ORIENTAL REVIEW publishes exclusive English translation of the interview given by Andrew Korybko to the Iranian FARS News agency on the origins of Syrian war, refugee crisis in the EU and the US interest in making radicals infiltrate Europe.
What are the reasons for such humanitarian crisis in ME countries including Syria/ Libya? Who / what countries / what reasons or policies are behind reasons for such crisis?
The triggers for this crisis can be clearly traced to the “Arab Spring” theater-wide Color Revolutions and the US’ Wars on Libya and Syria (one overt, the other covert). These offensives have also seen the participation of the UK, France, Turkey, and the Gulf Monarchies, and there are a couple motivations behind why they wanted to initiate their regime change operations.
The US, for its part, envisioned seeing a transnational Muslim Brotherhood elite come to power from Algeria to Syria, functioning as a sort of Arab version of the Cold War international communist party. By this it’s meant that the group would have secret cells all over the region, be dedicated to gaining power, and be financed by a substantial international patron (the US, Qatar, and Turkey in this case) that would use it as a proxy controlling force.
As regards the Gulf Monarchies (including Qatar), they wanted to get rid of President Assad and the Friendship Pipeline he agreed to with Iran and Iraq in order to sell their own gas directly to the EU, while Turkey was expressing its new aggressive ideology of Neo-Ottomanism. France and the UK, for their part, simply wanted to reassert their former colonial spheres of influence. The overall lesson that can be learned is that attempts by external powers to militantly tinker with the inner workings of sovereign states will inevitably lead to a humanitarian disaster, even in places where it was initially least expected (the refugee blowback in Europe, for example).
What are the main reasons that make people off Syria or any other war torn country which suffer the disastrous life to take the risk to Europe?
People leave their country when their homes are being destroyed and they don’t feel safe anymore, but it certainly helps if there is an anchor community and/or family member(s) abroad that can help assist with their lodging when they do eventually flee. However, it must be stressed that the vast majority of Syrian refugees are internal ones, meaning that they left one part of their country for another region but haven’t gone abroad. This is very important because it shows the patriotism of most of the Syrian population, which still want to live in their homeland despite the obvious danger to their lives. For example, Latakia has absorbed many internal refugees, and it’s done a pretty good job at making sure that they live in dignity and with self-respect.
As for why the millions of others have left, it’s hard to generalize, but part of the reason is the material attractiveness abroad (such as the dream of earning Euros), which in some way, is being used to lure Syrians out of their state in order to demographically weaken it. The advance construction of refugee facilities in Turkey prior to the War on Syria is a case in point, and according to Ghassan and Intibah Kadi writing for The Saker, Ankara has finally decided to allow the refugees to leave the encampments that they were forcibly detained in, thus manufacturing the latest migrant wave for reasons that have yet to be fully explained. Perhaps, as they suggest, it’s to increase Turkey’s leverage vis-à-vis the EU when it comes to ascension talks, but whatever it is, it’s clear that the refugees are being politicized, and in some cases, weaponized. Let’s also not forget that these individuals have to pay tremendous amounts of money to human smugglers in order to sail to Greece, so the assumption that they’re the most desperate of the desperate simply isn’t true for the most part. And, considering that they were stuck in Turkey’s ‘refugee camps’ for the past couple of years, it’s questionable how they received the money, or, one is tempted to think, could they have brought so much money with them four and a half years ago that they still had some left for when the time to leave finally arrived?
It’s also curious that many of these individuals are of moderately young age and are well-fit, meaning that, as the Kadis also wrote, they could be defending their homeland had they not fled. Many of those that left were anti-government individuals in the first place, so that may have played a role in why they made their decision to go abroad, perhaps right before the Syrian Arab Army regained control of their neighborhood out of fear that they could get in trouble for their terrorist sympathies. It could also explain where they received the money to make their overseas journey, since it’s common knowledge that anti-Syrian terrorists are active in these Turkish-based camps. Responding to a question I had in an interview with Macedonian journalist Slobodan Tomic last month, I also observed how odd it was that many of the refugees are men entering Europe without their families, thereby postulating that some of them could obviously have nefarious intentions. That isn’t to say that most of them have these thoughts or are guilty of any wrong, but that it shouldn’t be blindly discounted by general humanitarian rhetoric and good intentions on behalf of the recipient states.
What covert policies has the EU taken that lead to the recent prohibition of accepting refugees? Is the EU now united to accept refuges?
I don’t think the EU is united at all, let alone in accepting refugees. Hungary, for example, is building a border wall on the Serbian border to stop them from entering its territory, while Austria and Germany have the opposite approach and are actively welcoming refugees into their countries. The issue is very divisive no matter which country is being talked about, since you have the various governments’ guilt for creating the crisis, yet you have the innocent citizenry inside the EU states that of course have their own legitimate concerns about this. It’s really hard to rectify these differences, hence why the topic is generating such an uproar and internal political division. People don’t want to see strangers suffering in the streets, but at the same time, they’re hesitant about allowing culturally dissimilar individuals into their communities. There’s no panacea for this problem, and no matter how it’s approached, it’s bound to upset many people who think it’s not going far enough (either in accepting or rejecting the refugees).
