jägerschnitzel is not common in Austria, whereas Wienerschnitzel (obviously) is. Wienerschnitzel is breaded and not served with any kind of gravy, of which my guest was fully aware. So he asked for a side of mushroom sauce (similar to what you would get over a Jägerschnitzel) in addition to a Wienerschnitzel. Having perused the menu, we knew already that there was offering of a side (Beilage) of the mushroom sauce, however we could see from other items on the menu that mushroom sauce was at least present in the kitchen. But the waitress, as expected, demured. “Wienerschnitzel doesn’t come with mushroom sauce.” We explained the situation and that we already knew that, etc. “But Wienerschnitzel isn’t like Jägerschnitzel”. Yes, as we said, we know that already, we were just hoping to get a side of mushroom sauce. We’re not asking you to pour the mushroom sauce over the Wienerschnitzel (that would surely have been some sort of aberration). “Well we don’t have the mushroom sauce as a Beilage.” Yes, we see that too. We are certainly willing to pay for a small bowl or saucer of the sauce. …

On and on. He gave up and ordered the Wienerschnitzel as-is, with no side of gravy.

Well that strayed a bit from the topic of vacation, but somehow I see all of this kind of thing as tied into the whole idea of entitlement.

Getting back to vacations: a frequent theme seen in newspapers and magazines here these days is that more and more people complain that they cannot actually do anything with all this vacation time because they cannot afford to travel. I believe this was in fact the cover story in a recent edition of the magazine that gets sent to the members of the Arbeiterkammer (AK), the “workers chamber” to which basically all workers belong to. And of course from the point of view of an organization such as the AK, this is the fault of employers who are paying low salaries.

Finally, last night (or the night before) I saw a silly TV magazine bit (no doubt on RTL) about couples on vacation who look bored out of their minds and don’t even talk to each other. The hidden cameras followed three different couples and filmed them as they sat sipping cocktails or dining in places such as Ibiza. The “worst” of the couples set the record with something like 33 minutes of complete silence. And all three couples — all six people — looked as though they weren’t really enjoying their vacation (though, of course, when confronted later they denied that.)

Günter Grass

Posted in Germany, Guenter Grass at 4:42 pm by billdawson

[ed. note: I edited this entry to remove the original german excerpts of the Keese article. The side-by-side german-english didn’t look good. Of course you can see the full german text at the Welt am Sonntag site.]

I have spent an astonishing amount of time over the last few days catching up on the stories about Günter Grass’s admission that he was part of the Waffen-SS during the last months of the second world war. I doubt if there is much coverage of the topic in the States, so if you are interested and you need a backgrounder, the english Wikipedia entry about Grass includes a decent overview of the events of the last week.

My own opinion — should anybody care — is that it certainly diminishes the political Günter Grass and rises to the level of a disgrace for which he should be deeply ashamed and embarrassed.

It was a gigantic mistake to remain silent about this for 60 years. What if he had disclosed this early on? I think that would have definitely impacted his ability to be the explicitly political moralizer that he turned out to be (Bitburg, etc.), but I think he still could have gone on to become the literary moral conscience of the nation that some make him out to be. In other words, I don’t think his admission really impacts his novels (I have read only one, by the way.) Had he admitted from the get-go that he was part of the Waffen-SS, I think his novels still could have had the impact that they did. In fact, perhaps the knowledge that the author was himself, as a teenager, a member of the Waffen-SS, would have made the novels even more compelling to his German audience.

Choosing as he did to be much more than “just” a novelist, to be overtly political and, especially, to be so accusatory towards others whom he deemed to be covering up or minimizing their own or Germany’s guilt, his silence was very shameful indeed.

To make it worse, it seems as though he is not being very forthcoming about it all. Of all the articles I have read on the subject, my favorite to date has been Christoph Keese’s “Was bleibt von Günter Grass?” (“What’s left of Günter Grass?”), available at the website of the German newspaper “Welt am Sonntag.” It is my favorite because Keese manages to be very critical, yet not too emotional or overboard (as opposed to another article which I’ll discuss later). And he gives some good reasons why we might consider Grass’s “confession” as a less than complete account. I’ll translate some of Keese’s most interesting remarks below.

