Five of the wealthiest Muslim countries have taken no Syrian refugees in at all, arguing that doing so would open them up to the risk of terrorism. Although the oil rich countries have handed over aid money, Britain has donated more than Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar combined.
Between 10 and 12 million Syrians have been displaced by the bloody civil war raging in their country. Most still remain within Syria’s borders, but around four million have fled over the borders into neighbouring countries, mostly Turkey Jordan and Lebanon, and beyond.
Lebanon, which has 1.1 million Syrian refugees, shut her borders to the Syrians in June of last year. Jordan, host to another 630,000, followed suit in August last year, preventing more Syrians from abandoning their country.
Think about this also: If the “moderates” and The Christians are the ones fleeing, who’s left?
Is that the plan??
By early August 2015, European states had received nearly 350,000 asylum applications from Syrians, nearly a third of whom applied to Germany for asylum. Another 65,000 have applied Sweden and 50,000 in Serbia. Hungary and Austria have received close to 19,000 applications each although that figure is likely to rise, while the UK is processing 7,030 applications, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Yet amidst cries for Europe to do more, it has transpired that of the five wealthiest countries on the Arabian Peninsula, that is, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, not one has taken in a single refugee from Syria. Instead, they have argued that accepting large numbers of Syrians is a threat to their safety, as terrorists could be hiding within an influx of people. Sherif Elsayid-Ali, Amnesty International’s Head of Refugee and Migrants’ Rights, has slammed their inaction as “shameful”.
He said: “The records of Gulf countries is absolutely appalling, in terms of actually showing compassion and sharing the responsibility of this crisis… It is a disgrace.” None of the Gulf States signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, which legally defines a refugee as “A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality”. However, they have taken refugees in the past.
Twenty-five years ago, hundreds of thousands of Kuwaitis fleeing Saddam Hussein’s invasion were given refuge. According to Arabian expert Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi: “in Abu Dhabi, the government rented out entire apartment blocks and gave them to families for free.”
Instead the countries, all of which are within the Top 50 list of wealthiest nations by GDP, have opted to donate aid to those affected by the crisis. According to the Daily Mail, the UAE has funded a refugee camp in Jordan giving shelter to tens of thousands of Syrians, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar have donated funds, food, shelter and clothing to Syrians in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
Total donations from the Gulf States are believe to total £589 million, less than a quarter of America’s £2.8 billion, and a fraction of the £65 billion they spent on defence in 2012 alone. The UK has handed over £920 million so far, but the Prime Minister yesterday pledged to increase that figure to £1 billion. He also promised to take in thousands more refugees.
Al-Qassemi has argued in the that the standing that the Muslim countries now have in the world confer on them a moral obligation to step in. “The Gulf States have emerged as the nerve centres of Arab diplomacy, culture, media production, commerce and tourism, amassing an unprecedented degree of soft power unrivalled in the region and beyond,” he said.
They also form “the most influential bloc within the 70-year-old Arab League.”
“But with great power comes great responsibility. The Gulf must realise that now is the time to change their policy regarding accepting refugees from the Syria crisis. It is the moral, ethical and responsible step to take.” (Breitbart)
Or not. 🙂
On Thursday, despite veto threats from the Obama White House, the House passed the American Security Against Foreign Enemies (SAFE) Act with an overwhelming bipartisan majority. How overwhelming? It was veto-proof, with 47 Democrats joining Republicans to increase the screening and approval process of Syrian refugees entering the country. Over 2,000 have been admitted so far.
So, what’s so horrific about the SAFE Act (via GovTrack.us):
H.R. 4038 [SAFE ACT] would expand the screening process for those refugees attempting to enter the United States by requiring the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to conduct its own background checks in addition to the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS). Any refugee would be prohibited from entry until the FBI certifies that they pose no security threat. Refugees would only be admitted with the unanimous agreement of the FBI, DHS, and Director of National Intelligence.
If you couldn’t find anything controversial about this, you’re normal. And many Democrats viewed this as a reasonable piece of legislation. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough met with House Democrats before the vote, where their presentation on why they shouldn’t support the SAFE Act was pilloried as “too complicated,” or inarticulate at best.
One Democrat, who wished to remain anonymous, went into a caucus briefing opposed to the bill, but left supporting it–adding that the White House “royally f**ked” up their whole strategy in fighting this bill (via Huffington Post):
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has already promised this bill will die in the upper chamber, but that doesn’t mean this issue is going away. Congress needs to pass another spending bill by December 11 to keep the government running. We could be seeing another act of Shutdown Theater, but this time there are no adversaries (via Vox):
Even if Senate Democrats hold the line against a veto override, that won’t permanently solve the problem. It’s looking extremely likely that congressional Republicans will demand changes to Syrian refugee policy as a condition for keeping the government open past December 11. And unlike past shutdown threats, this is one congressional Democrats might actually go along with.For congressional Republicans, this bill is a brilliant strategic move. It’s anodyne enough that it’s attracted broad support from congressional Democrats as well as Republicans. And it’s forced the Obama administration — which has never had good relationships with Democrats on Capitol Hill — to fight an uphill battle.
As reported before numerous times, the FBI has admitted that there is no way they can screen every Syrian refugee. This isn’t an issue to be taken lightly; we should have a serious debate about how to screen these refugees and prevent those who wish to execute a terrorist attack on American soil from entering. Rep. Israel is right regarding the political fallout from this issue. Now is not the time for Democrats to look weak on national security issues, since they’ve been a little light in this area since 1972. The American people are against Obama’s refugee policy, barely 30 percent support it.
The president has mocked Republicans for their position on this crisis that is embraced by voters, along with a substantial amount of members from his own party. Either the president thinks he’s right and we’re all wrong, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility due to his arrogance, or he just doesn’t care. He’s a lame duck. He is, as Allahpundit prolifically says often, a “semi-retired president.”
Then again, we’ll see how this goes. For now, Reid seems confident that there are enough Senate Democrats to prevent cloture. But if Speaker Ryan decides to tie the December 11 spending bill to refugee funding, which he said is on the table, it should be interesting to see how long Reid’s stranglehold grip on his caucus lasts, especially when these issues played a role in defeating Democrats in some of the 2014 races–namely Sen. Kay Hagan in North Carolina. It has the potential of making Virginia more of a battleground state, given that Arlington County has signaled they’re willing to open the floodgates.
We shouldn’t be shocked if this “I don’t care, I do what I want” attitude persists on this issue within the Obama administration, who didn’t really mind that Democrats were being utterly decimated at the state level since 2009. As for Reid, well, he’s on his way out as well, so his “bull in a china closet” antics are expected as well. Moreover, is there any other attitude to be taken when you do royally mess up on an issue like this?
Just wait for the reaction of this bill ever reaches the president’s desk for his signature.
The Agenda is The Agenda.
The Narrative is The Narrative.