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

Some 2.6 million Iraqis have been displaced by Islamic State – Isis – offensives in the last year and squat in tents or half-finished buildings. Unnoticed by the outside world, some 1.5 million people have been displaced in South Sudan since fighting there resumed at the end of 2013.

Other parts of the world, notably south-east Asia, have become more peaceful over the last 50 years or so, but in the vast swathe of territory between the Hindu Kush mountains and the western side of the Sahara, religious, ethnic and separatist conflicts are tearing countries apart. Everywhere states are collapsing, weakening or are under attack; and, in many of these places, extreme Sunni Islamist insurgencies are on the rise which use terror against civilians in order to provoke mass flight.

Another feature of these wars is that none of them show any sign of ending, so people cannot go back to their homes. Most Syrian refugees who fled to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan in 2011 and 2012, believed the war in Syria would soon be over and they could return. It is only in the last couple of years that they have realised that this is not going to happen and they must seek permanent sanctuary elsewhere. The very length of these wars means immense and irreversible destruction of all means of making a living, so refugees, who at first just sought safety, are also driven by economic necessity.

The world’s main sources of refugees. Credit: The Independent
The world’s main sources of refugees. Credit: The Independent

The world’s main sources of refugeesSuch wars are currently being waged in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, south-east Turkey,Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and north-east Nigeria. A few of them began a long time ago, an example being Somalia, where the state collapsed in 1991 and has never been rebuilt, with warlords, extreme jihadis, rival parties and foreign soldiers controlling different parts of the country. But most of these wars started after 2001 and many after 2011. All-out civil war in Yemen only got under way last year, while the Turkish-Kurdish civil war, which has killed 40,000 people since 1984, resumed this July with airstrikes and guerrilla raids. It is escalating rapidly: a truckload of Turkish soldiers were blown up at the weekend by Kurdish PKK guerrillas.

When Somalia fell apart, a process which a disastrous US military intervention failed to reverse in 1992-94, it seemed to be a marginal event, insignificant for the rest of the world. The country became a “failed state”, a phrase used in pitying or dismissive terms as it became the realm of pirates, kidnappers and al-Qa’ida bombers. But the rest of the world should regard such failed states with fear as well as contempt, because it is such places – Afghanistan in the 1990s and Iraq since 2003 – that have incubated movements like the Taliban, al-Qa’ida and Isis. All three combine fanatical religious belief with military expertise. Somalia once seemed to be an exceptional case but “Somalianisation” has turned out to be the fate of a whole series of countries, notably Libya, Iraq and Syria, where until recently people had enough food, education and healthcare.

All wars are dangerous, and civil wars have always been notoriously merciless, with religious wars the worst of all. These are what are now happening in the Middle East and North Africa, with Isis – and al-Qa’ida clones such as Jabhat al-Nusra or Ahrar al-Sham in Syria – ritually murdering their opponents and justifying their actions by pointing to the indiscriminate bombardment of civilian areas by the Assad government.

What is a little different in these wars is that Isis deliberately publicises its atrocities against Shia, Yazidis or anybody else it deems its enemies. This means that people caught up in these conflicts, particularly since the declaration of Islamic State in June last year, suffer an extra charge of fear which makes it more likely that they will flee and not come back. This is as true for professors in Mosul University in Iraq as it is for villagers in Nigeria, Cameroon or Mali. Unsurprisingly, Isis’s advances in Iraq have produced great waves of refugees who have all too good an idea of what will happen to them if they do not run away.

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 former Iraqi National Security Advisor, Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, used to tell American political leaders, who glibly suggested that Iraq’s communal problems could be solved by dividing up the country between Sunni, Shia and Kurds, that they should understand what a bloody process this would be, inevitably bringing about massacres and mass flight “similar to the Partition of India in 1947”.

Why are so many of these states falling apart now and generating great floods of refugees? What internal flaws or unsustainable outside pressures do they have in common? Most of them achieved self-determination when imperial powers withdrew after the Second World War. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, they were ruled by military leaders who ran police states and justified their monopolies of power and wealth by claiming that they were necessary to establish public order, modernise their countries, gain control of natural resources and withstand fissiparous sectarian and ethnic pressures.


