Obama’s migrants

The chaos in Europe over migrants from the Middle East began with the Obama-promoted Arab Spring.

This article, by Lawrence Solomon, was published by the National Post on September 11, 2015

Soon after being sworn in as President of the United States in 2009, Barack Obama made the historic speech in Cairo that would launch the Arab Spring the following year. Within weeks of the start of the protests, Egyptian President Mubarak was overthrown with Obama’s encouragement, leading to the takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood of the government, to churches being looted and demolished by the dozens, to mobs destroying Christian convents, orphanages, schools, businesses, and homes, and to the flight of 100,000 Coptic Christians. These were the first of Obama’s migrants; had the Egyptian people not quickly returned to power a military leader able to restore order to the country, the number of Copts on the move could have numbered in the millions.

In February 2011, at the same time as the protests against Mubarak, uprisings began against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, leading to the Libyan Civil War and to Obama’s decision to lead from behind in the liberation of Libya. The country, which until then had been a stable country of six million citizens including more than one million migrant workers, collapsed into a failed-state anarchy from which it has never recovered. In February of this year, ISIL, one of the groups now fighting for control of Libya, threatened to send 500,000 people from Libya to Europe, among whom would be numerous jihadis disguised as refugees, for the stated purpose of causing chaos in Europe. By summer, as if on cue, some 500,000 congregated on the Mediterranean shore in order to cross into Italy, with very large numbers succeeding. These migrants, most of them looking for work after the collapse of Libya’s economy, can also trace their predicament to Obama, other Western leaders in tow.

The migration of peoples from the Middle East to the West now has a life of its own

In early 2011, uprisings began in Syria, too, and by the following year the Syrian Civil War had begun. Since then chemical weapons have been employed against the general populace, the number of civilian deaths is estimated at 250,000, those wounded at more than a million and those who have fled their homes at 9 million, a consequence of ethnic cleansings as the country fragmented along ethnic and religious lines. And a consequence of Obama’s Arab Spring.

The contagion of the Arab Spring then spread to Iraq in the form of ISIL, which had become potent in Syria’s mayhem-filled environment, and which invaded Iraq’s Anbar Province in late 2013. Iraq’s war-related migration soon reached new heights with the slaughter of Yazidis and Christian minorities as well as Muslims who practiced different teachings. Many blame Iraq’s collapse, which had largely been pacified by the time Obama came to office, on Obama’s failure to keep in place the residual U.S. troops needed to maintain stability. Maybe so but even if he had, there is no reason to be confident Iraq would have been immune to the Arab Spring-propelled ethnic and sectarian ravages elsewhere in the region.

The migration of peoples from the Middle East to the West now has a life of its own. Large numbers – literally millions – hope to reach the West to escape death or persecution. Millions more are trying to escape the economic hardship caused by the wars and unrest, or are capitalizing on the chaos associated with mass migrations to simply improve their standard of living – numerous Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who are not beset by war, for example, are dumping their national IDs and claiming to be Syrians, as their ticket to a better life in the West.

The demise of the Middle East’s great tyrants did not usher in governments that are “stable, successful and secure” and that inspire in their people “confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice,” goals of Obama’s Cairo speech. Instead, their demise put into power even greater tyrannies such as the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIL, spurring chaos and calamity in the Middle East. And now that chaos and calamity, in the form of migrants and the terrorists among them, is coming to our shores.

Lawrence Solomon is a policy analyst with Probe International. Email: LawrenceSolomon@nextcity.com.

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