Europe, the Refugee Crisis, and Conservatives

 

web-refugee-crisis-5-epaI noticed yesterday on the Member Feed that Ricochet member F-18 was wondering why we hadn’t been discussing the refugee crisis on Ricochet. In fact, we have — quite a bit — but he’s right that some of the most interesting discussions have been coming up in the comment threads, and thus aren’t so easy to find.

I’m in Europe now, and was living in Turkey as the Syrian war began and the refugees began streaming across the border. So I thought I’d open this thread to anyone who wants to ask questions about what exactly happened and what’s happening now in Europe.

Before that, though, I thought I’d put up links to some of the posts I wrote here on Ricochet as the crisis began. It would take you a few hours to read them all and watch all of the video interviews, but if you have them to spare, you might find them useful: You can see from them how absolutely clear it was, even in 2011, that a disaster of this scale was inevitable.

So when I read now that thanks to a single photo of a drowned Syrian toddler the world has realized it has a very big problem on its hands, I think you’ll understand why I feel … well, I don’t know what I feel. And I guess what I feel isn’t really the point.

July 10, 2011: Mike and Bob From Hama

… I suppose the place to start is at the end. I know the look he gave me when I left. I see it a lot: “You’re a journalist. Please, make the world understand what’s happening to us. If they understood, they wouldn’t let it happen.”

July 11, 2011: “Hama Doesn’t Forget or Forgive

… He was groping for any kind of hope, but realistically hopeless. “The whole world wants Assad to stay. Everyone is too afraid of what will happen if he falls.” He was well aware that this fear wasn’t baseless. Overwhelmingly, he thought, the most likely outcome of this was civil war. “There is a huge hatred for the Alawites.”

He stressed that anyone who thought compromise or reform possible at this point was delusional. “They don’t understand the Syrian mentality. Hama doesn’t forget or forgive.”

Bob had joined us by this point. I asked, again, why they were talking to the media. “Governments won’t listen,” Mike said. “But the message has to get out to people. People can make their governments put pressure on Assad.”

I told him that I thought the likelihood of this was close to zero, and I explained why. Bob tried to insist I was wrong.

Mike interrupted him and said, “No, she’s right. I agree with her. She’s right.

“Rationally, there’s no hope.”

June 18, 2011: When Syria Explodes

… It’s not a secret that Syria is imploding. But the key thing to grasp is that it won’t stop there: There is a real possibility that this regime will take its neighbors down with it. I’m not sure that the West — which from what I can tell is now completely preoccupied with itself and its economic problems — is sufficiently grasping this. …

February 2, 2012: The Evil Regime: A Report From Syria

… Having been told that the videos of carnage coming out of Syria were doctored or manufactured to exaggerate the scale of the catastrophe there, he decided he had an obligation to see for himself. He disguised himself as a naive Turkish restauranteur and went to Syria undercover. He was there for two weeks before being arrested and deported. He’s in Istanbul now, and I saw him last night. Physically he’s fine, but …

February 3, 2012: What Ilhan Tanır Saw in Syria, Part I

…  “Conditions are far worse than I expected. … They come house by house and they arrest every single person … it’s far worse than anything you can imagine. … the civil war has not arrived yet, but it looks like maybe a few weeks … I definitely think Assad forces must be distracted, must be distracted, they’re using all their resources on the people … but they’re doing this because there’s nothing else they worry about right now … Yes, Assad might play whatever he’s got — Kurds, PKK, it’s a risk … Everyone is waiting, Assad does what he does best … “

February 3, 2012: What Ilhan Tanır Saw in Syria, Part II

“I had no idea what they were going to do to me … they wouldn’t let me call my embassy, no way. … I thought, ‘Okay, this is not going well.’ … They took me downstairs, which is a terrible, terrible place … smells, I cannot describe how disgusting it was … people are coming in chained, like ten, five, ten people … they were really angry at me, I can see … they only hit me in the chaos, and it wasn’t too bad, compared to other people … I have no idea who did it, they did it from my back … it could have been much worse, it was chaos.” …

