Syria and the European migration crisis

US and Western policies are a major cause of the cross-Mediterranean refugee influx

Syrian President Bashar al-Asad detonated a bombshell in the interview he gave to Chinese television last week: “Syrians’ living conditions have never been worse than now,” he stated. “The process of strangulating our people has become more vicious. The war on Syria has not ended. We are still in the midst of it.”

The shrapnel from this bomb hit Lebanon first and hardest. But it could soon reach Jordan too, and set in motion a second wave of migration to Europe bigger than the first, alongside those washing in from Africa via Tunisia and Libya, with potentially shattering consequences for many countries.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah hit the nail on the head when he urged the Lebanese government, which revolves in the US/Western orbit, to desist from its measures to prevent Syrian refugees who have inundated the country from taking to the sea to seek a living on the European shores of the Mediterranean.

In his latest speech, he affirmed that the “demographic threat” which many Lebanese fret about is a direct consequence of the policies of the US, which triggered the refugee influx by waging war on Syria and subjecting the country to suffocating sanctions under the so-called Caesar Act.

The countries that started wars and destroyed states in the Arab world under the fake pretext of promoting democracy should pay the price for their actions. Arab governments, whether in Lebanon or the Maghreb, need not volunteer to act as Europe’s border-guards in exchange for a few crumbs of aid by forcibly preventing the departure of migrants. If the Lebanese government sees the refugee influx as an existential threat , why does it not take practical actions rather than moaning and complaining? What is it waiting for? Why does Prime Minister Najib Mikati not even condescend to make the short trip to Damascus?

Tunisian President Kais Saied’s announcement declining the EU’s grant of financial aid — due both to its meagre amount and the contemptuous attitude with which it was provided — was a bold move. It addressed Europe in language it understands. Tunisia does not need charity in exchange for preventing migration, but support for development projects and mutually beneficial investments to provide work for the country’s one million unemployed.

This announcement should be followed by the halting of all measures to forcibly prevent African and Middle Eastern migrants from embarking by sea for southern Europe and dump them in the Libyan desert to die of thirst and hunger. It is time for the country to revolt against European condescension and extortion.

When Libya was secure and stable it provided employment for millions of Tunisians, Egyptians, and African from the Sahel. That ended after the NATO intervention that wrecked the country, toppled the regime, militia killed tens of thousands of people, displaced millions, and plunged the country into militia-ruled anarchy. US and European policies played a major role in creating the current migrant crisis that threatens dire consequences for the new colonialists.

In Lebanon, those political and sectarian leaders who anguish about the country’s demographic make-up, and view the influx of Syrians as an existential threat to their security, stability, and racial purity, need to stop deceiving themselves. They should unite to confront this problem by identifying its real cause — the US/Western assault on Syria, and indeed Lebanon itself, aimed at starving the peoples of both countries in the service of Israeli occupation — rather than obsequiously obeying the dictates of the US embassy.

What do they expect their Syrian neighbours to do when they lack food, fuel, or medicine and earn less than ten dollars per month due to the collapse of the currency? Do they want them to die of hunger and illness and not try to find means of survival in neighbouring countries, especially Lebanon. Jordan, and Turkey? They all participated in the conspiracy against Syria, each according to its role and power.

The US-led West needs to acknowledge that its efforts, funded by billions of Gulf petrodollars, to fragment Syria, Libya, Iraq, and Yemen have failed, and to abandon these destructive policies. Otherwise, they will pay a heavy price, and not only in terms of migration. The Arab peoples have for the most part awakened to the reality, and are no longer fooled by their lies about freedom of democracy as a guise for impoverishing them and forcing them into submission and normalisation.

Syria and the European migration crisis

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