Kategorie-Archiv: Islamofascist

Why Don´t Feminists Fight for Muslim Women?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali spricht in diesem Video über die Rechte der Frauen in westlichen und muslimischen Ländern – und sie warnt vor der Gefahr, dass im Zuge der Masseneinwanderung nach Europa Mißstände, die als überwunden galten, importiert werden. Zudem kritisiert sie die Rolle der meisten westlichen Feministinnen und hält die Silvesternacht in Köln für ein Menetekel. Der Kampf sei nicht entschieden.

Hier der englische Text in einer Kurzfassung:

Large numbers of immigrant men from the Middle East, South Asia and various parts of Africa have brought a different set of values to the West, specifically Europe. More than a million arrived in 2015 alone. More are on the way.

As a result, crimes against girls and women—groping, harassments, assaults and rape—have risen sharply. These crimes illustrate the stark difference between the Western culture of the victims and that of the perpetrators.

Let me be clear: not all immigrant men, or even most, indulge in sex attacks or approve of such attacks, but it’s a grave mistake to deny that the value system of the attackers is radically different from the value system of the West. In the West women are emancipated and sexually autonomous. Religiosity and sexual behavior or sexual restraint is determined by women’s individual wishes. The other value system is one in which women are viewed as either commodities (that is, their worth depends on their virginity), or on the level of a prostitute if they are guilty of public „immodesty“ (wearing a short skirt for example).

I do not believe these value systems can coexist. The question is which value system will prevail. Unfortunately, this remains an open question.

The current situation in Europe is deeply troubling: not only are Muslim women within Europe subject to considerable oppression in many ways, such norms now risk spreading to non-Muslim women who face harassment from Muslim men.

One would think that Western feminists in the United States and Europe would be very disturbed by this obvious misogyny. But sadly, with few exceptions, this does not appear to be the case.

Common among many Western feminists is a type of moral confusion, in which women are said to be oppressed everywhere and that this oppression, in feminist Eve Ensler’s words, is „exactly the same“ around the world; in the West just as in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

To me, this suggests too much moral relativism and an inadequate understanding of Sharia law. It is true that the situation for women in the West is not perfect, but can anyone truly deny that women enjoy greater freedom and opportunities in the United States, France and Finland than they do in Iran, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia?

Other feminists have also argued that non-Western women do not need „saving“ and that any suggestion that they „need“ help from Western feminists is insulting and condescending to non-Western women.

To visit the Ayaan Hirsi Ali Foundation, click here.

SIGN THE PETITION! Demand that feminist activists fight for Muslim women!

Poland Says ‘No’ to Migrants Following Brussels

Poland Says ‘No’ to Migrants Following Brussels

“This carefree attitude led to the problems that we have today.“

The Islamic State is hurting

For the first time since its blitz across Syria and Iraq, in 2014, the Islamic State is on the defensive in both countries. Its caliphate, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is shrinking. Its numbers are down. It hasn’t launched a new offensive since May, 2015. The new U.S. Expeditionary Targeting Force in Iraq—led by some fifty Delta Force commandos—has scored the first capture of a key ISIS operative, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. The Iraqi military, meanwhile, is tightening the noose around Mosul, an ISIS stronghold and the country’s second-largest city. In Syria, a fragile new ceasefire, which took hold last weekend between the government and the rebel opposition, has turned attention on the Islamic State.

Yet ISIS, also known as ISIL, has become a global phenomenon in the course of the past year, attracting pledges of fealty from extremist groups on three continents. It remains the world’s wealthiest terrorist organization, and the first to create its own state, from large swaths of both Iraq and Syria, with a capital in the Syrian city of Raqqa.

Brett McGurk, a diplomat who has been involved in U.S. operations in the Middle East since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, began his Washington career as a law clerk to the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist. He was one of the main architects of the U.S. military surge in 2006 and 2007, which pushed back Al Qaeda forces in Iraq. McGurk also led fourteen months of secret negotiations with Iran on a prisoner swap, which finally culminated in freedom for five Americans in January. He is now the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. On March 1st, McGurk reflected on the American-led campaign against ISIS during a conversation in his first-floor office at the State Department, just hours before leaving for Iraq. The interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

* * *

Force and Territory

How strong is ISIS, militarily, today? At its height, it had some thirty-five thousand fighters, from a hundred and twenty countries.

