by Pepe Escobar
The plight of the refugees could become the perfect excuse to precipitate a new R2P (responsibility to protect) war; Libya remixed, with fighting ISIL barely disguising the real agenda: regime change in Damascus.
So Europe has suddenly, miraculously “discovered” that the civil war/proxy war raging in Syria since early 2011 has hemorrhaged into an extremely serious refugee crisis.
European Sturm und Drang on what to do about the refugee drama is unprecedented in modern times. Bitterness permeates the fault lines separating fear and intolerance from generosity and solidarity.
Among quite a few progressive circles, there are widespread fears that the current Western media campaign centered on the plight of refugees may be a catalyst to prepare European-wide public opinion for an all-out war in Syria before the end of 2015.
There had been an unspoken consensus among non-sectarian close observers of Syria and Lebanon that “Assad must go” — the Obama administration mantra — won’t be fulfilled anytime soon.Thus the current flood of refugees released from Turkish “holding camps” on their way to Europe — by direct orders from Ankara, with a little encouragement from Washington.
The plight of the refugees would then become the perfect excuse to precipitate a new R2P (responsibility to protect) war; Libya remixed, with fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh — the fake “Caliphate” — barely disguising the real agenda (which Washington shares with Ankara, Riyadh and Doha, not to mention London and Paris): regime change in Damascus.
The Refugee Chancellor
German magazine Stern has qualified Angela Merkel as The Refugee Chancellor. The generous German reaction to the refugee drama has drawn praise across the world.
And yet in other parts of Europe a much nastier game is being played: when in doubt, blame the Refugee Chancellor.
The fear/intolerance front derides refugees as mere economic migrants looking for a free ride. The fearful/intolerant argue that Europe is being taken over by Muslims breeding beyond belief, and challenge it’s politically incorrect — and even racist — to criticize them.They argue that once Syrians cross the border over to Turkey or Lebanon, they are safe. No less than 239,000 Syrians tried to reach Greece by sea since early 2015. The fearful/intolerant argue that these Syrians choose to illegally enter Greece, and then move forward to the Balkans on their way to the Promised Land of free housing, welfare and health insurance courtesy of the German taxpayer.
It’s obvious the so-called EU “elites” — in Brussels and selected European capitals — had been staring at the non-stop Mediterranean boat crossing for months, but did absolutely nothing about it. After all, Europe had taken less than 10% of 4 million Syrian refugees; the burden fell on Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, who had to cope with these 4 million. Turkey alone has taken close to 2 million.
Now the Refugee Chancellor is being blamed arguably for “dictating” to other EU members how many refugees they should accept — and pay for. This coming Monday, in Brussels, Interior Ministers of EU nations will get together to try to come up with a common policy. No wonder extremists are already gleefully parading the “positives” in the long run: the eventual shattering of the EU.
The jihadi reverse flow
All across Europe, a silent majority is increasingly vociferous: no more refugees, no more migrants, no more immigrants for that matter. Don’t destroy Christian Europe. As for the — non-European — lunatic fringe, this example is enough.
As the numbers of what analyst Vijay Prashad called “regime change refugees” keep swelling, so does the reverse jihadi flow.
Turkish intelligence, since early 2015, worried that jihadis were trying to cross into the country from “Syraq” and then reach Western Europe via Bulgaria and Hungary. Non-sectarian intelligence in NATO-destroyed Libya also warned the EU only three months ago about ISIS/ISIL/Daesh goons being smuggled into Europe on migrant boats. That’s exactly what the coordinator of the EU’s war on terror, Gilles de Kerchove, has been saying for months now.
A few sensationalist reports stated the fake “Caliphate” had announced it had already smuggled over 4,000 jihadis into Europe. The “information” was false. But a trickle of jihadis is indeed using their return ticket. Blowback will be inevitable.Front National’s leader Marine le Pen in France swears that 99% of the “clandestines” who come to Europe are men, and they do it for economic reasons. The FN does not bother to refer to “refugees” or even “migrants”; they are all “clandestines”. And the FN, of course, is wrong.
According to Unicef, between September 1 and September 6 for example, out of over 10,000 migrants who crossed the border between Greece and Macedonia, 40% were women and children. And according to the UNHCR, 13% of refugees attempting a Mediterranean boat crossing are women, 15% are children and 66% are men.
For all of UNHCR’s purposes, everyone fleeing Syria is not a migrant; they are refugees. The same applies to Iraqis. UNHCR details that 69% of refugees currently arriving in Europe are from Syria, 20% from Afghanistan and 3% from Iraq.
The key to the whole drama remains the relentless destruction of the social fabric of Syria. Here I have outlined that for Washington, the end of the civil war is not a priority — especially as Russia assumes a more prominent peacemaker role.
What else is new? The Empire of Chaos specializes in breaking, not fixing. Washington has been bombing/harassing/regime changing Muslim nations non-stop since the Clinton years; the list includes Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen. The invasion, occupation and destruction of Iraq generated 4 million refugees.The Obama administration and dodgy allies such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and in-the-shade Israel have invested heavily in a proxy war in Syria. The proxy war is against Iran and Russia — but it’s Syria that’s being destroyed. So it’s this “alliance” which the US “leads from behind” that is ultimately responsible for the transformation of large swathes of the Syrian population into refugees. This is a made in USA, made in GCC refugee crisis.
As for the Pentagon/NATO combo, so keen on extolling the rarefied heights of their technological power, they could completely eliminate ISIS/ISIL/Daesh on a weekend binge if they chose to. They won’t. So the refugee crisis will become even more acute — in direct proportion to Europe’s ever bitter polarization.
Also see: Blowback on a NATO beach – Pepe Escobar