In a true sense, it’s turned into a Catch-22 for the EU, one which only plays favorably to the US, which is of course interested in ginning up as much internal division as possible for its political ends. This allows it to retain a close degree of control over EU elites like Merkel, whose power is dependent on the ‘democratic’ whims of an easily manipulated majority. With all that is known about the NSA, it’s quite conceivable to infer that the information gleaned from millions of EU citizens has been fed into the mouth of Big Data programs, from which megatrend analyses are spewed out for the US’ political benefit. The main advantage here is that the US understands the political undercurrents of the EU masses more than their respective national governments do, which is a strategic vulnerability that has been, is, and will be exploited into the foreseeable future. Its relevance to the refugee crisis is that it gives the US the upper hand in steering ‘people’s movements’ for or against this politically mobilizing topic, all with the end intent of exerting pressure on uncompliant national elites by scaring them with the illusive specter of Color Revolution destabilization (similar in general form, but with lesser intensity and no such regime change ends).
Should the political measures follow humanity or mere national interests?
In order to address this question, one needs to look at the two identities that the EU has – that of a supranational political organization and as a social/humanitarian project. It’s undoubtedly a complex combination of the two, but the importance lies in which of them is predominant at the moment. If the EU identifies itself more as a supranational political organization, then it and its members will let their national interests dictate their response to the refugee crisis; likewise, if it sees itself more as a social/humanitarian project, then it’ll follow the liberal logic of allowing each and every refugee to come into the bloc or their country. Another issue is that there is no consensus within the EU itself over which of the two identities is most en vogue, hence why national interests are obviously guiding Hungary’s border fence-building decision, whereas liberalism (including the economic kind) is behind Austria and Germany’s decision to welcomingly invite refugees into their countries (which also satisfies an eventual cheap labor demand amidst their rapidly greying populations, it must be noted).
How do you think can EU help refugees?
It’s really hard to say, since the refugees have been transformed by the US into a political hot potato, one which has the potential to be strategically and demographically weaponized for use against the EU’s interests. If they would have just remained a humanitarian concern, perhaps it would be easier to propose measures that the EU could theoretically take, such as allowing some of them to enter into the country and eventually be assimilated. Ever since Turkey ‘opened up the floodgates’, so to speak, and allowed many of the Syrian refugees in its country to leave for Europe, one must keep in mind how much this has overwhelmed the host authorities, and how it obviously has certain consequences on their ability to properly process the incoming masses. Not only that, but such an unprecedented influx of individuals into some of the smaller European transit states such as Macedonia and Serbia has the potential to stir domestic unrest, and this is also not without concern in the destination states as well, as has been seen by protests in Germany, for example. Under such conditions, it’s not realistic to propose a “come one, come all” type of approach, no matter how morally right that might sound at the moment. If some of the EU members want to take in a certain number of refugees, so be it, that’s their sovereign choice, but given the numbers that are flowing in, it’s impossible to accommodate all of them adequately, but it’s just as equally impossible to send them back to Turkey or Syria. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a real Catch-22 dilemma for the EU.
Will such entering of masses to Europe rise the risk to security levels by fear of entering extremists who covertly blend with the innocent refugees?
Absolutely, there’s not a single doubt about it. As I mentioned in a late-July interview with Marija Kotovska, a Macedonian journalist based in Athens:
“Hungary stated that at least 90,000 people have illegally entered the country so far this year, and that they expect a total of 300,000 by year’s end. Most of them likely came from the southern route, meaning that they passed through Macedonia at some time or another. Taking into account an extremely conservative estimate that 1% of them could be terrorists, then that calculates to nearly 1,000 terrorists so far (and up to 3,000 by the end of the year) coming into Macedonia for an unspecified amount of time.”
This calculation holds true for any country that the refugees enter into, since even if 1% of them are terrorists like I very conservatively estimated, then the continent is in for a major destabilization in the coming future.
Furthermore, there’s a reverse dynamic that could be taken into play by some of the more NATO-active states such as France. It’s no secret that they and the US want to train as many Syrians as possible for regime change redeployment back into the country, and hundreds of thousands of young, anti-government Syrians marching into Europe makes for an excellent recruiting market from their perspective. Some of these ‘recruits’ might even be promised a future life in Europe (with social benefits included) if they agree to be trained and return back to fight for a certain amount of time. What this in effect does is transform the refugee crisis into a circular problem, whereas it perpetuates the flow of people outside of the state (thereby depriving Syria of much-needed manpower in fighting its anti-terrorist war) and simultaneously gives the West more recruits to indefinitely prolong the crisis and provoke a greater exodus.
Terrorism begets more terrorism, but it’s just that for the West, these are ‘good terrorists’ until the moment they begin operating in Europe, North America, the Arabian Peninsula, or Turkey. At that point, they’re ‘bad terrorists’ and the blame is manipulatively and falsely shifted to President Assad, who these actors ridiculously claim is behind the rise of terrorism in the country. There couldn’t be a more false statement made about Syria than that, since President Assad is the vanguard leader of the world’s anti-terrorist struggle, but nonetheless, it just goes to show how politicized the refugee and terrorist issues have become that the US and its allies are exploiting them for self-interested and geopolitical gains. When one plays with terrorists, they’re bound to get hurt sooner or later, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen with ISIL, the Fake Syrian Army (FSA), and others using the refugee crisis as a plausible cover to infiltrate into the heart of Europe. As is always the case, any forthcoming explosion of terrorism would only be in the US’ interests as it seeks to divide Europe and concurrently justify its military occupation of the continent.