Current assessment: about nineteen thousand to twenty-five thousand fighters in Iraq and Syria— the lowest assessment since 2014—divided fairly evenly, but dominated increasingly by foreign fighters. Suicide bombers are nearly all foreign fighters. Tunisians, Belgians, Saudis, Libyans, all coming into Iraq and Syria to blow themselves up. As the Syrian civil war really started going, this major attraction of foreign fighters began ticking up to twenty, thirty, forty, sometimes sixty a month of suicide bombers, which showed us that we had a supercharged global network on our hands. Suicide bombers are just really pernicious. Major military operations are usually led by a wave of suicide truck bombs. We just had a number of suicide bombers in Baghdad, in Shia mosques, trying to re-spark some sectarian conflict.

How are they still making it into both Syria and Iraq, most notably from Turkey? Why hasnt the world been able to stop them?

It is much harder for them to get in now than it was even six months ago. We can track that by the numbers but also by the information we’re seeing from ISIL’s own sources. Their open sources—like Dabiq magazine—are saying, “Think about going to Libya now.” So we’re seeing a migration out of Syria, out of Iraq, because life is pretty horrible for ISIL inside Syria and Iraq. It’s much harder for them to get in, and, once they’re in, much, much harder for them to get out. The entire Syria-Turkey border, a year ago, was controlled by ISIL. Now it’s a ninety-eight-kilometre strip of border, and we’re going to work to make sure that continues to shrink.

How many people has ISIS lost in fighting and in airstrikes in the past two years? At one point, in 2015, the U.S. estimated that ISIS was losing a thousand fighters a month.

It’s in the tens of thousands, low tens of thousands.

Twenty or twenty-five thousand?

Around there, yeah.

If ISIS is weaker, why havent the array of forces on the ground, particularly in Iraq, backed by dozens of daily airstrikes by the U.S.-led coalition, made more headway in ten months? The U.S. goal is to shrink the core of ISIS in both Iraq and Syria,but that still seems a very long way off.

From where it was in the summer of 2014, ISIL has lost forty per cent of its territory in Iraq. It’s lost Tikrit, an iconic Sunni city. It lost Ramadi. It’s lost its connections between Mosul and Syria, losing Sinjar and a number of critical road connections. ISIL is increasingly shrinking. It takes time. It takes intelligence. It takes relationships. It takes ourselves getting established and reëstablishing networks, which we had to do.

And in Syria? What percentage of territory has ISIS lost there?

Again, it’s increasingly squeezed. Its connection from Syria, its main connection into Iraq and the Tigris River Valley, has been severed over the last week. We severed it by working with a diverse force, about six thousand men—about forty per cent non-Kurd, sixty per cent Kurd—working together to take the town of Shaddadi. We thought the operation would take about six weeks. It took about six days. Shaddadi was a stronghold of ISIL. When ISIL took Sinjar Mountain, in 2014, and captured thousands of Yazidis and Yazidi women, it brought them to Shaddadi to market them off. It was the heart of their perverse caliphate.

So, in Syria, they are increasingly under pressure. Syria is a different situation from Iraq, of course. In Iraq, we’re working with the government, with an army. In Syria, we’re not. So it’s much more complex, much more difficult. The overall territory that ISIL has lost in Syria is less than in Iraq, but the strategic nature of the territory is quite important. It’s the border with Turkey, and it’s cutting off these road connections between Syria and Iraq.

You have a time frame?

The over-all campaign to defeat ISIL globally—we’re talking a multi-year campaign. But I just don’t want to put a time frame on something as inherently uncertain as warfare.

Going After Their Financing

What is the state of ISIS’s finances? In December, an internal ISIS document leaked to the press claimed that it was forced to cut the salaries of its fighters by half. ISIS has many other sources of funding—from taxes, oil smuggling, extortion, and donations. What are its reserves today, and how have they been affected since the U.S. began striking ISIS oil tankers, in November?

