What is the reason for Europe being so eager to open its borders for those coming from Syria?
There have always been refugees coming to Europe. Various long-term conflicts have initiated a constant, but not overwhelming, influx of people that ‘we’ (the West) label as refugees. Then there were the immigrants that came for economic reasons or political reasons. Politicians worked with their departments to manage the process of visa applications, temporary housing, income, etc.
Due to the conflict in Syria the reality of today is very different. The refugee topic is a hot news item. NGO’s are struggling to provide food and care. Governments seem to act out of emergency pressure to allocate housing, healthcare, education and work for those coming from Syria. Local communities respond differently; some accept, some welcome; some reject forcefully the fact that the refugees settle for years in their neighbourhoods. “They have war traumas”, “they are Muslims”, “they might be terrorists” and “they are mostly men” are most commonly heard reactions. But society responds also with volunteers helping out with people opening their homes and making financial donations to NGO’s.
Who is Robert Pelgrim?
I am writing as a practice expert and not as an academic. I am aware that the (mostly) wiki-references that I use in this paper are not valid sources in the world of academics. But, it is me writing and I challenge you to read – or at least to scan – the articles under the hyperlinks. My goal is not to convince or to compete with academics but there is just not enough time to do a 1 year research, although I welcome academic opinions that counter my observations. This paper is to inform those who rely on their information coming to them through TV, newspaper and the internet; like I do. I also believe there is legitimacy in communicating ones’ thoughts in any shape or form. The daily news we hear is too shallow; even shallower than the resources I use here. And if not shallow, it is politically motivated.
English is not my native language as I am a born Dutch-national. I do speak a good word of Arabic too.
I used bullit points only to not tick you off with a volume of sentences. In that way I show my respect for the subject. If that is good enough for you I invite you to continue reading this paper.
I’ve done my reading on the formation of the countries that we currently label as ‘countries of the Middle East’. I know about colonialism and economic advantages; ‘politics and religion’ made synonyms.
I also know Hezbollah. I met multiple times with Sheikh Nabil Qaouk besides other members of the organisation. I drove southern Lebanon for hundreds of miles. My office was located in the Hezbollah governed area of Beirut next to the Bourj El-Barajne Palestinian refugee camp.
I’ve travelled Syria from Damascus through Darra; from Homs to Aleppo and from Palmyra through Deir El-Zor, to Qamishly.
I was with Mrs Bouthaina Shaaban (spokesperson for President Bashar Al-Assad) in her office and had meetings with Minister of Health Mr Rida Said multiple times. I organised eye surgery camps, with government permission, in Damascus, Aleppo and Deir El-Zor. A Syrian solder pointed his Kalashnikov at me while I was driving my car as he was crossing the streets of Beirut; he had right of way… A batallion a Syrian soldiers was based just behind our home in Mansourieh. Friends of mine stood at gun point to be executed during the Lebanese civil war but live to tell their stories. I had my encounters with the secret police and the civilian dressed militia men and had to pay my ‘fees’. Yet, I know the Syrian system only a little…
• Climate change is causing a natural disaster for the local population of northeast Syria since the past 10 years or so and the on-going drought is initiating massive people movements. Majority of those living in the areas struck by drought have the religious identity of Sunni Muslim. If all of them would come to the cities of Damascus, Latakia, Beirut en Tartus they will be a serious threat to the Assad regime that is holding grip on the country out of a minority position.
• The Assad regime is, after 4.5 years of civil war, still very much in charge.
• ISIL is static in its positions although it was able to rapidly take the areas that it currently holds.
• Russia is now building a military base, boots are on the ground and jets and drones are hovering the skies of Syria to support the Assad regime.
• Israel is holding talks with Russia to coordinate military movements.
• Israel has economic activity with Syria since many years although Iran, Syria and Hezbollah are presented to the West as ‘the axis of evil’
• There is, although no independent resource can confirm, on-going chatter about the connection between Israel and ISIL.
• The US coalition is fighting ISIL but no successes are reported; on the contrary, ISIL is firmly holding its grounds.
