Monday, September 07, 2015

Abdallah Schleifer on the EU's 'Refugee' Crisis

Abdallah Schleifer

Abdallah Schleifer, writing for Al Arabiya News, says, "EU migrant crisis: Enough rhetoric, time for solutions" (August 31, 2015), and he makes a couple of sensible points, the first about the trafficking of refugees from the Middle East to Europe:
The UNHCR said implementation this year of EU Search and Rescue Operations (SRO) has probably saved tens of thousands of lives. This is an attempt to make the EU look better compared to last year's supposed callousness, but it only deepens the crisis of massive illegal migration [because] . . . . for traffickers, SROs mean they can now cram even more migrants into even cheaper boats, because if they begin to sink they will transmit distress signals and a vessel will turn up to save the passengers.
This means the trafficking of more 'refugees,' or "migrants," as Schleifer to call them. What's the solution? Schleifer looks ahead:
When peace comes to Syria, those who have fled to neighboring countries are far more likely to return home than those who have made it to Europe, and the Jordanian, Lebanese and Turkish authorities will do whatever is necessary to make them return. So the EU should massively invest in dramatically improving the conditions and size of refugee camps in those countries, while making it more difficult to cross into Europe.
In other words, the EU should treat them as refugees deserving support if they've taken refuge in a neighboring country where refugee camps already exist, but treat them as illegal migrants if they avoid or leave those camps and head for Europe. This sounds like a sensible idea to me, far better in the long run.

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At 10:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The UN Hague Convention on refugees requires those fleeing a risk of persecution to seek refuge in the first safe country they reach. Refugees and asylum seekers are not supposed to country-shop though many do, including Asians, Eastern Europeans, and Africans who fly over dozens of other countries to enter the US, Canada, Australia, or another Western OECD country to claim asylum. The problem with refugee camps in neighboring countries is that they may become permanent. There are second and third generation Palestinians who've known only life in a refugee camp because the host countries refuse to give citizenship to these 'temporary' refugees, and Israel won't allow them to return to the land of their ancestors. We also need to take an honest look at our role in destabilizing the region. We invaded Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein, who had received economic aid, dual-use technology and assistance with procuring weapons from the Reagan administration during the Iran-Iraq war, and then let occupation leader Paul Bremer castrate Saddam's power base, now the brains behind ISIS, using the old regime's brutal tactics to seize power. The possibility of more reckless military interventions in the region is a primary reason why I will not vote for any GOP candidate for president.

At 4:51 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Anonymous. I agree with most of what you wrote. I think the Palestinian case is unique, however, and that refugees from Syria would be able to return. As for voting next time, the Democrats haven't handled Syria especially well.

Sorry about this quick response, but I'm running late today . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 9:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops, I forget to sign my name. With regard to your opinion on Dems and Syria, could you please support that with examples when you have a chance and perhaps contrast choices made by the Obama administration with specific alternatives proposed by the GOP-led Congress?


At 10:45 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Obama's inexperience in foreign policy and his tendency to talk too much when silence is needed have had the unfortunate result that other countries no longer take him seriously, e.g. his red line on Syria a couple of years ago lost him much credibility.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inexperience? His foreign policy is rational, directed and deliberate. The destruction he has caused in the world is not the product of inexperience. This destruction is his policy (or rather their policy... now, just who are they?).

At 8:07 AM, Blogger Carter Kaplan said...

Syrian Girl offers an alternative narrative.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Anonymous, I guess we'll just disagree.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 11:12 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks, Carter. I'll take a look.

Jeffery Hodges

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