February 4, 2012: Let Me Save You Time on Syria

Let me put this to you simply. Assad is a monster. He is evil beyond comprehension. No one is going to stop him until he and everyone around him is dead. But you’re out of your minds if you convince yourself the FSA is comprised of potentially friendly, liberal democrats. There’s not a liberal democrat between here and the Horn of Africa, just trust me on this; they don’t even know what those words mean, they just know that you have to say them if you want to have any hope of being saved by those weird but freakishly powerful Americans for whom the words “liberal democrats” are the magic elixer. There will be no friendly, moderate, secular regime in Syria, ever, and the first thing the FSA will do if anyone helps them is slaughter Alawites and Christians. Everyone knows it, and at this point, who could possibly be surprised and who could blame them. They hate the world in this descending order, with allowances for overlap: Shia, Jews, Christians, Iran, America, Israel, Russia, Turkey. They’ll probably hate each other, too, soon enough.

The only options here are unbearably awful and unspeakably awful. There’s no happy outcome. The United States remains the only country in the world with anything like the military power to change this situation in a meaningful way, and nothing but military power will affect it, and the US isn’t going to use it. Our economy is in the tank, we’re tied down around the world, we’re hamstrung by Russia and Iran. We’re done with this region; we’re not even interested.

We will be blamed for not intervening, just as we were blamed for intervening in Iran and Iraq, and everyone will forget that both intervening and not intervening are moral choices; and the US was never presented — ever — with a choice between supporting good and supporting evil in this part of the world, just between supporting evil and supporting slightly-less-evil. In a choice between supporting evil and supporting slightly less-evil, slightly-less-evil equals good. That’s the real world.

… So, yeah, they’re Islamists, not the shy flower of the Scottish Enlightenment, but they seem to have some interest in democracy, and they talk about the Turkish model, which I’m sure they don’t understand, but which, if it means to them, “Islamic and democratic,” is probably a good thing. Maybe if you could get enough UN peacekeepers in there fast enough after Assad falls, you could prevent some of the slaughter of the minorities that would otherwise ensue. Maybe you could get a functional state up-and-running fast enough that Syria doesn’t become the Somalia of the Levant, maybe not.

The risk right now to Syria’s neighbors, if it tries to help, is extreme: Assad holds the PKK card, it has huge stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons. The regime is going bankrupt, at the very least there will be floods of refuges if this continues, Turkey certainly can’t absorb them. The Russians would be perfectly happy for every man, woman and child in Syria to be tortured and killed so long as nothing gets between it and its warm water base at Tartus. The French and the British will make very stern noises, but what are they going to do. UN? Useless. Arab League? Useless. GCC? Useless.

Meanwhile, those kids are dying. I’ve met some of them, Ilhan has met many more, and they’re kids who have been pushed into radicalism because they’re going to be killed tomorrow, so you better well hope there’s a better life on the other side. It’s that simple, really.  …

And so here we are, on September 23, 2015. Please feel free to ask me any question you have about the refugee crisis — how it began, how Europe is reacting to it, what conservatives should think about it, and what might happen next.

Sadly, I know a lot about it.

And I know that for reasons I’ll never understand — as long as I’m alive — people are surprised by it.

 

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  1. Cat III Member
    Cat III
    @CatIII

    What’s America’s involvement in all this? There was the redline that went unenforced and “moderate” rebels that have received US funds. Like the airstrikes in Iraq, it seems like the Obama admin wants to be involved while staying out of it (or at least appearing to be).

    Has the military industrial complex made things worse? Should they have been more involved? Boots on the ground? What’s America’s interest in Syria?

    Thanks for starting this thread. I could use a crash course.

    • #1
  2. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    At this point what is the least bad realistic outcome for the Syrians?

    (Measured by least death/destruction/ethnic cleansing.)

    What external factors does this depend upon?  Which of these can we influence (eg concerning the West and what we do and say about Assad), which of these are completely untouched by Western public and political opinion?

    • #2
  3. civil westman Inactive
    civil westman
    @user_646399

    When will “Menace in Europe Redux” be out?

    • #3
  4. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Cat III:What’s America’s involvement in all this?

    At first, we supplied the FSA with food rations and pickup trucks; and after that we began providing training, cash, and intelligence to Syrian rebel commanders. We began surveillance missions on ISIS positions in Syria in September 2014, and soon after began striking ISIS targets, but not Assad’s positions. It’s unclear how involved the CIA is — that, as you’d imagine, is classified — but it’s rumored to be very involved; the southeast of Turkey is said to be “crawling” with CIA. Who knows — I also heard that when it was highly unlikely to be true. The Pentagon has spent 500 million dollars on a train-and-equip program for vetted Syrian rebels; it has been disastrously unsuccessful.