We assessed that ISIL was taking in about a billion dollars a year: five hundred million dollars in oil and gas and five hundred million in other forms of revenue—taxes, extortion, antiquities, kidnapping. You have to go at it two ways. In the latter pot, you have to take away their territory. In the former pot, we have to determine how they are getting oil out of the ground, how they are moving it around, where it is going, and then how we can effectively target that. It took a great deal of very hard, very detailed intelligence work about how this is all working. It’s not as easy as, “Oh, let’s just go out and bomb the trucks.” That’s not going to be effective. We really wanted to rip out the spine of their ability to generate revenue.

The Abu Sayyaf raid [in Syria in May of 2015] was critical. We did a Special Forces operation to capture Abu Sayyaf, the No. 1 financier in ISIL, right outside Shaddadi. It ended up killing him and capturing his wife. We got more sensitive site exploitation—the S.S.E.—off of that raid than from any Special Forces raid in history. We learned an awful lot. We’ve already reduced their economic generation, oil and gas, by thirty per cent or so. This is not going to stop. We’re learning more and more every single day.

A good example, in Iraq, is Mosul. How are they paying their fighters? Where’s the money? They’re not going online and wiring money to their fighters. So let’s try to figure out where’s the cash. And we found the cash-storage sites. The President said the other day that their cash reserves are literally going up in smoke.

So these are ten warehouses holding cash?

Hundreds of millions of dollars. So their ability to pay their fighters is cut by half. Taking out their source generation, taking out their ability to store cash, to pay their fighters and terrorists and fund operations—it’s all part of a very complex but also very comprehensive campaign.

ISIS may have lost a lot of men in Iraq and Syria, but it has spawned affiliates faster and farther than Al Qaeda ever did. In two years, it has cultivated more than forty organizations, in dozens of countries on three continents, from West Africa to East Asia. By early 2016, it had formally embraced groups in eight countries, adding an estimated fifteen thousand additional fighters beyond those in Iraq and Syria. That gives it new reach and depth. There are enough men in Libya alone that the area around Sirte is considered ISIS’s first colony. What does that tell you about ISIS outside Iraq and Syria?

They are attracted to the notion of this historic caliphate. We’re focussed on the global networks, foreign fighters, financing, propaganda, and the affiliates.

But you also have to keep this in perspective. This is not al-Baghdadi sending paratroopers out to Nigeria to establish an ISIL caliphate. Nigeria had an existing terrorist problem, with Boko Haram, which is now flying the flag of ISIL. It’s similar in Afghanistan, Yemen. You have existing problems, terrorist problems, which would be there absent ISIL, and they fly the flag of ISIL. What we are most focussed on is when we see leadership transfers, man-power transfers, real connections between the ISIL core and an affiliate. That’s something, obviously, that we’re going to pay attention to—when that matures into actually controlling territory and planning for external operations. And Libya meets those tests. When we see a threat emerging, the President has not hesitated to order a strike.

ISIS has not launched a new offensive since May, 2015. Why?

Without discounting how difficult this road is from here, because I don’t want to leave any sense that we’ve turned a corner or anything like that, the organization in Iraq and Syria is significantly degraded from what it was a year ago. It used to be able to mass force and maneuver in very sophisticated military operations. We have not seen those in some time. It is still able to mount suicide attacks and do things in little localized areas. In most of ISIL’s propaganda, it’s this war of flags.

The Social-Media Battle

But ISIS is still active in cyberspace. Twitter announced last January that it had cut off a hundred and twenty-five thousand Twitter accounts related to ISIS, and yet they are still able to recruit. What is the United States doing about it?

Some things are hard to measure. Some things you have to sense. If you’re doing a media campaign for the Washington Redskins, and you’ve lost ten games in a row, you’re going to have a difficult media environment to tell a positive story in. If you’ve won ten games in a row, it’s going to be much easier. So was ISIL’s messaging campaign and messaging strategy really flying high when it looked like they were an unstoppable force? Yes. Is it different now? It’s totally different now. Their chief spokesman’s statements used to be about expanding the caliphate. Now he is trying to explain away their defeats, and saying they’re being tested because Allah is testing them. That’s a very different message. We’re also, in the realm of cyberspace, establishing 24/7 counter-messaging fusion centers, in the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia and elsewhere, because each part of the world has a different audience. They are combatting, every day, the various messages that ISIL is putting out.

