Europe's New Migration Era - Eyal Zisser
The Europeans apparently don't quite understand the world they are living in. The tens of thousands of migrants banging on their door are merely the tip of the iceberg, which will fully emerge the moment millions of people in the Middle East realize that Europe is giving up and opening its gates.
The real problem is rooted in the uninhibited natural growth that has occurred in the Middle East, which has not coincided with sufficient economic growth to balance it.
While Europe's population over the past 50 years has grown by about a quarter, from 400 million people in 1960 to around 500 million at the start of this decade, the Middle East's population has grown fourfold - from 100 million in 1960 to 400 million in 2010.
The problem at Europe's doorstep, therefore, is not a few million Syrians seeking refuge from war. It is the tens of millions who want to leave the Arab world - a world that offers no hope and no future - and move to Europe.
Prof. Eyal Zisser is former director of the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University.
A Prayer - Caroline Glick
Westerners are increasingly at a loss in the face of the break-up of societies throughout the Arab world. Consider for instance Europe’s disoriented, confused response to the massive wave of refugees from Syria now washing onto its shores. Perhaps the most notable aspect of the unfolding drama is that it appears the Europeans only just realized that Syria has fallen apart.
The war in Syria broke out nearly five years ago. Hundreds of thousands have already been killed in the conflict. Ten million people – nearly half of Syria’s pre-war population – have been displaced. For the past four years, millions of Syrians have been living in refugee camps in neighboring states – first and foremost in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.
Most of the refugees now arriving in Europe are coming from these camps, rather than directly from Syria. Rather than help them either resettle in the lands to which they fled, or take action on the ground in Syria to enable them to return to their homes, the Europeans largely ignored them.
Israel’s greatest strategic asset is our willingness to see things for what they are. It is my prayer for the coming year that our vision becomes ever sharper and that through our moral and strategic clarity we rally the Americans and other like-minded nations to our side in our fight for ourselves and for the noblest attributes of humanity.
Time to Open Our Eyes to the Arab Disaster - Ari Shavit
The Arab humanitarian disaster is now migrating from the Middle East to central Europe. Millions are voting with their feet against the failure of the national Arab project to produce a single state combining prosperity and freedom.
One reason for the Arab humanitarian disaster is political correctness. Professor Edward Said and his students caused indescribable damage to the ability to think or speak the truth when it comes to the Arab world. Their wacky intellectual legacy did not permit talking about the region's residents as anything but victims. The grand Arab nation was treated like a juvenile who isn't responsible for his actions. So all the ills of Arab politics were attributed to others - imperialists, colonialists, Zionists. No real criticism of the Arab world was permitted and no one demanded it mend itself.
"2 in 100" Syrian Refugees May Be IS Members - John Stevens
Two in every 100 Syrian migrants smuggled into Europe are Islamic State-trained fanatics, David Cameron was warned by Lebanese education minister Elias Bousaab, who met the prime minister during his lightning visit to the region. He said the extremist group is sending trained jihadists "under cover" to attack targets in the West.
Bousaab said, "It's a very dangerous situation and the world should wake up and do something about that. ISIS will not stop at the border with Lebanon. Before you know it, ISIS will be in Europe."
Migrants Pose as Syrians to Open Doors in Europe
- Manuela Mesco, Matt Bradley and Giovanni Legorano
As Europe moves to take in large numbers of refugees, particularly from Syria, some other migrants - often Iraqis, Libyans, Palestinians and Egyptians - are passing themselves off as Syrian, said aid workers, government officials and fellow migrants.
At Budapest's Keleti Train Station last week, Mahmoud, a Syrian from Aleppo, looked around at the new arrivals. Judging from their accents and dialects, he reckoned that little more than 10% were Syrian. But he saw many more passing themselves off as Syrians. The masquerade risks undermining political support for the EU's open-door policy.
(Wall Street Journal)
Germany Arrests ISIS Recruiter Posing as Asylum Seeker
- Elliot Friedland
A 21-year old from Morocco has been arrested by German authorities at a refugee center near Stuttgart on suspicion of being an Islamic State recruiter. The man was sought under a European arrest warrant issued by Spanish authorities. He used a false identity to pose as an asylum seeker.
At the same time it was reported the German government seized 10,000 fake Syrian passports, which are being sold to those seeking to gain entry to the EU for around $1,500 each. Possession of a Syrian passport makes claiming asylum a lot easier.