[Note: because this is a rather lengthy post, I’ve split it so that it doesn’t take up such a big piece of the front page. Click the link below to continue reading.]

Read the rest of this entry »

August 19, 2006

One of the alleged would-be mass murderers caught

Posted in Germany, War on Terror at 11:41 pm by billdawson

German television ARD is reporting that one of the two suspected would-be bombers of regional German trains has been caught. According to the report, he was caught during the early morning hours today at the main rail station in the German city of Kiel.

If the guy they arrested is one of the two, then he gets around pretty good. Kiel is in the far north of Germany, whereas Koblenz and Dortmund — where the bombs were found on 31. July — are in the middle-west. If you look at this map, Kiel is up in the area numbered 24 whereas Koblenz is in 56 and Dortmund in 45.

Prosecutors say both DNA and fingerprint evidence matches with the man arrested today in Kiel. He is a 21 year-old student from Lebanon who has lived in Kiel for two years.

ARD also reports that the prosecutors are convinced that the two are not lone-wolves (they don’t use that term), but rather must be part of a larger, structured organization.

I now see there is an english report here.

UPDATE: as I look at earlier reports of the 31. July bombing attempts more closely, I notice that it wasn’t quite right for me to point out Dortmund and Koblenz as places where this man could have been.  Police believe the two bombs were placed on the trains in Cologne.  You’ll see that (with the german spelling “Köln”) in area 50 of this map — still quite far from Kiel.

Two would-be mass murderers on the loose in Germany

Posted in Germany, War on Terror at 12:13 am by billdawson

You can boost your bank account to the tune of 50,000 EUR if you help the German authorities capture the two young men who planted bombs on German trains on July 31st. At the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung you can see video footage of the news conference today whereat the captured explosive devices were shown to the media. The video includes security camera footage of the two would-be murderers.

For From the article at Expatica:

The discovery of the two suitcase bombs coincided with the latest conflict in the Middle East. “We believe that it is possible that the perpetrators wanted to see signals in the direction of the Middle East,” said Ziercke.

He also revealed that in one of the bags containing the bombs police found a note written in Arabic along with a telephone number in Lebanon and – similar to a shopping list – the name of a yoghurt that is manufactured in Lebanon but is also available in Germany.

Opposing the US on the Iraq doesn’t necessarily buy you much security.

August 17, 2006

Just say the word

Posted in EU, War on Terror at 12:08 am by billdawson

No, not Sussudio.  I mean “Islam”, or “Muslim”, or derivations thereof.

I checked in with the Bundesministerium des Innern (the German interior ministry), as I am sometimes wont to do, and read a press release about their renewed efforts to combat terrorism.  The release was issued jointly by them, the Brits and ministers of a few other EU countries.  You can see the Home Office’s recap here.

Neither the BMI’s nor the Home Office’s release mentions the word “Islam” or “Muslim” or “Mosque” or “Imam”.  The latter two would have been particularly relevant because the ministers insist they will be working hard to get at the roots of radicalization and recruitment.  According to the BMI release, the Finns (current holders of the EU presidency) will begin a process of regular meetings of experts to investigate the causes of radicalization.  This will include exchanging experiences with radicalization in various environments such as prisons and places of worship.

I can help them along.  They don’t even need to call a meeting with me or issue any press releases thereafter.  Here goes:

  • The terrorism you are combating is not some sort of general phenomenon.  It is Islamist.
  • Radicalization occurs within muslim communities.
  • The radicalizers are muslims.
  • The radicalizees are usually already muslims, or they convert to islam.
  • Focus on muslim communities.
  • I repeat, focus on muslim communities.
  • It’s okay to admit that you are focusing on muslims.  We already know you are doing it, or at least we certainly hope you are.  If you are not, you are not doing your job.
  • By “focus” I don’t mean kow-tow.  I mean investigate.

At least the EU’s official Counter-Terrorism Strategy document (PDF) does mention “Islam” one time amongst its 14 pages.  And it refers to Al Qaeda as follows:

This strategy focuses on countering radicalisation and recruitment to terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and the groups it inspires, given that this type of terrorism currently represents the main threat to the Union as a whole.

“This type” means “Islamist”.  But, as the counter-terrorism strategy also notes, one of the EU’s goals is to develop a “non-emotive lexicon for discussing the issues.”