The gore and the violence get most of the attention, but that’s actually, proportion-wise, one of the smallest segments of ISIL’s over-all messaging. The majority of their messages are sun-drenched scenes of children eating ice-cream cones and of families—this idealized, utopian vision, which is totally a lie. So we’re working with the private sector—with Twitter and Facebook and YouTube—and with our partners around the world, particularly on ISIL’s religious-based messaging, which we can’t counter effectively as Americans but many of our partners can. The main vulnerability in their messaging is that it is not an inherently victorious movement, because it’s quite the opposite.

In January, the Pentagon said that, so far, the total cost of the operation against ISIS, beginning in August, 2014, has been about $6.2 billion, an average of about $11.5 million a day. That seems like an open-ended financial commitment.

We’ve learned an awful lot of lessons over the last ten years. We’re trying not to repeat certain mistakes. Our presence in Iraq is small. It’s sustainable. It’s focussed on training and advising. It comes with the full consent of the Iraqi government. The budget submission that the Defense Department is putting in is about $7.5 billion dollars for 2017— about a fifty-per-cent increase. Given that we know more about this organization than we ever thought we would, given that we have begun to degrade it from the inside out, we have some real opportunities to accelerate the campaign, in Iraq and in Syria and globally, and we want to take advantage of those opportunities.

The Syria Problem

We have the fragile ceasefire in Syria. Is there a formula for Syria’s political future? Is there a quiet agreement, behind the scenes, about transition and how much Assad will be allowed to participate? Or are we really so raw that nobody has a single idea?

We do have, for the first time in five years, all the external parties at the table—including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and everybody—to focus on those questions, which ultimately have to be decided by the Syrians. But you have to have some consensus among all these external parties about the basic framework for how this is going to be resolved. You had that locked into a U.N. Security Council resolution at the end of last year, which talks about a six-month transition formula, followed by elections in about eighteen months. But the first step is to stop some of the bleeding. That is why Secretary Kerry has focussed so much energy and attention on a cessation of hostilities, to open up the space for humanitarian access. We’re four days into this, and it’s going to be extremely difficult, and it’s going to require all sides to live up to their commitments. And, through that, the external parties can help nurture a political discussion, which leads to a political transition, which can help end the civil war. Everybody has to do all they can to see it through.

What about Assad?

Looking at this in any way you want, there is no way conceivable that Assad’s writ will ever extend throughout the country again. It’s just not realistic after everything that’s happened. So we have to find the formula for that transition.

What lessons have you learned from Iraq, and from Afghanistan, that youre applying to make sure that were smarter or more effective than we were the last time?

We have to have real humility about our ability to affect the course of events. We have to have our eyes wide open about the unintended consequences of different courses of action. We have to recognize that these are such dynamic environments, with their own culture and history and traditions, that our ability to fully tap into them and understand everything that’s going on is not entirely realistic. We have to be really careful before we get overinvested. We have to define our interests very narrowly and focus very aggressively on achieving those interests. But we have no choice but to do all that we possibly can to defeat ISIL.

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/is-the-islamic-state-hurting-the-presidents-point-man-on-isis-speaks-out

Muslims: “Behave or Fuck Off”

Europeans Turn Against Muslims: “Behave or Fuck Off”

In Germany demand is skyrocketing for non-lethal self-defense weapons

They are no refugees, stupid, but islamofascism invaders!

Cui Xinyu/Xinhua/Corbis Egyptians attending a vigil at the Giza pyramids, near Cairo, for the victims of the recent attacks—claimed by ISIS—on Paris, Beirut, and the Russian passenger jet that exploded over the Sinai Peninsula, November 15, 2015

1.

Strategists will tell you that it is a mistake to fight the battle your enemies want you to fight. You should impose your strategy on them, not let them impose theirs on you. These lessons apply to the struggle with the leaders of ISIS. We have applied pressure upon them in Syria; they have replied with atrocious attacks in Ankara, Beirut, and now Paris. They are trying to provoke an apocalyptic confrontation with the Crusader infidels. We should deny them this opportunity.

ISIS wants to convince the world of the West’s indifference to the suffering of Muslims; so we should demonstrate the opposite. ISIS wants to drag Syria ever further into the inferno; so ending the Syrian war should become the first priority of the Obama administration’s final year in office. Already Secretary of State John Kerry has brought together the Russians, Iranians, and Saudis to develop the outlines of a transition in Syria. Sooner rather than later, no matter how difficult this may prove, the meetings in Vienna will have to include representatives of the Syrian regime and non-ISIS Syrian fighters. The goal would be to establish a ceasefire between the regime and its opponents, so that the fight against ISIS can be waged to a conclusion and displaced Syrians can return home. Destroying the ISIS project to establish a caliphate will not put an end to jihadi nihilism, but it will decisively erode ISIS’s ideological allure.

A successful campaign against nihilism will have to resist nihilism itself. If, as Gilles Kepel, a French specialist on Islam, has argued, ISIS is trying to provoke civil war in France, then the French state must not deploy tactics that will lose it the loyalty of its most vulnerable and susceptible citizens.1 Detention without trial, mass deportations, harsh physical interrogations, sealing borders, ending free circulation of people in Europe: all these tactics—proposed by the right-wing demagogue Marine Le Pen—will tempt French and other European authorities, but they are disastrous as a strategy. A successful campaign against Islamic extremism should deepen, not undermine, allegiance toward liberté, égalité, fraternité, especially among Muslim citizens.

ISIS strategy also seeks to make Europeans think of refugees as potential security threats rather than the victims that they are. It is of some importance that ISIS not succeed in its aim of spreading strategic disinformation. It has had some success. Before the Paris attacks, the Swedish government had begun to close its borders. After the attacks, the Polish government announced that it wouldn’t accept the nine thousand refugees the EU had allocated to Poland for resettlement. A Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the suicide bombers at the Stade de France, and this discovery pointed a finger of suspicion at other refugees. If ISIS planted the passport, it had reason to do so.2 It does not want Europe to give a home to anyone fleeing its caliphate.

So far, more than a few European leaders have seen through the ISIS campaign of strategic disinformation. The head of the European Commission and the speaker of the European Parliament have declared that Europe must not allow ISIS to dictate the terms of its refugee policy. American state governors and Republican candidates for president, on the other hand, have been calling for a ban on Syrian refugees in the US. This is fear masquerading as prudence. Canada, Australia, and Britain, countries that have been attacked by terrorists, have not backed away from their commitment to take Syrian refugees, and the US shouldn’t either. To bar refugees from US borders would allow the enemy to dictate the terms of the battle. The US has every reason—moral, humanitarian, and strategic—to refuse to give in to fear and to continue to provide refuge for those escaping barbarism.

2.

The Paris attacks make it easy to forget a scandalous fact: 3,329 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe so far this year. Still more are drowning every week. They are drowning in sight of the island of Lesbos in Greece or off the Italian island of Lampedusa. Others are dying trapped inside refrigerator trucks on the roadside in Austria; they are dying inside the Channel Tunnel, trying to reach Great Britain; as the winter darkens, some may die of exposure on the trek up through the Balkans. Later generations will ask how European leaders let this happen.

Hannah Arendt, exiled in 1933, stripped of her German citizenship in 1937, later taking flight from Vichy France and finally reaching New York in 1941, also wondered how Europe had betrayed the stateless in her own time. In 1948, in The Origins of Totalitarianism, she observed that it was citizenship that gives human beings the “right to have rights.” As for stateless persons, she concluded, they ought to have rights simply because they are human, but her own experience had taught her a different lesson:

If a human being loses his political status, he should, according to the implications of the inborn and inalienable rights of man, come under exactly the situation for which the declarations of such general rights provided. Actually the opposite is the case. It seems that a man who is nothing but a man has lost the very qualities which make it possible for other people to treat him as a fellow-man.3

The passage of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the Refugee Convention in 1951, and the European Convention on Human Rights in 1953 was supposed to give the stateless the right to have rights. States who signed these documents were not allowed to let stateless people drown in their waters and were not supposed to send them back home if they were likely to be tortured; they were entitled to a hearing to make their claim to stay. Anyone, in the words of the Refugee Convention, who fled a “well-founded fear of being persecuted” had a right to claim refuge in any country that ratified the convention. Thanks to the human rights revolution after 1945, Europe thought it had proven Arendt wrong. Now that we have seen a dead toddler face down, washed up on the gravel of a Turkish beach, Arendt may have been right after all.

