Personal View – Part 1:
Why are main stream news outlets not talking about how we’ve ended up in this mass refugee / migrant issue?
Have they all just decided to leave their country for no apparent reason and ‘appeared’ en mass in Europe? Who are the migrants & refugees?
As stated by the BBC and other main stream news outlets, the majority are Syrian, Libyan, Iraqi, Afghan and Eritrean.
This comes as no surprise as many are war refugees from Syria and Iraq but lets not forget there has been an ongoing war in Afghanistan that we have been directly involved in. We also led the way with the French (the US playing a lesser role) in Libya to help over throw Muammar Gaddafi.
Economic migrants from other country’s are also joining the crowd in the hope of finding a better life than that found in their own Country like Eritrea for instance. As this develops I am sure more and more economic migrants will join the mass crowds in a bid to get into Europe while it struggles to cope with what is happening.
Regarding Syria I think it was wrong to automatically begin backing the protesters who said that they wanted democracy. This is not because wanting democracy would be a bad thing, the same was said in Iraq, Egypt and Libya but were both usurped by fundamentalists capitalising on the vacuum and consequent mayhem created.
Caught up in the Arab Spring, our naive and short-sighted automatic policy of backing protesters (in an ideological bid to spread democracy) got the better of us. Incidentally I don’t believe the protests have ever been proven to represent the majority of the country’s population and it’s will. Assad did crack down quickly and violently on the uprising without doubt, but this had to be challenged by the world politically.
Possibly seeking common ground with Russia and even Iran if they would play ball to push Assad into elections monitored by an independent international body. Yes this would be massively difficult, but there may well have been a Syria still today with most of its citizens living there.
This could also have been backed with severe sanctions and threats of no fly zones if things didn’t improve quickly. But there was never a chance given which is the real point, instead we had already decided with no chance of negotiation. It would be OK and sort itself out once the dictator or leader at the time was ousted….like Egypt or Libya?
Russia offered possible negotiations on President Assad stepping aside in a transitional framework back in 2012 but this was ignored.
We helped ferment violence by backing the rebels, which in turn allowed Arab states with their own interest to capitalise on the situation by funneling arms, ammunition and money to differing rebel groups. We were also involved in the supply of military equipment and covert training in Qatar & Jordan.
These trained individuals and weapons have made their way to fundamentalist groups as allegiances have switched (many times). As the situation has worsened, fundamentalist groups have strengthened in numbers, arms and funding with some groups spawning other groups. IS themselves were formed originally in Iraq during the US occupation under the name of The Islamic State of Iraq led by Abu Musab-al-Zarqawi.
When Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi eventually took ISI over and expanded into Syria thanks to the situation there (see above), it then changed its name to The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Once firm roots took hold in Syria, keeping territory gained and establishing a capital (Raqqa), the Caliphate was broadcast to the world and ISIL changed its name to the Islamic State we see today.
One US policy made during the Iraq occupation that really helped IS to become a formidable fighting group was the complete purge of the military. All were made redundant, from top to bottom. Some of these top level commanders joined IS in a bid to take revenge on the US, thus providing IS with professional military personnel schooled in military tactics.
These military tactics have helped IS expand in blitzkrieg like fashion across Iraq and Syria.
Now after four and a half years of war the Country is ruined with hoards of fundamentalist militants fighting the government and each other.
UPDATE: Part 2: