Tuesday, September 8, 2015

AWOL Arab League

Oh yeah - the refugees fleeing the mid east for the generous tolerant Woman Worshipping West...

As pressure rises for European leaders to resolve the refugee crisis, critics are also asking why Middle Eastern governments have not done more to help the four million Syrians who represent one of the largest mass movement of refugees since World War Two.

Much ire has focused on the relatively wealthy states along the Persian Gulf. According to a report by Amnesty International, the six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council offered zero formal resettlement slots to Syrians by the end of 2014. 

Rights groups point out that those countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — with wealth amassed from oil, gas, and finance, collectively have far more resources than the two Arab states that have taken in the most Syrians: Jordan and Lebanon. The Gulf states are Arabic-speaking, have historic ties to Syria and some are embroiled in the current crisis through their support for insurgent groups. 

The missing link in this tragic drama is the role of Arab countries, specifically the Gulf countries. These states have invested money, supported political parties and factions, funded with guns, weapons etc, and engaged in a larger political discourse around the crisis.

The logic behind Gulf refugee policies is complex. In smaller Gulf states like Qatar and the UAE, foreigners already far outnumber nationals, a demographic balance that, for some, feeds feelings of anxiety tinged with xenophobia. In the UAE, foreign nationals outnumber citizens by more than five to one.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Syrians fleeing the slaughter in their country often face a bleak landscape with few opportunities to work, attend school, reunite with their families, and start new full lives.

Lebanon has accepted more than 1.1 million Syrians, the most of any Arab state (Turkey has accepted approximately two million). That means that at least one in five people in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee. Lebanon forbids the construction of formal refugee camps. As a result, more than 40% of refugees in Lebanon live in makeshift shelters including “garages, worksites, one room structures, unfinished housing,” according to U.N. figures cited by Amnesty International. Many Syrians rely on aid agencies whose resources are stretched thin.

In Egypt, state repression is part of what is compelling Syrians to risk the sea route to Europe. Following the military’s overthrow of elected president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, Egypt demand Syrians apply for visas. Morsi’s Islamist government was sympathetic to the rebel cause in Syria, but the new military-backed regime is less sympathetic to Syrian migrants many more have been deported. Coinciding with a tide of Egyptian nationalism, Syrians reported being fired from their jobs, detained by police, and harassed by landlords.
According to the United Nations, 49 per cent are non-Syrian. As to whether they're refugees, well, usually, refugees flees as families. Yet here, from those UN statistics, is he breakdown of those "refugees":
13 per cent children
12 per cent women

75 per cent men
That's not the demographic distribution of fleeing refugees, but of an invading army.