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Disguising Themselves as Syrians to Enter Europe
- Souad Mekhennet and William Booth
Moving among the tens of thousands of Syrian war refugees in Europe are many who are neither Syrian nor refugees, but hoping to blend into the mass migration and find a back door to the West. There are well-dressed Iranians speaking Farsi who insist they are members of the persecuted Yazidis of Iraq. There are Indians who don't speak Arabic but say they are from Damascus. There are Pakistanis, Albanians, Egyptians, Kosovars, Somalis and Tunisians. "What we see here has nothing to do with seeking refuge and safety," Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said. "It is nothing but opportunism."
A native Arabic-speaking reporter who wandered through train stations in Vienna found plenty of newcomers whose accents did not match their stories and whose stories did not make sense.
Swimming in the river of humanity are shady characters, too, admitted criminals and Islamic State sympathizers. At Vienna Westbahnhof railway station, when a reporter asked a group of men where they were from, the men answered, "We are from Syria." When the reporter switched to the North African dialect, the men admitted, "We are Algerians." One said he met Tunisians, Moroccans and Libyans playing the same game.
Emigrants Say: No Future in Syria - Roy Gutman
Some 1,000 to 1,500 Syrians daily travel by ferry from northern Lebanon to southern Turkey, according to Turkish port authorities. None of the 50 or so people interviewed were war zone refugees. They were legal emigrants from government-held areas, all carrying passports. They had purchased their tickets at local travel agencies in Syria. Most were educated and from the middle and lower-middle class. Though almost everyone was Sunni, few had adverse words for the Assad government, but all said they have no future in Syria.
"A lot of people are not running away from war. But they are chasing a dream to be citizens in Europe in the 21st century," said Obaeda Farran, 38, from northern Syria, whose family has set up a restaurant in southern Turkey.
Refugee Riot - Anthony Faiola & Souad Mekhennet
Calden, Germany, threw open its doors to arriving waves of refugees. Donations from clothing drives filled four garages. The volunteer fire department built a tent city that now teems with 1,400 migrants. But residents here are having second thoughts after the riot.
On Sunday an Albanian cut in the food line at the tent city, prompting a reprimand from a Pakistani. Pushes degenerated into punches. Soon, 300 migrants wielding pepper spray and metal pipes were attacking each other in rival mobs. More than 50 police officers struggled for hours to restore order, with three hospitalized with injuries.
Germany is undergoing a national reality check. On Wednesday, violence broke out at two refugee centers in Hamburg, including one incident involving 100 migrants wielding wooden planks as weapons, according to police. In Calden, another incident in August involved a clash between Syrian and Albanian asylum seekers.
Refugee Crisis Driven by Iran Deal - Guy Bechor
Why is there suddenly a huge jump in the wave of migrants and refugees arriving in Europe on a daily basis? The answer is the nuclear deal with Iran. The millions of refugees in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan had some vague hope that Syrian President Bashar Assad would fall one day, that one day the civil war might end. As soon as they saw that the nuclear deal had been signed, and that Iran would receive $150 billion and an end to the sanctions, they realized that what is happening in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon is not going to end.
Europe's leaders, who pushed for a deal with Iran with all their might, didn't realize that it would lead to the millions who are now on their way. This isn't the first time that the European Union falls into its own trap. It happened in 2011, when an outburst of "human rights" made Europe topple Muammar Gaddafi, the leader who singlehandedly curbed the migration to Europe via the sea. Now there are hundreds of thousands of migrants through Libya.
The writer heads the Middle East Division at the Lauder School of Government at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.
A Muslim Invasion of Europe? - Guy Milliere
Since the beginning of January, more than 620,000 illegal migrants have arrived in Europe. By the end of December, there might be 1.5 million.
Journalists in Western Europe continue to depict them as "refugees" fleeing war in Syria. The description is false. According to EU statistics, only 25% come from Syria; the true number is probably lower.
The vast majority of migrants come from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Eritrea, Somalia, and Nigeria. Many do not seem to have left in a hurry. Many bring new high-end smartphones and large sums of cash.
More than 75% are men under 50. Those who enter Europe are almost all Muslims.
The writer, a senior fellow of the Gatestone Institute, is a professor at the University of Paris.