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Refugee Crisis: Where Are All these People Coming from and Why?


Refugee Crisis: Where Are All these People Coming from and Why?

Patrick Cockburn

It is an era of violence in the Middle East and North Africa, with nine civil wars now going on in Islamic countries between Pakistan and Nigeria. This is why there are so many refugees fleeing for their lives. Half of the 23 million population of Syria have been forced from their homes, with four million becoming refugees in other countries.


How the fuck can you have an article about where all the refugees are coming from and why without once mentioning the disastrous impact of the attacks against Iraq and Afghanistan? Or of attempting to overthrow Assad?

What a crock. Read Parry's article instead. It doesn't pretend the U.S. and the U.K. aren't responsible for the vast majority of refugees fleeing the disasters in their homelands.


Gosh, could ignoring the neocon backed attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, which resulted in power vacuums that have resulted in continuing bloody conflicts that are causing people to flee, give a more realistic assessment of what produced the refugee crisis?

Is ignoring the causes of the crisis more realistic than taking them into account?

That's a hard one.


I tried, but couldn't finish reading this.
Well Cockburn, let's not let truth get in the way; after all, it just might tarnish your professional standing. Better to write an acceptable piece that doesn't end up soiled by the fundamental facts.
In the meantime the US/Brit mic alliance has, and continues to spread untold destruction and suffering to millions.


The Taliban , Al Qaida and ISIS were all "incubated" by the United States of America with monies arms and training.

This article is trash. Virtually all of these "civil wars" were orchestrated abroad and triggered by the USA trying to assert hegemony in the regions. See "the clean break strategy" . See "The Yinon Strategy". This all by design.

"In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way." Franklin D. Roosevelt


You obviously have an opinion based on nothing substantial. Give it a rest. The Brits and the Gringos started the advance of this train wreck after WWII and it was just a matter of time before it occurred with the intersession of Bush II idiot and his stable of neocon fanatics and Likudniks. The US Dems have been only less vile in assisting in carrying it through.


Mr. Cockburn is informative about the ongoing logics of the wars that are tearing up Western Asia and North Africa, but he does not say enough about why and how these wars originated. There are good reasons to believe that the refugee crisis and the phenomenon of "failed states" are simple blowback from the disastrous imperial policies coming from Washington, London, and other nerve centers of the so-called "civilized world." I remember before Bush's ill-fated decision to invade Iraq, an Egyptian diplomat warned that if the US military brought down the Baath Party government, the gates of hell would open. Boy, was he right! The gates of hell are wide open and look what we see--torture, murder, bombings, beheadings, mutilations, unimaginable horrors, unthinkable cruelties. And as Cockburn points out, the end of hell is nowhere in sight. Bush and his gang committed a great crime against Iraq and the American people by throwing both peoples into a bloody futile war, with most of the suffering on the Iraqi side. But the extent of Bush's crime is now coming into view: he wanted to be a world conqueror, but he will be remembered as a world destroyer, the Hitler of our times. Bush is having a nice old time in retirement, making crappy paintings and getting paid a ton of money on the conservative lecture circuit. Meanwhile Syrian and Libyan children are drowning in their desperate flight for safety and somewhere in Afghanistan or Iraq an American bomb is "taking out" more civilians (in American language, "Arab terrorists"). Bush is essentially a murderer at large and it's a striking feature of our barbaric world, that so few Americans perceive that.


Common Dreams please don't EVER publish an article by this willfully blind author doing service to war criminals by monstrous omission.

Just unreal. Publishing this gets us no further toward Common Dreams of peace, justice, or an equitable society. It furthers the propaganda that counters such.


Before the attack on Iraq, justified by made-up claims about WMD's, Iraqis had stability, free healthcare and education, including college. Sunni and Shia intermarried and the society was secular and well educated. Women's equal rights were enshrined in the constitution and Iraq had the highest female literacy rate in the region.

Now they have to worry about getting their heads chopped off.

Your apologia for the neocons is disgusting.


I think the writer is willfully blind. All the turmoils in last two decades were created by the Anglo-American intervention. Being a hyperpower the NATO allies follwoed the old styled colonialism. That has created terrible mess and the major responsibility goes to EU nations. Obviously as long as they would act as being the United States' minions they have to suffer. In future they have to face riots for discrimination and joblessness. So get ready for it. The Turks, Israelis and GCC nations are not accepting them. What a wonderful humantatrian acts but they would help put more fire.


Yeah, it kinda sucks when someone's opinion doesn't match yours. They should be silenced and never be heard from again.