These were generally nationalist and often socialist regimes whose outlook was overwhelmingly secular. Because these justifications for authoritarianism were usually hypocritical, self-interested and masked pervasive corruption by the ruling elite, it was often forgotten that countries like Iraq, Syria and Libya had powerful central governments for a reason – and would disintegrate without them.

It is these regimes that have been weakening and are collapsing across the Middle East and North Africa. Nationalism and socialism no longer provide the ideological glue to hold together secular states or to motivate people to fight for them to the last bullet, as believers do for the fanatical and violent brand of Sunni Islam espoused by Isis, Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham. Iraqi officials admit that one of the reasons the Iraqi army disintegrated in 20014 and has never been successfully reconstituted is that “very few Iraqis are prepared to die for Iraq.”

Sectarian groups like Isis deliberately carry out atrocities against Shia and others in the knowledge that it will provoke retaliation against the Sunni that will leave them with no alternative but to look to Isis as their defenders. Fostering communal hatred works in Isis’s favour, and it is cross-infecting countries such as Yemen, where previously there was little consciousness of the sectarian divide, though one third of its 25 million population belong to the Shia Zaydi sect.

The likelihood of mass flight becomes even greater. Earlier this year, when there were rumours of an Iraqi Army and Shia militia assault aimed at recapturing the overwhelming Sunni city of Mosul this spring, the World Health Organisation and the UN High Commission for Refugees began pre-positioning food to feed another one million people who they expected to flee.

Europeans were jolted by pictures of the little drowned body of Alyan Kurdi lying on a beach in Turkey and half-starved Syrians crammed into Hungarian trains. But in the Middle East the new wretched diaspora of the powerless and the dispossessed has been evident for the last three or four years. In May, I was about to cross the Tigris River between Syria and Iraq in a boat with a Kurdish woman and her family when she and her children were ordered off because one letter spelling a name on her permit was incorrect.

“But I’ve been waiting three days with my family on the river bank!” she screamed in despair. I was heading for Erbil, the Kurdish capital, which aspired until a year ago to be “the new Dubai” but is now full of refugees huddling in half-completed hotels, malls and luxury blocks.

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 present refugee crisis in Europe is very much the conflict in Syria having a real impact on the continent for the first time. True, the security vacuum in Libya has meant that the country is now the conduit for people from impoverished and war-torn countries on the edges of the Sahara. It is from Libya’s 1,100-mile coastline that 114,000 refugees have made their way to Italy so far this year, not counting the several thousands who drowned on the way. Yet, bad though this is, the situation is not much different from last year, when 112,000 made their way to Italy by this route.

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. Despite a recent flurry of diplomatic activity, none of the many players in the Syrian crisis shows urgency in trying to end it.

Syria and Iraq are at the heart of the present crisis over refugees in another way, because it is there that Isis and al-Qa’ida-type groups control substantial territory and are able to spread their sectarian poison to the rest of the Islamic world. They energise gangs of killers who operate in much the same way whether they are in Nigeria, Pakistan, Yemen or Syria.

The mass flight of people will go on as long as the war in Syria and Iraq continues.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Europe, Immigration, Middle East 
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  1. Civil wars? Really? Not a mention of Western meddling, invasions, and destabilization PRIOR to what in only some cases can only now even be CALLED civil wars. No mention of NATO, Saudi/GCC/Israeli support for the jihadists? The govt in Syria isn’t urgently trying to end the war? Shameful.

    • Agree: Ozymandias
    • Replies: @Frankie P
  2. Okay I missed one sentence about “foreign powers”. It should also be noted that Turkey is actively depriving Syria of water. Here’s another perspective on the while crisis: engineered to get the public on board for full scale invasion of Syria?

  3. Kyle a says:

    In conclusion….. Bush is not responsible for the mess in that region. Neither is Obama. Them tribes have a hatred for each other that goes beyond anything our foreign policy might have enacted.

  4. “Everywhere states are collapsing, weakening or are under attack; ”

    Which of the collapsing States are not the artificial creations of the West’s colonialists?

    Is the fantasyland of the worlds most vicious murderous slave owners supposed to last forever?

    • Agree: Marian
    • Replies: @Mack0
  5. Frankie P says:

    Reprinted from the Independent…

    Are you really surprised? Go to Ron Paul’s article on the migrant/refugee crisis in Europe if you want truth without the withholding of real causes. Google Yinon Plan while you’re at it. If things continue and the destabilization gets really intense, look for Israel to use it as cover to expel more Palestinians.

    Frankie P

  6. joe webb says:

    Oriental Despotism per Marx and the Orientalists to some degree, has been affirmed scientifically in intelligence testing. The Arab World IQ is average 84 or so. Same in Persia. Turkey and I guess Turkic peoples in Asia Minor are at 90 average IQ. African Blacks are below the European/US standard of 70 IQ as a qualifier for mental retardation, or whatever it is called these days by the
    euphemizers and liberal trans-gender girlie boys.

    Of course, Israel Firsters, aka neocons began stirring the witch’s brew with the invasions of Iraq. Said witch’s brew was already present but contained by Strong Men like Saddam Hussein who dominated the clans . This was realpolitik and Normal for the Arabs. Then the neoconservative hi-jacking of democratic sloganeering to get a reluctant US public to go along with the Jewish Wars, to bring Democracy to the Arabs was the snake oil sold to Whites to cover a war for the Jews/Israel. It was totally cynical, Jewish/neocon and calculated to create failed states.

    If you want to entertain real Elders of Zion central planning, maybe they also anticipated the current camp of the saints invasion of Europe, to further confound the White Man, or girlie-boys and girls. Why ? To weaken Whites and destroy White Ethnic Solidarity, if once activatedf against muzzles, might spread to The Jews, as the Ultimate Threat.

    Never give a sucker an even break. And Americans and Europeans are suckers for the Jews. In other words, Whites suck on any pretty story offered. Bring Democracy to…you name it, The World, our mission as good Christians and Liberals.

    The Camp of the Saints by Jean Raspail had the Asian Indians invading Province , fouling the beaches with leaking boats full of stinking humanity (average IQ of India at 82 ) . The only person in France willing to shoot was an expat Indian…who knew what was coming.

    The spectacle of the little Syrian boy, with his little drowned feet and little brown shoes, and the girlies of Europe boo-hoo. And lost on these tearful fools is the reality that the little drowned brown boy would have grown up to be a rapist, or at best, a welfare cheat,, etc.

    The US story of today or yesterday of a bunch of white folks trying to save a Great White Shark which had stranded itself on the beach….only Whites would do such curious behavior. The story said the Whites were now patrolling the shallow waters of the East Coast where White folks swim.
    Welcome the Great Whites!
    If only the shark and killed a couple of folks, preferably a little white boy or girl…that would be a bit of a lesson in Reality. White Folks…destined to be eaten by the Turd World. Chum the water and lets see what happens next.

    Folly in Whites, and Jews ready to bite. What other countries can the Jewish Wars bomb and to which can be instructed in Democracy? WE need another Peace Corps, we need another Kennedy.

    It is Oriental Despotism, from China to Albania. It is Black Chaos throughout Africa…with albino kids getting their arms cut off for cannibal snacks from witch doctors, etc…and then brought to the US for prosthetic arms….O lord, how much does that cost us ?….doctors without brains or borders in their liberality.

    Liberalism as a race- suicidal delusion . God protect us from do-gooders, Christians, and world citizens. Joe Webb

  7. Mojo says:

    Look: USG, European far right and neo liberals from Sweden to Italy to France wanted to destroy nations that are not willing nor wanted to participate in USG and these neo colonialism economical system, it started with Yugoslavia where Bill Clinton and Tony Blair were involved and by bombing Yugoslavia they managed to divide the unity among nations. Later it was time for Iraq to be destroyed, every nations which been destroyed by these neo liberals, and neo fascist ideology to some degree or more were socialists, in Iraq educations was for free, hospitalization was for free so as all other people social needs, that also goes for Yugoslavia and in Libya so as in Syria.