    Here’s a link to the official “Operation Inherent Resolve” site:

    As of 4:59 p.m. EDT Sept. 15, the U.S. and coalition have conducted a total of 6,863 airstrikes (4,328 Iraq / 2,535 Syria).

    • U.S. has 5,358 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria (2,949 Iraq / 2,409 Syria)
    • Coalition has 1,505 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria (1,379 Iraq /126 Syria)

    The countries that have participated in the airstrikes include:

    • In Iraq: (1) Australia, (2) Canada, (3) Denmark, (4) France, (5) Jordan, (6) The Netherlands, and (7) UK
    • In Syria: (1) Australia, (2) Bahrain, (3) Canada, (4) Jordan, (5) Saudi Arabia, (6) Turkey and (7) UAE

    As of Sept. 15, U.S. and partner nation aircraft have flown an estimated 54,454 sorties in support of operations in Iraq and Syria.

    And here, as far as I know, is the most recent specific update, which is also, I suspect, nonsense:

    Progress in Syria

    In northern Syria, the general said ISIL fighters are regularly targeted and killed by anti-ISIL forces and coalition airstrikes, leading to a significant loss of physical territory and the denial of key movement corridors.

    “Not only has this impacted their ability to conduct offensive operations … but it has reduced their ability to govern and control the populace of once-seized towns and cities,” he said.

    The fight is tough day in and day out, he said, but ISF and indigenous ground forces throughout Iraq and Syria are making progress.

    On the Syrian train-and-equip program, Killea said the second and third classes of fighters are in training and recruitment efforts for follow-on classes are promising.

    This marks an important point for the program, he said, because a big part of the U.S. long-term strategy in Syria is to enable indigenous ground forces to fight ISIL.

    I say that I suspect it’s nonsense because, basically, everyone with access to any real information about this is obviously appalled. 

    There was the redline that went unenforced

    Indeed. But anyone who thinks enforcing that redline would have been free of risk — or sufficient to end the civil war — is in complete fantasy land. The only way we could have intervened, at that point, that would have made a bit of difference was massively, with ground troops, in an invasion on the scale of the Iraq invasion — and with a commitment, this time to stay there for a century. And we would have been risking direct conflict with Russia, which is not like risking conflict with … well, you get the drift.

    Has the military industrial complex made things worse? Should they have been more involved? Boots on the ground? What’s America’s interest in Syria?

    I don’t want to try to answer incredibly hard questions in a facile way. We can’t do history over, but if we could, I’d have said that we should — at the very outset — have done one of two things. 1) As cruel as it would have been, we could have made it entirely clear that we would do nothing to support the uprising. This at least might have kept the protesters at home. To encourage them and then fail to support them was deeply immoral — much as it was to encourage the Hungarian uprising in 1956. 2) We should have immediately gone in, before Syria was so destroyed that it could never be put back together — which would have been, as I said, an undertaking on the order of the Iraq war. But the one thing we clearly should not have done was what we did: give massively mixed signals and then attempt to fight this as a proxy war through the worlds’ least reliable proxies.

    Hindsight’s 20/2o, of course.

    As for what our interest in Syria is … well, the conflict is now threatening the stability of the entire Middle East and Europe, and is a humanitarian disaster beyond all human imagination. When ISIS gets its hands on the heavy-duty chemical weapons (and I do not for a minute believe they’re gone), they’ll use them. This won’t stop in Syria. We do have an interest in a reasonably stable Eurasia — a big one.

    • #4
  5. Mike Rapkoch Moderator
    Mike Rapkoch
    @MikeRapkoch

    For me the most pressing question is, if the US decides to step in, and Assad falls to us and, hopefully, we knock out ISIS too,, who do we replace him with?

    • #5
  6. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Zafar: At this point what is the least bad realistic outcome for the Syrians? (Measured by least death/destruction/ethnic cleansing.)

    Fleeing. Which is why they’re doing it. I agree with this assessment about Syria’s prospects, and agree as well that this has now become a massive threat to global security. But I see no hope of the scenario he’s urging becoming a reality:

    What is required to properly resolve the Syrian conflict is for the major powers backing both regime and opposition camps to fundamentally change their long held, self-centric policies and engage in meaningful talks which will see real concessions. The outcome would ideally be some form of transitional power sharing between those elements of the regime and opposition, acceptable to the majority of Syrians and capable of effectively addressing their grievances. This transitional authority would then be in a unique position to take on and eventually defeat extremism in Syria, with the help and support of the wider international community. 

    In other words, he’s saying, “What’s required is a miracle.” It wasn’t apt to happen in 2o11, and isn’t apt to happen now, because the powers in question are evil.

    So the least bad, realistic outcome for Syrians is fleeing. The more who escape, the fewer will die, be destroyed, or ethnically cleansed. And thus the most moral policy the non-evil nations can adopt is to allow Syrians to flee to safety. QED.

    What external factors does this depend upon?

    Russia, Iran, the Gulf States, Turkey, the EU and the US. The former two are evil; the latter are not, and Turkey’s somewhere in the middle. To put it simply.

     Which of these can we influence

    I don’t know.

    (eg concerning the West and what we do and say about Assad), which of these are completely untouched by Western public and political opinion?

    Not sure I understand the question, but there’s no such thing as a nation on this planet that isn’t in some way touched by Western influence — the question is what we’re willing to do to make that influence felt, how much risk we’re willing to take in doing so, and whether we want to do it.

    • #6
  7. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Mike Rapkoch: For me the most pressing question is, if the US decides to step in, and Assad falls to us and, hopefully, we knock out ISIS too,, who do we replace him with?

    Well, we could consider letting the Syrian people decide that. If there are any left alive. But we’ve got a very overstretched military right now, and Russia is pouring jets, drones, and combat troops into Syria. So to me the even more pressing question is, “Would US troops end up in direct combat with Russian ones for the first time since 1919? And would we survive that?”

    • #7
  8. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    We need to redraw a few borders. The coastal area is ethnically and religiously fragmented and more modern-minded. It may be better off as a federation of states starting with Alawite-stan at the Turkey border all the way south through Lebanon and Israel, with a Palestinian state somewhere. The Syrian hinterland is overwhelmingly Sunni and could form a Sunni state with western Iraq and maybe Jordan. Ralph Peters had a map of the new Middle East here. Do you think any of this is realistic?

    • #8
  9. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    civil westman:When will “Menace in Europe Redux” be out?

    When the original sells enough copies to earn out the advance. Sadly, the way the publishing industry works is simple: Unless your last book sold well, you don’t get to write another. And fair enough: Anyone here want the government to subsidize me to write books? I didn’t think so.

    • #9
  10. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans
    • #10
  11. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Marion Evans: Do you think any of this is realistic?

    With about five million troops and a hundred-year commitment, sure.

    • #11
  12. Mike LaRoche Inactive
    Mike LaRoche
    @MikeLaRoche

    The U.S. needs to dissociate itself from the Middle East to the greatest extent possible. Let them solve their own problems.

    • #12
  13. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    The failure to stop this human wave in its tracks has put us on a countdown to WWIII.

    • #13
  14. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    What does the migrant problem have to do with the Syrian civil war?

    • #14
  15. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Looks like all the poo-pooing of Huntington was premature.

    • #15
  16. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    Don’t know how you found a picture of a woman and a child in the same frame. Kudos! Was it Reuters? They have whatever is needed. Got all the best providers on speed dial.

    • #16
  17. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Sadly, the way the publishing industry works is simple: Unless your last book sold well, you don’t get to write another.

    Fortunately the traditional (i.e. century or so old) model is dying.

    • #17
  18. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    I like Lebanon. It seems to me worth saving. What can be done to accomplish that?

    • #18
  19. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    genferei: I like Lebanon. It seems to me worth saving. What can be done to accomplish that?

    Money.

    Here’s a good and detailed report on the situation, and it suggests why the solution to this one — or at least, the only hope — is spending a lot of money.

    • #19
  20. Guruforhire Member
    Guruforhire
    @Guruforhire

    genferei:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Sadly, the way the publishing industry works is simple: Unless your last book sold well, you don’t get to write another.

    Fortunately the traditional (i.e. century or so old) model is dying.

