Monday, August 17, 2015

Europe's Refugee Crisis: Best Hope for Peace in Syria, but Don't Count on It

The best hope for peace in Syria might very well be the mounting refugee crisis Europe is now confronted with. A good story by Ceylan Yeginsu and Anemona Hartocollis, "Amid Perilous Mediterranean Crossings, Migrants Find a Relatively Easy Path to Greece," detailing how Syrians get from the southern coast of Turkey to the nearby Greek island of Kos, appears in this morning's paper:
The International Organization for Migration, based in Geneva, said Friday that nearly 250,000 migrants had crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year, already more than for all of 2014. Greece alone, it said, had reported 134,988 arrivals from Turkey this year. 
Singling out the strain on Greece, the United Nations has called for urgent action to address the crisis in Europe. 
For many of the refugees, Greece is seen as a steppingstone to Western Europe. Although Turkey is hosting nearly two million Syrian refugees, more than any other country, many Syrians say that they do not see a future there. 
To get to Europe, they depend on a vast illegal migrant smuggling operation that has grown over the past year as the Syrian civil war grinds on.
The problem for Europe is that it is wedded to the U.S.-Turkey-GCC regime-change policy dictating that Assad must go in order for there to be any peace. This policy of course has led to the efflorescence of jihadi groups using Turkey as an entry point to Syria and Iraq. Now we have a caliphate where slavery is practiced.

A particularly disturbing story by Rukmini Callimachi appeared last Friday, "ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape," which explains how the caliphate uses captured Yazidi girls and women as sex chattel. Here is how Callimachi ends her piece:
One 34-year-old Yazidi woman, who was bought and repeatedly raped by a Saudi fighter in the Syrian city of Shadadi, described how she fared better than the second slave in the household — a 12-year-old girl who was raped for days on end despite heavy bleeding. 
“He destroyed her body. She was badly infected. The fighter kept coming and asking me, ‘Why does she smell so bad?’ And I said, she has an infection on the inside, you need to take care of her,” the woman said. 
Unmoved, he ignored the girl’s agony, continuing the ritual of praying before and after raping the child. 
“I said to him, ‘She’s just a little girl,’ ” the older woman recalled. “And he answered: ‘No. She’s not a little girl. She’s a slave. And she knows exactly how to have sex.’’’ 
“And having sex with her pleases God,” he said.
No wonder there is a refugee crisis. What Turkey facilitated on the front end by funneling jihadis across the border, it is now promoting on the back end by acting as a transit center for not only Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis, but Pakistanis and Bangladeshis as well.

Expect the number of refugees to mount. Increased fighting appears to have returned to the suburbs surrounding Damascus. The UNHCR is calling for a plan of action. The problem is that right-wing nativism is on the upswing in Europe. Governments will not want to risk popular reaction by implementing a system that will lead to the introduction of more refugees.

The obvious thing to do would be to end the fighting in Syria and Iraq and roll up the Islamic State. But Europe cannot exercise its sovereignty when it comes to war and peace. The U.S. calls the shots. We saw this clearly in Ukraine.

So the U.S. double game -- aiding the jihadis while fighting the jihadis -- will continue and the European Union will likely continue to fracture.


  1. Hillary's leaking oil. That's what floating Biden and Gore were about.

    1. Hey, Bob. I've come around on Bernie. I'm reading a copy of his book, the one that was made out of his filibuster speech at the end of 2010. The larger the audience he reaches, the more trouble Hillary is going to have. He basic positions are unassailable: tax the super-rich and create a big jobs program through a massive increase in needed infrastructure spending. Yes, absolutely, Hillary is leaking oil, while Sanders is picking up steam. I saw a small item the other day that he is formalizing a consultation with Black Lives Matter. Good move.