Remember when America erupted in fury over France’s refusal to support the US invasion of Iraq in 2003? President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominque de Villepin warned that George Bush’s unprovoked aggression against Iraq would destabilize the Mideast and inflict untold dangers on Europe.
America’s response to the sage warning was to change the name of French fries to ‘Freedom fries’ and press ahead with the invasion of Iraq. President Saddam Hussein of Iraq warned that an America invasion would ignite the “Mother of All Battles” and would “open the gates of Hell.”
The French leaders and Saddam were absolutely right as confirmed by the waves of desperate Mideast refugees flooding into Europe and the rampaging wildmen of Islamic State.
In 2006, the Bush administration, cheered on by Israel, planned to invade Syria and destroy Hezbollah in Lebanon. This was during the period when Bush was boasting to Britain’s Tony Blair that the US would also go on to invade Pakistan. The invasion of Syria did not take place because a few intelligent people in Washington asked who would Washington put into power to run Syria? The only alternative at the time to the Assad regime was the underground Muslim Brotherhood. Washington wanted nothing to do with political Muslims so it deferred the invasion.
But then the Saudis created an alternative to the Brotherhood: a ragbag of bloodthirsty jihadist fanatics under a dozen different names, the so-called Islamic State, or IS. These were unleashed against the Iranian-backed Assad regime in Damascus, a former US ally, and slated for action against Afghanistan’s Taliban.
These jihadis were armed, directed and trained by the US, Britain, and France in Lebanon and Jordan. They were financed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
– on the strict proviso the jihadis stayed far away from the Saudi kingdom. US Psychological warfare teams fanned hatred between Sunni Muslims and Shia, a divide and conquer tactic that had proved its value in Iraq.
Four years later, the storm broke on Syria which has been reduced to ruins after more than four years of urban warfare. Over 9.5 million of Syria’s 22.8 million people have become refugees: 6.5 million internally displaced and homeless; three million have fled to Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan.
Now, wave after wave of mostly Syrian refugees are breaking on Europe, the majority heading for the Promised Land of Germany, which has received them with impressive generosity and kindness. Contrast the German response to that of Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czechs who have come right out and said they don’t want any Muslims (though many Syrian refugees are Christians). Hungary’s callous response recalled memories of the 1940’s. France was not much better.
Also notable for churlishness and anti-Muslim feelings was Canada, once a beacon for refugees. Its Islamophobic, rabidly pro-Israel prime minister, Stephen Harper, was finally forced by public uproar to admit small numbers of refugees. Israel, which had invited 600,000 French Jews to come and settled last year, said it had no room for Arab refugees.
Indeed – there are still five million stateless Palestinian refugees as a result of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine’s Arab population in 1947-48 which was indirectly supported both by the United States and the Soviet Union.
How to stop today’s flood of political refugees? Halt the western-led war against Syria. Today. Cease arming and funding the anti-Assad jihadis. The United States, France, Britain and the Saudis can quickly end the Syrian bloodbath by cutting off arms and money.
Europe – particularly Germany – could use the mainly middle-class Syrian refugees now pouring in. But Europe does not need – and should not accept – economic refugees from black Africa looking for a better life. They must be turned away and sent home, as difficult as that will be to do.
As we listen to all the hypocritical moralizing in the West over refugees, just remember the warnings of Chirac and DeVillepin. There are now 3.1 million displaced people in Iraq as a result of the US invasion. Add two million refugees in Afghanistan caused by the Soviet, then US invasions. Add Somalia and Libya. All the result of western military misadventures.
Eric S. Margolis is an American-born journalist and writer. For 27 years, ending in 2010, he was a contributing editor to the Toronto Sun chain of newspapers, writing mainly about the Middle East, South Asia and Islam.
Copyright © 2015 Eric Margolis