    This is a good point.  Ricochet could utilize their strategic assets:  Editors and existing marketing platform, to push a small amount of long form publishing as an indy publisher via amazon.

    Just sayin’.

    • #20
  21. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    Guruforhire: What does the migrant problem have to do with the Syrian civil war?

    About 70 percent of the migrants or refugees flowing into Europe are now coming from Syria, and I would assume most of the genuine refugees are Syrian. As I explained on another thread, it won’t be clear who’s a migrant and who’s a refugee until the asylum applications are processed, and the bulk of the non-refugees will be deported (last year the rate of recognition of asylum applicants was 45% at the first instance and 18% on appeal, so I reckon we can roughly assume that between a third and half of these people will end up being deported). 

    There’s a lot of confusion about this because the terms are often used interchangeably in the media, but there’s a strict legal difference between refugees and migrants. Refugees are people fleeing armed conflict or persecution; denial of asylum, in other words, would have deadly consequences to them. They’re a very well-defined (and protected) category in in international law. (See the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol and the 1969 OAU Refugee Convention.) Migrants choose to move not because of a direct threat of persecution or death, but for some other reason — to find work, or for education, of for family reunification, or for the hell of it. I’m a migrant, for example. 

    Many of the people who are now coming to Europe are surely refugees, but until they’ve formally applied for asylum and until the claim has been evaluated, there’s no way to know, so they’re often called migrants.

    • #21
  22. John Penfold Member
    John Penfold
    @IWalton

    What do others  you respect and who have deep experience in the region but opposite opinions from yours, think is doable?   If we had the will, knowledge,  staying power and military to do something about this what could we do other than take over and remain for a century?  Is there a way to contain the damage and spread to neighboring countries, the impact of the refugee crisis?  Is there any coalition, including one with Russia that could contain the spread?  What should we stop doing?

    • #22
  23. Stephen Hall Inactive
    Stephen Hall
    @StephenHall

    The mess in Syria is not the responsibility of either Europe or the United States (except in the ideological post-colonial sense in which all the world’s ills have their ultimate source in capitalism and the legacy of colonialism). Neither Europe nor the US is under an obligation to admit all persons fleeing the Intra-Islamist savagery. We should be challenging Arab majority-Mohammetan states to take in their ethnic brothers and co-religionists. The same goes for Iran and Russia (which really are partly responsible for the mess).

    • #23
  24. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    In other words, he’s saying, “What’s required is a miracle.” It wasn’t apt to happen in 2o11, and isn’t apt to happen now, because the powers in question are evil.

    If the two powers you call evil (and I’m not saying they aren’t) withdrew from the arena Assad’s regime would collapse and there would be a massacre of Alawites and the remaining Christians – as well as a flood of refugees even bigger than the present one.  That can’t be a good outcome.

    What kept the Lebanese civil war (cited in the article) going was support from various externals – some of them certainly evil, and empowering evil in the country. What brought the civil war to an end was (1) the agreement of these parties to stop fighting a proxy war in Lebanon because of an acceptable division of the political spoils and (2) the realisation by the Lebanese that after fifteen years nobody had won the country – it remained Shia/Sunni/Christian/Druze – if they fought for an ethno-religious (mini?) state they had fought and died for nothing.

    Taking a similar outcome as Plan B for Syria (also from the article): what are the things that would need to be in place, who would need to be persuaded, how could it happen?  Russia doesn’t care what we think or say, but what are the countries that matter which do?

    • #24
  25. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    They’re refugees until they clear the war zone. After that they’re migrants. They’re no longer fleeing this that or the other. They just heard there’s some good living to be had at the expense of others further north.

    • #25
  26. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive
    Ball Diamond Ball
    @BallDiamondBall

    This “we won’t know who’s in the human wave until they’re all here with applications pending” sounds like the Pelosi approach.

    • #26
  27. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Ball Diamond Ball:They’re refugees until they clear the war zone.After that they’re migrants.They’re no longer fleeing this that or the other.They just heard there’s some good living to be had at the expense of others further north.

    I recognise the distinction you’re drawing, but that’s a bit harsh.  Using that measure all those people in displaced people’s camps after WWII were no longer refugees – they were physically safe, after all – but in a lot of meaningful ways they were, and they were resettled with that understanding.