The Refugee Convention of 1951 has been overwhelmed by the reality of 2015. The 11 million people who have fled Syria are not, for the most part, fleeing literally from the Refugee Convention’s “well-founded fear of being persecuted.” They are fleeing violent death: from Assad’s barrel bombs, Russian and American air strikes, ISIS beheadings, militia murders and persecution. The UN authorized a new doctrine in 2005—the responsibility to protect (R2P)—that mandates state intervention when a tyrant like Assad makes war on his own citizens, but R2P is a dead letter in Syria.

A safe zone on the Turkish border, protected by air cover and ground troops, could have sheltered displaced populations, but nobody except the Kurds provided the necessary troops for doing this; so protecting the displaced inside Syria has ceased to be a workable option. As for a cease-fire that would allow civilian populations to return to government-held and rebel-held territory, this remains a cruel mirage. Resettlement elsewhere is the only practical policy for the foreseeable future.

When the drowned child on the Turkish beach appeared on American television screens in September, seventy-two House Democrats, fourteen Democratic senators, and a few Republicans aligned with the USA Refugee Council and other American resettlement agencies to urge the president to take in Syrian refugees. His response—raising the Syrian refugee quota to 10,000, then 15,000—satisfied no one. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has identified 130,000 Syrian refugees in camps in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan who need permanent refuge in other countries because they are uniquely vulnerable—orphans, for example, or badly injured victims of torture or recent attack—and the UNHCR has asked the US to take half of them, in other words, 65,000 people. The administration replies that it will take eighteen to twenty-four months to process anyone; everyone must be vetted at least twice so no terrorist sleeper cells slip through; and besides, America has already done enough: it contributes the lion’s share—$450 million—to the UNHCR’s funding needs in Syria.

Before the Paris attacks, polls said Americans were in favor of helping refugees. In the wake of the attacks, it is safe to assume that this is no longer the case. Taking its cue from the public, the Obama administration is likely to keep on treating Europe’s refugee crisis as if it were chiefly Angela Merkel’s responsibility.

This is a political error as well as a moral mistake. If it fails to offer Chancellor Merkel tangible support by taking in refugees itself, the United States weakens Merkel domestically and hastens her downfall. By taking so few Syrian refugees—the US has admitted only 1,854 since 2012—while its European allies flounder in the face of the flood of humanity, the US is strengthening the anti-American, antiimmigration populist right wing across the Continent. If US inaction hastens the arrival to power in France of reactionary anti-American demagogues like Marine Le Pen, the Obama administration will share some of the blame. US solidarity with Europe always matters but it matters especially now that Russia is challenging Europe’s eastern borders. By failing to assist Europe, the president allows Eastern European leaders like Hungary’s Viktor Orbán to drift ever closer to the Russian orbit and to disseminate Vladimir Putin’s repulsive fiction of a Christian Europe beset by Muslim hordes.

Americans may still feel the refugee crisis is none of their business, but Europeans increasingly feel otherwise—and so do the refugees. The human flight from Syria is a mass plebiscite on the failure of US and Western policy in the Levant. Syrians have reached the conclusion that the US–Saudi– Gulf State proxy war to upend Assad has failed; that their country will burn down to the waterline before Assad ever leaves; that peace will not return before their children are grown up; and that even if peace does come there will be nothing to return to in Homs, Kobanî, or Aleppo.

ignatieff_2-121715
Mashid Mohadjerin/Redux Refugees and migrants waiting to cross the border from Greece to Macedonia, October 2015

Syrians are now leaving refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon where the World Food Program e-card ration is down to 50 cents a day, and where the UNHCR Syria appeal is 50 percent underfunded; their cell phones told them instantly in late August that Germany was waiving visa requirements and so they are heading for the north. It is not madness but political despair that leads mothers and fathers to risk the drowning of their children in a bid for safety and a new life.

