Saturday, 19 March 2016

The migrant crisis was not caused by Russian bombers and will not end when the Syrian war ends


General Breedlove, the NATO Commander-in-chief in Europe, and a number of other people have accused Russia of 'weaponising' migrants to attack the EU, but
 we  know that Russian intervention in Syria did not create the refugee crisis. A boatload of migrants were drowned off Lampedusa in 2013 and the numbers of migrants became steadily bigger in the first half of last year, but the crisis really got under way last summer. Huge, unprecedented numbers of migrants arrived in Europe in August and many more in September. This was before Russia started bombing Syrian rebels on September 30. 

That does not mean that Mr. Putin has been sufficiently Christian to take no pleasure in his
foes' grave misfortune. He has certainly made the crisis worse, whether intentionally or not. He might have caused it.

What exactly led to the crisis last summer? Ethnic cleansing by Syrian government forces? No, they were on the retreat before Russia's decision to intervene. The flood of migrants had nothing to do with the fighting getting worse, because it didn't. The people smugglers in Turkey caused the exodus, by dropping their prices dramatically. Why did they do so? I do not know. 

The Russian government organised it, so I was told by a well informed source working with refugees in Syria. It makes good sense if they did so, using Russian mafia connections, but it's hearsay. It would be very interesting to have proof, or even evidence, but the important questions are not about how the crisis started, but how it ends and if it ends. 

The way to end the crisis is by ending the war in Syria, some guileless people say. But we cannot end the war. We can only use diplomacy to try to help the Syrians end it. And anyway, ending the war wouldn't solve the problem. Most of the migrants are not Syrian. Many are Iraqi, Afghan, Pakistani, Moroccan and Algerian, even though no war is going on in Morocco, Algeria or even in Pakistan. And after the war in Syria, which may be over soon or in a decade or more, there will be other wars, in the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia and Africa. We might see Saudi Arabia explode or Iran descend into civil war. There are wars now, in Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Mali. 

Turkey is pledged under the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees only to accept European refugees. So was the UK, when she originally signed the Convention. It is clear that European countries should amend their adherence to the Convention to the same effect and only take European refugees. If not, asylum seekers and migrants will continue to invade Europe and eventually conquer it, conquer in the sense that they and their descendants will form the majority. Exactly as Viktor Orban repeatedly points out. 

This does not mean that we should not help Syrian refugees. We have a moral obligation to do so, but we can do so by creating camps in and close to Syria, not by settling refugees in Europe. We also have a moral obligation to our descendants to preserve the nations into which we were born.

Economist Megan Greene said today that migration is the modern form of revolution. It is also a modern form of invasion and of conquest. We shall have a migrant crisis forever, at slower or quicker tempos, unless Europeans have the will to take stern measures. 

Eastern Europeans have the will to resist the wave of migrants, but they are effectively puppet states ruled by Germany. Germans do not have the will to confront the issue, so painful to them due to their past, and have agreed to allow 70 million Turks the right to travel freely around the Schengen area, a right incidentally not accorded to Romanians or Bulgarians. You don't need to have the gift of prophecy to imagine a wave of Kurdish refugees, plus large numbers of Turks overstaying and working in Europe illegally. There are also, of course, terrorists with Turkish passports, though to be fair there are far more European terrorists passing through Turkey than the other way around.

Britain is semi-detached from Europe and not part of Schengen, but the British government under all three parties has wanted Turkey to become part of the EU. So does the EU as a whole, except for Viktor Orban, though it would need unanimous agreement. Turkish accession to the EU would make the current migrant crisis seem like a walk in a rose garden.

Let us be clear. The migrant crisis might never end. It might only abate and then flare up again, like an incurable illness. 


  1. It's like the Children's Crusade in reverse. They have a hopelessly naive view of where they're going and what they'll do once they get there. We should make a once-off, massively expensive outlay and return them all whence they came, and next time anybody tries it, use force to stop them.

  2. This is what it is like in Calais - a jungle indeed.

  3. Haven't head of that one [Breedlove quote]. Of course migration never ends - all of history is made of peoples moving. I recall frequent quips that the much more colorful RO of the recent past was happier... Is it still a statement one can get away with in Bucharest ?

  4. What a name for a NATO commander-in-chief, Breedlove. As the French would say, ça ne s'invente pas.