    I would like to see countries which accept refugees from Syria for resettlement start to accept them directly from first refuge countries like Lebanon and Jordan and Turkey.  That would obviate a lot of issues they’re currently having with over-run borders and weeding the migrants (from other countries) and jihadis out from genuine refugees.

    • #27
  28. Manfred Arcane Inactive
    Manfred Arcane
    @ManfredArcane

    Zafar:

    Ball Diamond Ball:They’re refugees until they clear the war zone.After that they’re migrants.They’re no longer fleeing this that or the other.They just heard there’s some good living to be had at the expense of others further north.

    I recognise the distinction you’re drawing, but that’s a bit harsh. Using that measure all those people in displaced people’s camps after WWII were no longer refugees – they were physically safe, after all – but in a lot of meaningful ways they were, and they were resettled with that understanding.

    I would like to see countries which accept refugees from Syria for resettlement start to accept them directly from first refuge countries like Lebanon and Jordan and Turkey. That would obviate a lot of issues they’re currently having with over-run borders and weeding the migrants (from other countries) and jihadis out from genuine refugees.

    Lot of underpopulated land in Australia.  Just saying.

    • #28
  29. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed.
    @Claire

    John Penfold:What do others you respect and who have deep experience in the region but opposite opinions from yours, think is doable? If we had the will, knowledge, staying power and military to do something about this what could we do other than take over and remain for a century? Is there a way to contain the damage and spread to neighboring countries, the impact of the refugee crisis? Is there any coalition, including one with Russia that could contain the spread? What should we stop doing?

    Russia is effectively pro-ISIS, in so far as Assad is ISIS’ biggest recruiting tool. I largely agree with Frederic Hof about this:

    … For even if President Obama cares nothing on the humanitarian level about the Assad regime’s collective punishment and mass murder, surely he realizes how the regime’s industrial scale criminality plays into the hands of ISIL in the form of a recruiting bonanza, both inside Syria and around the world. …

    Yet perhaps even this administration can accept one straightforward proposition about Syria and its place in a war commissioned by President Barack Obama to degrade and destroy ISIL: the protection of Syrian civilians is the sole portal through which anything good can happen in Syria. As long as the daily atrocities continue, there will be no political process. As long as barrel bombs fall on civilians and sieges strangle the innocent, ISIL will have hope of appealing to people utterly abandoned by the West. …

    The center of gravity in all of this is the brain of Barack Obama. If he accepts the central proposition—the protection of Syrian civilians is the sole portal through which anything good can happen in Syria—then he will make civilian protection the exclusive focus of his administration’s Syria-related diplomacy with Iran and Russia. Moscow and Tehran can, if they wish, force the Assad regime to cease mass casualty operations directed at residential neighborhoods. The Supreme Leader and President Vladimir Putin can oblige Bashar al-Assad to lift the sieges and let United Nations humanitarian convoys through, fully in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.If Iran and Russia elect to continue their enthusiastic support for ISIL-facilitating Assad regime mass murder, then there are ways and means available to President Obama to complicate the regime’s ability to do its worst. It is, as noted by the senior official quoted above, an “everlasting shame” that such steps have not been implemented to date. 

    A war on ISIS that empowers Assad can’t be won. As long as Assad remains free to rape, torture, maim, and massacre, ISIS’ ranks will be readily replenished — as they have been.

    • #29
  30. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Manfred Arcane:

    Zafar:

    Ball Diamond Ball:They’re refugees until they clear the war zone.After that they’re migrants.They’re no longer fleeing this that or the other.They just heard there’s some good living to be had at the expense of others further north.

    I recognise the distinction you’re drawing, but that’s a bit harsh. Using that measure all those people in displaced people’s camps after WWII were no longer refugees – they were physically safe, after all – but in a lot of meaningful ways they were, and they were resettled with that understanding.

    I would like to see countries which accept refugees from Syria for resettlement start to accept them directly from first refuge countries like Lebanon and Jordan and Turkey. That would obviate a lot of issues they’re currently having with over-run borders and weeding the migrants (from other countries) and jihadis out from genuine refugees.

    Lot of underpopulated land in Australia. Just saying.

    You’re right.  We should take more.  And if they’re all Christian Arab refugees – I’m fine with it.  They may not the only Syrians in great need but they are in great need.  We should take them without debasing it with an internal argument about Islam and victimhood.

    • #30

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