• The Arab Gulf states do not take in any refugees from Syria while there is huge financial capital and land available to relocate, as the settling of permanent immigrants will disrupt the Gulf region.
• Lebanon seems to be strangled by a garbage crisis that created a people movement calling for action. There are protests, more and more violence in the streets of Beirut; Amal is involved; Patriarch Al-Rahi calling to focus on electing a president.
• Saudi Arabia, a pro-western ally in Lebanon is keeping quiet while it had always supported anti-Syrian movements.
• Europe opening its borders and asking its citizens to welcome all those coming from Syria.
• Hezbollah, a Lebanese political, military and social organization that defends its territory, is fighting in Syria, which is outside the mandate of the organisation, to support the Assad regime.
• Michel Auon, who battled the Syria army in the Lebanese civil war, is now a pro-Syrian Lebanese politician aiming to become President.
And there might be more questions to ask and reasons to be given. Most important issue here is not the refugees, though. They are, with respect to their suffering, only an item in the toolbox that holds the equipment to accomplish a very specific goal.
At this very moment the formation of a new state to provide home and prosperity for the Assad regime and its alliance of minorities (Kurds, Christians and Druze) is in full swing. The state will hold the geographical areas of the coastal lines from Latakia (providing a land border to Turkey), Tartus and Beirut. Beirut, Damascus and the southern Darra province will provide economic activity through the land border with Jordan and therefore with Saudi Arabia and Iraq.
The process to create the new Alawite state
In order to accomplish this, the following steps are executed as part of a well designed process:
• Russia will gain permanent access to the Mediterranean by having their base in Tartus.
• ISIL will continue to ‘empty’ the areas north and east of Damascus and Latakia. When all people that opposed the Assad regime have left, security for the Assad regime is provided and controlled.
• Natural resources like oil are already processed under ISIL and sold on the international market.
• Israel is supporting the efforts of Russia, the US coalition and ISIL. The outcome of a continuation of the Assad regime provides predictability and therefore security.
• Hezbollah will continue its political rhetoric but will agree to settle since the Assad regime will continue to support its existence.
• The garbage crisis in Lebanon is a political incentive from Syria and it will strangle society to the point that it will elect Michel Aoun as president.
• Michel Aoun will present himself as ‘saviour to Lebanon’ but will, in that process, be a covert tool to facilitate the return of Syria-backed governance in Lebanon.
• Europe and the US will support the Assad regime by its involvement in the coalition that is fighting ISIL (purposely with little success since ISIL is a covert support to the Assad regime).
• Europe will continue to support the Assad regime by opening its homes to refugees from Syria. Accepting the emptying of North/East Syria by ISIL.
• Saudi Arabia will be silent since the public opinion will take a KSA/Assad acceptance as preferred to ISIL.
• In line with the purpose of a new-to-form state, Europe is the best and most permanent option for people from Syria. Syrians will not permanently stay in the Gulf States, as that will disrupt societies there. Due to the sectarian fabric of Lebanon the Syrian refugees can’t stay in Lebanon permanently. They will be a threat to the new-to-form state because they are still within its borders. Those Syrians that are now refugees will become permanently displaced people with refugee status only. Like the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.
So what we hear in the news is how refugees are suffering and how politicians are ‘trying’ to manage the effects of the influx of people.
We hear rhetoric of ‘solving the problem in Syria’, ‘we must not forget what these people have been through’ and we even dare to suggest that ‘people need to be cared for in the region’.
In the end we all support the ideology of the Assad regime: A safe-state for the Alawite community.
And that is not new in the region. Both Lebanon and Israel were created out of western economic and political motives. Now a local-mastermind-tribe is, with support of Russia, Europe, the Gulf states (with Iraq, Iran and Jordan) and the US, dictating its will in a global lethal-chess-game of actions.
After reading this paper you might want to continue your research in the events that are taking place at this very moment. I challenge you to dig deeper than my ‘surface-scratching-hardly-valid’ research does.
But I firmly believe that we should be aware that refugees do not come here by chance. They also are not meant to return. That should make us adjust our view on how those coming from Syria need to find a new home in Europe.
It’s because global politics had to settle with the Assad regime. And that is why refugees come to stay.