They are flooding into a Germany torn between wanting to demonstrate, in the warmth of its welcome, that it has overcome its tormented past, and wondering how to cope with the unstoppable flow. The US cannot afford to let the gap with Germany widen still further. Germans have good reason to believe that while they are bearing the consequences of the collapse of Syria, it is America that bears responsibility for its causes. Even former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has admitted that the rise of ISIS and the disintegration of Syria figure among the catastrophic consequences of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.4

Chancellor Merkel cannot have anticipated what she brought upon herself by opening Germany’s borders, and she must have been astonished by the speed with which hope travels along the migration path by cell phone. When a Time magazine photographer asked refugees to show him their most precious possession, many showed him their cell phone. Now that migrant and refugee chains are technologically empowered, the flood, often guided by professional smugglers, will find a way around every new barrier put in its path.

In the processing centers the Germans have set up in disused army barracks (I visited one north of Munich in late October) exhausted public employees and volunteers are trying to separate out bona fide refugees—most of the Syrians by and large—from migrants from less tormented places. Kosovars, Albanians, Serbs, Macedonians, and Montenegrins will be sent back, but so also will Pakistanis, Afghans, Somalis, Eritreans, even Libyans.

Merkel risks losing power if she cannot show that she has her borders under control. She has refused, thus far, to seal her frontiers with razor wire, and she has refused, crucially, to put an upper ceiling on the number of refugee claims that Germany will process. Both decisions are admirable, but her political survival depends on swift but lawful repatriation to safe third countries of those who fail to qualify. In other countries too, the political legitimacy of refugee resettlement depends on adjudicated repatriation of economic migrants. Yet case-by-case decisions about who is a migrant and who is a refugee are bound to be arbitrary. Afghans, Libyans, and Somalis will also claim they are fleeing violent death and it may prove impossible to send them back.

The Refugee Convention regime of 1951 is no longer adequate, since, as has been said, most refugees are not fleeing a well-founded fear of being persecuted, as the convention calls it, but a well-founded fear of violent death in states torn apart by civil war or terrorized by tyrants. The world badly needs a new migratory regime—based around an internationally authorized biometric ID card, with a date of permitted entry and a mandatory exit—that legalizes migratory flows from south to north, so that southern countries benefit from the remittances sent home and northern ones benefit from the labor and ingenuity their aging populations need.

The flood of peoples—the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates there are 60 million displaced in the world, up from 40 million in 2000—lays bare a new reality. In the cold war order of tyranny, closed borders and limited communications combined to keep victims of human rights abuse locked up in the same country with their oppressors. Now, in the age of open borders and free exit, people are flowing out, and with them, the saving distance that kept zones of danger apart from zones of safety has collapsed. Nations in the north that fail to invest in the stability of their neighbors in the south can expect to see the people of the south—and terrorists too—on their doorsteps.

The Europeans have just announced additional billions of aid to African states to strengthen their border controls, improve their human rights, and fortify their institutions. Development assistance now has a powerful new motive: migration control. This motive ought to be shaping US policy in the migration-sending countries near its borders: Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. So far the US has done little to address the causes—state failure, gang violence, and a stratospheric murder rate—that produce the ongoing surge of child migrants from these countries.

Instead of stabilizing failing societies before desperate refugees start arriving, the US reaction has been to make it harder for refugees to get in. The US accepts large numbers of immigrants as permanent residents (about a million a year) while throttling back the number of refugees. The admissions of refugees plummeted after September 11 and are only now recovering to about 70,000 annually. After the Paris attacks, security concerns may result in cutting back US refugee admissions still further, even when the facts suggest that the security concerns are manageable. According to the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, since September 11 the US has taken in 784,000 refugees and of these only three have been arrested subsequently on terrorismrelated charges.5

Fear makes for bad strategy. A better policy starts by remembering a better America. In January 1957, none other than Elvis Presley sang a gospel tune called “There Will Be Peace in the Valley” on The Ed Sullivan Show to encourage Americans to welcome and donate to Hungarian refugees. After the 1975 collapse of South Vietnam, President Ford ordered an interagency task force to resettle 130,000 Vietnamese refugees; and later Jimmy Carter found room in America for Vietnamese boat people. In 1999, in a single month, the US processed four thousand Kosovar refugees through Fort Dix, New Jersey.