Excellent, nuanced analysis. Notice how it shies away from sports-style "good team" versus "bad team" or "winner" versus "loser" framing.

This in particular stands out for its importance:

"What is to be done to stop these horrors? Perhaps the first question is how we can prevent them from getting worse, keeping in mind that five out of the nine wars have begun since 2011. There is a danger that by attributing mass flight to too many diverse causes, including climate change, political leaders responsible for these disasters get off the hook and are free of public pressure to act effectively to bring them to an end."

The same PR firms and think tanks that cloak the actions of the powerful (from candidates, to celebrities, to corporations) traffic in this "it could have been that other thing" frames.

For instance, on today's article about Burt's bees and the adulteration of nature thanks to the dangerous contrivances of Monsanto, and friends, that same effort to generalize the results of very toxic materials to OTHER factors is the new rule.

This shows how this "spread the blame around" to keep the REAL trespassers off the hook works:

"The government agencies that defend the widespread use of toxic chemicals in U.S. agriculture do so on the basis of what they refer to as “safe” residues, as determined by the regulatory agencies, often with input from corporations, and only by looking at each chemical independently. These agencies don’t study the impact of the toxic chemical cocktails resulting from exposure to multiple pesticides or chemicals."


I think YOU are guilty of the crock. This is an EXCELLENT article but it goes over the heads of those in the forum who like to either blame the great mass of WE, The People/voters OR Israel.

If 5 people gave this post a like, then like you, they didn't bother to read the article.

Here: Cockburn covered the item:

"Very different is the war in Syria and Iraq which has seen the number of people trying to reach Greece by sea jump from 45,000 to 239,000 over the same period. For three decades Afghanistan has produced the greatest number of refugees, according to the UNHCR; but in the past year Syria has taken its place, and one new refugee in four worldwide is now a Syrian. A whole society has been destroyed, and the outside world has done very little to stop this happening."

THIS is what you contended. Falsely:

"Gosh, could ignoring the neocon backed attacks on Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, which resulted in power vacuums that have resulted in continuing bloody conflicts that are causing people to flee, give a more realistic assessment of what produced the refugee crisis?"


Rewqski's post is unintelligible and completely misrepresents Mr. Parry's positions which no doubt go over his head.

You continue to argue for points that ARE included in this article. It's apparent you didn't read it to its conclusion. You were too anxious to attack Mr. Cockburn. There is no need to compare one (Parry) AGAINST the other (Cockburn) since both are talking about the variety of influences that led to such disastrous policy determinations in the Middle East.

I would put more emphasis on the MIC and how that entity and its weapons designers must PUSH PRODUCT (via war) in order to enjoy their bloated profits, and speak to how all this arming of unstable nations (primarily by U.S situated interests) is the engine that's driving all the carnage. After all, without all this high tech "assistance," the internecine conflicts would have to be fought with sticks and spears. Probably an improvement.


Cockburn understates the causative factors, but he certainly points to them in this comment:

"In Iraq and Syria, we are back to a period of drastic demographic change not seen in the region since the Palestinians were expelled or forced to flee by the Israelis in 1948, or when the Christians were exterminated or driven out of what is now modern Turkey in the decade after 1914. Multi-confessional societies in Iraq and Syria are splitting apart with horrendous consequences. Foreign powers either did not know or did not care what sectarian demons they were releasing in these countries by disrupting the old status quo."

The outside powers destabilized the area knowing it would come unglued.


This goes WAY beyond Bush...but the rest of this comment is pretty good.


An excellent article that totally ignores, or at best mentions only obliquely, the actual cause of the refugee crisis?

Bull. I don't know why Cockburn is downplaying the direct cause of the problem, but there's no question he's giving Bush, Blair and the rest of those who engineered this crisis a pass.

Just as you're choosing to willfully ignore the gaping holes in Cockburn's analysis.


Common Dreams chooses what to publish and WHAT NOT TO PUBLISH. I suppose you are freaking out about that fact, and protesting their daily decisions of choosing which voices "should be silenced".

I'm voicing an OPINION that CD not publish articles that effectively propagate deception by omission regarding massive crimes against humanity.

What is the problem again lamonte7?


I suppose ignoring military conquest by US Empire is "nuanced". I read the article, and kept expecting some reference to the fact that US foreign policy has a direct responsibility for this refugee crisis.

If I missed that nuanced reference, then please point it out. The example you give does no such thing.


So you are satisfied with "disrupting the old status quo" as euphemism for wanton slaughter for Empire?