Nations across Europe currently find themselves embroiled in a massive refugee crisis unlike any seen in recent memory, as several million men, women and children have left Syria in search of respite from the deadly civil war raging across the nation.
The Syrian civil war began in March 2011 and has displaced millions of people from their homes. The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) estimates at least 7.6 million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Syria as of May 2015. In addition, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Agency (UNHCR) says there are 4,088,099 registered Syrian refugees.
The fighting has taken so many lives that the United Nations stopped tracking the casualties. In January 2014, Al Jazeera reported:
“The United Nations has stopped updating the death toll from Syria’s near-three-year civil war due to its waning ability to verify sources and produce credible estimates, a spokesman for the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights confirmed Tuesday.
Prior to July, when the U.N. last published a death toll estimate of just over 100,000 people, the team of statisticians were able to cross-check estimates from six different sources – from various NGOs to the Syrian government itself. That number has since dwindled.”
The full effect of the mass exodus has been felt around Europe and the Middle East as refugees pour into Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Germany, Sweden, and Greece. Earlier this month, The Guardian reported on the death of a young boy who was one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned while trying to reach the Greek island of Kos.
The Guardian wrote:
“An estimated 2,500 refugees, also believed to be from Syria, landed on Lesbos on Wednesday in what local officials described as more than 60 dinghies and other ‘unseaworthy’ vessels.
Some 15,000 refugees are in Lesbos awaiting passage by cruise ship to Athens’ port of Piraeus before continuing their journey northwards to Macedonia and up through Serbia to Hungary and Germany.”
The UNHCR estimates that about 205,000 Europe-bound refugees have entered Greece; 69% are Syrians, 18% are Afghans, and Iraqis and Somalis make up the rest of the refugees. The influx of refugees has caused much debate around Europe over whether or not nations should be pressured into sharing the burden of the incoming population.
German chancellor Angela Merkel has been adamant about a shared burden and was able to pressure French president François Hollande into supporting a quota system. Merkel, along with European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, have been pushing for a quota system since May.
The Telegraph recently reported that British Prime Minister David Cameron was preparing a plan for the U.K. to start accepting more refugees. Republican Presidential candidate and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul told CNN that the U.S. should be careful with accepting refugees. Paul said, “we’ve also run into some problems with accepting so many refugees that we take some of the people who can help rebuild the country. We did this with Iraq, where we won the war, but then we accepted 60,000 Iraqi refugees into our country, some of which wish us harm and tried to attack us.”
Paul is correct in his analysis that U.S. government support for certain groups has led to unintended consequences. These unintended consequences must be examined if we want to fully understand the Syrian refugee crisis and how the U.S. government contributed to the problem.
The major source of the U.S. government’s blame comes from the creation of the Islamic State, or ISIS. In early 2015, Ben Swann released the now classic Truth In Media video, “The Origin of ISIS”. Swann’s video has been seen by over one million people worldwide.
“Americans should also be asking, ‘Why is the U.S. sending $500 million to the Free Syrian Army to fight ISIS when the Free Syrian Army is one of the biggest suppliers of fighters and weapons to ISIS?’ and ‘Why are we sending new and more powerful weapons to the FSA like anti-aircraft missiles – weapons that we know will be in the hands of ISIS?'”
Swann maintained that while the mainstream media will say that ISIS is the “creation of American inaction,” the reality is that they are the “product of direct action.”
This direct action started with “the action of creating a power vacuum in Iraq” and manifested into the “arming violent Jihadists, hoping they would overthrow a leader in a neighboring Middle Eastern country.”
The message of “The Origin of ISIS” video was simple: the U.S. government, in more ways than one, helped create and fund groups that led to the Islamic State. In May 2015 these claims were confirmed again, when Truth In Media’s Joshua Cook reported:
“Truth In Media questioned 2 years ago why the U.S. and our allies were financing ISIS in Iraq and arming so-called ‘moderate rebels’ in Syria.
A newly declassified DIA document from 2012 confirms that arming the anti-Assad rebel forces and Islamist groups would lead to the emergence of ISIS.
According to award winning journalist Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, “the secret Pentagon document provides extraordinary confirmation that the US-led coalition currently fighting ISIS, had three years ago welcomed the emergence of an extremist ‘Salafist Principality’ in the region as a way to undermine Assad.”
The creation of ISIS by the U.S. government is no longer a secret. In fact, this piece of information was mentioned during a recent Republican party debate. Truth In Media’s Rachel Blevins wrote, “During the first GOP Presidential Debate on Thursday night, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was asked about the United States’ involvement with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He noted that while the U.S. did not create ISIS directly, it is responsible for the group obtaining at least a billion dollars in Humvees deserted by the United States.”
If the U.S. government and military are responsible for the growth of the terrorist organization known as ISIS, then it’s without a doubt that the U.S. holds at least part of the blame. Interventionism and playing the world police is finally coming home to roost. The destruction caused by years of empire building has now created a refugee crisis that Europe is not prepared for, and that the U.S. is not ready to own.
What are your thoughts on the refugees? What about ISIS? Should the U.S. accept Syrian refugees?