Category: Refugees (Page 1 of 2)

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PODCAST: In case you didn’t have enough hilarity this week, Belgium joins Syria bombing campaign


How will that make any tangible difference in operational outcome, is however, anybody’s guess.

(In the immortal words of William Hague, “oooh scary!”)

Really…Belgium, of all countries suddenly decided to drop a few bombs. I mean, seriously, I am just a humble political scientist, but strictly by the dictates of logic and prudence, shouldn’t that money be better spent on Human Intelligence (HUMINT) gathering inside Belgium? Or Counter Terrorism operations? Or securing borders and improving surveillance and monitoring within Europe? 1448313843772

How much does one laser guided bomb, one mission, one sortie, one refueling cost, compared to CCTV monitoring, or a yearly salary of a beat-Cop or intelligence officer in Molenbeek, Europe’s jihadist breeding ground and capital? Considering the fact that the majority of Euro terrorists are from within Europe, often second generation, disgruntled urban youths, lonely losers, listening to hip hop and smoking pot, and looking for ultra-violence and misogyny, wouldn’t it be logical to monitor and control that, rather than providing them with more narrative of West interfering in the Middle East?

Just this morning, there was report, how migrant flow from Libya is not controlled. The migrants are not even war refugees, widows, elderly, infirm or children from Middle East, but healthy young men looking for jobs from Sub-Saharan Africa. Shouldn’t the money be better spent in stopping that?

I’ve written an entire essay before for War on the Rocks, on how Libya intervention was a mistake and how there are other ways of containing ISIS and stopping mass migration. But nothing really changes as Europe tries the same process of coalition, bombing, and state building, when the strategy should be one of containment and tactical amputation.

On that frustrating note, here’s the podcast.

In the words of David Petraeus, “Tell me how this ends”?

Listen, and share.

 

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Exclusive: Greek far-right organising violent anti-refugee rallies

“Greece belongs to Greeks!”

Shouts rang out at a demonstration held by far-right Greeks protesting against refugees last weekend in Piraeus, a port city south of Greek capital Athens. More troubling was the chant, “Knife into the heart of every antifascist!” That chant would be taken into action with fists and clubs.

In Greece there are still over 50,000 refugees and migrants are trapped by the closed borders, with over 4,000 having waited in the port of Piraeus for over 2 months. The Greek far-right sees increasing numbers of refugees as an opportunity for gatherings and pushes the agenda “Against the Islamisation of Europe.” Similar anti-migrant gatherings are being organised all over the Greece lately.

“We are many hundreds here today and this is just a beginning. Our heroes who were fighting against Islam once are the ones leading us,” spokeperson for Greek parliamentary neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn Ilias Kasidiaris stated from an improvised stage, where the slogan “Stop Islam” was written.

Just an hour before Greek rightists reportedly carried out an attack, led by Golden Dawn MPs Yiannis Lagos and Ilias Kasidiaris. They attacked the group of anti-fascists who gathered to protest a Golden Dawn rally. Among those attacked were also journalists, including

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Weekly Reading List: So, I got published in War on the Rocks and Nottspolitics

Big week, as I mentioned before, with a couple of major publications coming, other than my regular columns.

To start with, the biggest one till date, my essay on War on the Rocks, where I write a Neo-Realist critique of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s latest revisionist history lesson. And was then called a Neo-Con for some reason, in the comments. But that’s another issue.

The second big one was my guest post at the official blog of the University of Nottingham, Dept of Politics and IR, where I talk about a foreign policy course for Philippines and how it should balance between China and US.

Other than that, here are my weekly columns.

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Brussels Attacks: 2 posts you need to read, regardless of your political ideology

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Slavoj Zizek: In the Wake of Paris Attacks the Left Must Embrace Its Radical Western Roots (Nov, 2015) – Read the full piece here

”  It is a fact that most of the refugees come from a culture that is incompatible with Western European notions of human rights. Tolerance as a solution (mutual respect of each other’s sensitivities) obviously doesn’t work: fundamentalist Muslims find it impossible to bear our blasphemous images and reckless humor, which we consider a part of our freedoms. Western liberals, likewise, find it impossible to bear many practices of Muslim culture…

Did we already forget that the entire idea of Communist emancipation as envisaged by Marx is a thoroughly “Eurocentric” one?

In a gloomy prophecy made before his death, Col. Muammar Gaddafi said: “Now listen you, people of NATO. You’re bombing a wall, which stood in the way of African migration to Europe and in the way of al Qaeda terrorists. This wall was Libya. You’re breaking it. You’re idiots, and you will burn in Hell for thousands of migrants from Africa.” Was he not stating the obvious? “

CeKikDxWIAAjUFoTom Nichols: Terrorists Kill Because They Hate Themselves For Loving The West (Jan, 2016) – Read the full piece here

” Even if we wanted to surrender completely, there’d be no way to do it. Insofar as their demand is to convert to their religion, we can’t meet that demand because, on any given day, they can’t meet it. If the way European jihadis live day to day is “Islam,” and the terrorists want me to convert to that, then all I can say is that I’ll have to stick to Christianity because I’m too old for that much partying.