These examples show what can be done if the president authorizes rapid refugee clearance in US military installations, and if the US were to process and repatriate refugees directly from the frontline states of Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. As Gerald Knaus of the European Stability Initiative has been urging since September, direct processing in the camps themselves will cut down on deaths by drowning in the Mediterranean. If Europe and the United States show them a safe way out, refugees won’t take their chances by paying smugglers using rubber dinghies.6

The Obama administration should say yes to the UNHCR appeal to settle 65,000 refugees on an expedited basis. Refugee agencies across the United States—as well as religious communities from all faiths—have said they will take the lead in resettlement and integration. If the Liberal government in Canada can take in 25,000 refugees directly from Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, and process their security clearance at Canadian army bases, the US can do the same with 65,000.

Taking 65,000 people will only relieve a small portion of a refugee flow of 4.1 million, but it is an essential political gesture designed to encourage other allies—Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina—and other immigrant countries to do their part. The strategic goal is to relieve the pressure on the three frontline states. Refugee resettlement by the US also acknowledges a fact that the refugees themselves are trying to tell us: even if peace eventually comes to their tormented country, there will be no life for all of them back home.

Once the US stops behaving like a bemused bystander, watching a neighbor trying to put out a fire, it can then put pressure on allies and adversaries to make up the shortfall in funding for refugee programs run by the UNHCR and the World Food Program. One of the drivers of the exodus this summer was a sudden reduction in refugee food aid caused by shortfalls in funding. Even now these agencies remain short of what they need to provide shelter and food to the people flooding out of Syria.

Now that ISIS has brought down a Russian aircraft over Sinai and bombed civilians in Paris, Beirut, and Ankara, the US needs to use its refugee policy to help stabilize its allies in the region. The presumption that it can sit out the refugee crisis makes a hugely unwise bet on the stability of Jordan, where refugees amount to 25 percent of the total population; and Lebanon, where largely Sunni refugees, who have hardly any camps, are already destabilizing the agonizingly fragile multiconfessional order; and Turkey, where the burdens of coping with nearly two million refugees are driving the increasingly authoritarian Erdo an regime into the arms of Vladimir Putin.

It’s time for the US to call the bluff of China and Russia, its fellow members of the Security Council, and remind them that if they want to be taken seriously as global leaders, they should pay their dues. The Chinese have done little or nothing for refugee relief in the Middle East, and the Russians are energetically creating more refugees with their bombing campaign while contributing a paltry $300,000 to the UNHCR Syria appeal. As for the Saudis, the richest state in the region, they have contributed less than $3 million.

A US strategy should start from the understanding that the refugees present a national security challenge as much as a humanitarian crisis and that helping Europe deal with them is critical to the battle against jihadi nihilism. If Europe closes its borders, if the frontline states can no longer cope, the US and the West will face millions of stateless people who will never forget that they were denied the right to have rights. In a battle against extremism, giving hope to desperate people is not charity: it is simple prudence. These national interests demand that a ceasefire in Syria become as important for the administration as the Iran deal.

There is no higher priority for the last year of Obama’s presidency. Taking in 65,000 refugees supports the most generous of the Europeans—Germany and Sweden—and helps them shame the worst. Giving assistance to the frontline states—Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey—with their refugee burden helps to preserve what stability remains in the region and rebuts the presumption that the US has abandoned them. In a war against jihadi nihilism, in a world of collapsing states and civil war, a refugee policy that refuses to capitulate to fear belongs at the center of any American and European strategy.

November 18, 2015

1 Gilles Kepel, “L’État islamique cherche à déclencher une guerre civile,” Le Monde, November 14, 2015. 

2 Patrick Kingsley, “Why Syrian Refugee Passport Found at Paris Attack Scene Must Be Treated with Caution,” The Guardian, November 15, 2015. 

3 Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (Harcourt, 1968), p. 300. 

4 Jethro Mullen, “Tony Blair Says He’s Sorry for Iraq War ‘Mistakes,’ But Not for Ousting Saddam,” CNN.com, October 26, 2015. 

5 Kathleen Newland, “The US Record Shows Refugees Are Not a Threat,” Migration Policy Institute, October 2015. 

6 “Why People Don’t Need to Drown in the Aegean—ESI Policy Proposal Summary,” European Security Initiative, September 17, 2015. 

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