These young men are fueled by the most intense kind of hatred there is: self-hatred. There is no accommodation with self-hatred. Would-be jihadis lash out at Western society not because they hate it so much, but because they love it so much. They hate us for who we are, and hate themselves for their addiction to a culture and all of its pleasures—sex, drugs, music—they’ve been told are the basest of sins. Too weak to resist the temptations of life among us, they hope that by destroying the source of the sins that tempt them, they will find redemption. “

Je suis Bruxelles

 

 

Weekly Reading List: All about foreign policy Realism.

Hi everyone, been long we had a Weekly Reading List! Not weekly anymore, unfortunately, as I am busy with my work and research, but as Easter break is approaching, and I will be immersed full time in my PhD thesis, here’re a few articles which I want to leave you guys with, which I wrote in the last one month.

JIR2016_1First, the big one.

My research paper got published, titled “Was Putin Ever Friendly to the West?”: An Expository Study of the First Two Terms of President Vladimir Putin, In Light of the Theories of Realism. (Journal of International Relations, Faculty of International Relations, University of Economics in Bratislava 2016, Volume XIV, Issue 1, Pages 58-92. ISSN 1336-1562 (print), ISSN 1339-2751 (online) Published 15. 3. 2016)

You can download the full paper here.

Aurangzeb_in_old_age_2Secondly, most of you would remember I wrote a comparative piece on how modern Russia is like seventeenth century India under the Mughals? I went a bit further and compared Putin and the medieval Indian emperor Aurangzeb. (Which, incidentally got a nice review here!)

I wrote two articles on Russia-Direct, the first one on how unlikely it is for Russia to actually invade the Baltics, and the second one on the fact that Russia and US is not in any New Cold war, but just a usual Great power rivalry with competition and cooperation happening simultaneously.

I also wrote one long essay for The Interpreter Magazine, on how contrary to popular belief, Obama is not a Realist…infact he doesn’t seem to understand what Realism in foreign policy means.

With regards to my weekly columns, here are they. 

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“New Cold War” and policies to confront Russia

Joint editorial by Mitchell Blatt and Sumantra Maitra, editors of Bombs and Dollars


 

For those who make a career out of observing and analyzing international relations, the Munich security conference is a surreal experience. A lot changed since the passive aggressive rupture in 2007 by Vladimir Putin, in front of a stunned and a little dismissive European audience, and the world has come a long way since then. Russia pummeled Georgia, annexed Crimea, divided Ukraine, and intervened in Syria. Europe faces a migration crisis unlike ever before in history, of an exceptional magnitude and character. Migration and jihadism are used as weapons of blackmail not just by an adversarial Russia but a supposed ally in Turkey, and partners in East Europe. The liberal world order has crashed, and history has returned with a vengeance. Not everything has changed, of course… Stop the War, Code Pink and Global Research Canada still blames Western imperialism. Ed Snowden and Glenn Greenwald still think intelligence-gathering and espionage in times of war are totally outdated and provocative policies, a view shared (rhetorically, at least) by Ted Cruz, for some reason. Donald Trump proudly touts his support from Putin and pledges to buddy up to him in return, while Trump’s supporters comment on Facebook that at least they think an autocratic tyrant who is behind the deaths of dissidents is better than President Obama. Trump defended him, on the grounds that, “the U.S. kills people, too,” and “there’s no evidence” he has killed a journalist, but it doesn’t matter, because even if he did start shooting people on Fifth Avenue, they would still support him. Mitt Romney was mocked in 2012 for stating that Russia was America’s“biggest enemy.” Obama painted him as an out-of-touch old hawk who didn’t know the Cold War ended decades ago. Just this February, Russian PM Dimitry Medvedevsaid, “We are in a new Cold War.” 291150701-e1409886026827

So are we or are we not in a new cold war? And if we are, how big is Putin’s Russia a threat to the West, and how to deal with it?

Well…the question itself is complicated, and the key is in the wording. While news outlets that printed Medvedev’s quote used capital letters for “Cold War,” as if it were a proper noun, it is indisputable that we are in a cold war—not like the one between America and Russia, but a geo-political battle of a different scale. No matter how much German foreign minister tries to Germansplain Medvedev’s remarks, there is no questioning that is true. Russia is a shadow of the former Soviet self and simply lacks the capability for global political, military, economic and ideological confrontation. However, that doesn’t make it any less important, because unlike last time, the West is not united. Many in Western Europe and the U.S. and Canada are complacent and accommodating this time around. But for the Baltic countries and Ukraine, they are in big trouble, and they know it.

To deal with this new development, we need to understand and more importantly accept that we’re in a geo-political conflict. Here’s how. 

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A girl named Sanaa Taleb – Part 2

Introduction in the fight of Sanaa Taleb

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Sanaa Taleb, a woman who resists forced deportation

The trial against Sanaa Taleb was postponed a month ago. Sanaa was handcuffed, accompanied by 6 police officers back to women prison cells for undocumented migrants Elliniko in Athens. (See our earlier coverage here

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Refugees welcome

SCOOP: Anti- migrant performance on football match in Ljubljana

Last evening in Athens there was a football derby match between Panathinaikos and Olympiakos. On the other part of Balkans another big derby match was going at the same time between two biggest Slovenian football clubs: Olimpija Ljubljana and Maribor.

Sometime around midnight, I received a text from a good friend of mine, who’s a Slovenian researcher and blogger: “You should check on this!” There was a photo from a football match showing supporters of Maribor also called “Viole” with banners and flags.

Dejan, Viole

Maribor fans wrote on a huge banners following: “The most precious thing that can be taken from us is our own nation. If we will not fight for it we will lose it forever. Stop migrants!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Supporters lift with banners also national flags of Slovenia and there was a flag with the Celtic Cross mainly used by ultra-right, fascist and nazis groups.

team derby

Source: Facebook page of NK Maribor

Let’s just mention some facts on football club Maribor. The coach of the club is Krunoslav Jurčić, Croatian. Here is for the illustration the team that started yesterday’s match:
In Athens the match between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos was canceled. But supporters of Panathinaikos still came with this banner:
Panathinaikos

For years I have already been dealing with research on right-wing ideologies. Obviously I am aware of links between football supporters and neo-naziism or neo-fascism. “In the 80’s and 90’s, Nazis were still the dominant forces in our group. But sure, we kicked those mother fuckers out,” supporters of Athens based Panathinaikos told me once. “In our group they are minority now,” they claimed.

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Some valid arguments against refugee program

Yesterday I wrote about the anti-refugee protests held by Overpasses for America and how their rhetoric and arguments were crazy. “No refugees illegals,” said a sign.

However, I don’t want to imply that there are no rational arguments in favor of curtailing or slowing down the admittance of refugees from certain countries. Just that people who call for the arrest of the president, or who post images of the Statue of Liberty in flames and the text, “They are here for your children. … Arm yourself, get training,” are typically not making the best arguments, are fueled by fear and paranoia.

In the interest of fairness, I should link to a few people who are making more civil and convincing arguments against refugees.

Megan McArdle points out some bad arguments come from the pro-refugee side, too.

The Gulf states are not taking refugees. Not really an argument for us not taking refugees as much as it is one that the Saudi Arabia and others aren’t doing their part. It is an argument that those states are Islamic and are a bigger cause of the problem in that they are funding the campaign against Assad.

But even if they are Islamic, they might not be the most welcoming to foreigners, which is why they so far haven’t been welcoming, and America is the welcoming immigrant country. One could argue that to cite Saudi Arabia’s inaction as justification is to deny America’s exceptionalism. No one would cite Saudi Arabia’s human rights record as something America should aim for.

We should settle Christians who are being murdered by a theocratic terrorist group that kills non-believers. According to a New York Times Magazine article, Christians are leaving Syria in droves. So far 3 percent of the Syrian refugees America has accepted have been Christian, compared to a Syrian population of 10 percent Christian. Does those numbers indicate the U.S. should be accepting more Christians? Hard to say without knowing more information, such as the local population demographics, the extent of violence in different places, and the demographic composition of those who have applied for refugee status.

One of the people who attacked in France snuck into Europe with a group of refugees. Ensuring who is allowed in when they step off boats with fake documents is hard, but that is more of a problem for Europe, where 100’s of thousands are coming on boats, than America.

So there are some issues to consider with regards to refugees, but they should be considered logically.

Overpasses for America gets into an argument with me

Overpasses for America is a Tea Party-era group who has been protesting this past week against America’s refugee program for Syrians. I wrote about their protests yesterday, calling them the “dark underbelly of anti-refugee animosity.”

Today, Overpasses’ official Twitter account got into an argument with me. Here’s the tweet I sent that started it off:

Overpasses responds:

In the heat of battle, I misfired, too:

The actual number of illegal immigrants in America is between 11 million and 12 million, as noted by multiple sources.

I corrected my tweet later:

Next Overpasses stated that Syrians should be fighting for their country rather than fleeing:

My response:

Overpasses made an inept comparison:

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