    In 2011 the very same idea by Paul Wolfowitz rejuvenated and it was time for Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iran and Libya to be destroyed. George W. Bush strategy was to occupy the entire Middle East with help from Saudis-Wahabbis-Israel starting with Lebanon which Lebanon war in 2006 was for Israel to invade Lebanon to the border of Syria, the resistance of Lebanese people defeated the Israel invasion. plan B was to start the destruction of Syria and Libya. This plan simply was based on the unification process which hade negotiated by Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Libya, it included the cultural, economic, military cooperation. Such unification would not suited the USG hegemony so as EU Neo liberals, Neo fascism nor Israeli or Saudis-Wahhabis regime whom are the very good business friends of Bush family.

    The history and acts in war crimes by and from the far right Swedish to Italian mafia, to French Sarkozi Neo fascism, to Danish Neo fascist head of NATO to English David Cameron the English Neo liberals to English head of present and past Labour Party all have left their signature on the present refugees crisis in Europe. It is time for the world prosecutors to start the legal prosecution process and bring these people to justice for what they have done to these nations and continue their domestic and foreign policies toward nations around the world.

    • Replies: @joe webb
  8. Tom_R says:


    Sir, your article attributes this alien invasion to the “civil wars” in the Middle East. Then what explains the drug dealers and other criminals entering from Mexico as “refugees” too? The Jewish controlled media, such as the Jew York Times, is conning the public that these criminals, who will kill and attack whites once they get in, are “migrants” and “refugees”. The Jew York Times attacked those who refused to allow these criminals to invade and jumped with glee once their puppet Merkel decided to destroy her own country at their behest by allowing the invaders to enter Germany, an invasion the Judaists have been clamoring for (as retaliation for past injustices, real or imagined, such as the holohoax). For eg. Jewish Barbara Lerner Spectre who wished for more aliens to invader Sweden.

    ISIS is just a small bunch of desert thugs and they are riding on a billion dollars of American supplied equipment. It is quite likely that the US military put tracking devices in each of the their tanks, and Humvees, etc (to locate them in the case of loss, etc.) And with satellite imagery, the US military can finish ISIS in a few days, but it won’t, because it serves Israel’s interest to keep the conflict going in the Middle East. And this conflict creates “refugees” who invade Europe. This lets the Judaists kill 2 birds with one stone—keep the Middle East weak so Israel rules it supreme while destroying Europe by sending these Muslim criminals to attack white women and men there.

    I also agree with the previous commentator that this invasion is engineered. See:

    • Agree: dahoit
  9. Giuseppe says:

    “Why are so many of these states falling apart now and generating great floods of refugees?”

    Why are you deliberately ignoring that the catalyst of misery here is US and European intervention in the Middle East and North Africa, destroying and or destabilizing stable secular Muslim states? The foolish Europeans who should have known better are being swamped by refugees made homeless directly and indirectly by their own actions. Saddam’s revenge, also Gadaffi and Assad.

  10. Cockburn’s CIA payoff was just deposited in his Cayman Islands bank account.

  11. General Wesley Clark – Seven Countries in Five Years …

    We’re going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran. Retired General …

    Real kicker is–Bill Clinton received the letter of the same request from Washingtoon’s Israel Firsters. Real monster was Slick Willy that allowed the planning of Sept 11 2001 bombings and killing of thousands of Americans on that day. Only one visiting foreign Jew died–how convenient and masterful planning. Got to give credit to these folks.

  12. “These were generally nationalist and often socialist regimes whose outlook was overwhelmingly secular. Because these justifications for (…) and would disintegrate without them”

    Erm…. What kind of experts are advising the individuals that have the power over our lives and our destiny, exactly….

    Unless there’s more behind the curtain, of course….

  13. From my blog:

    “Our nation’s propaganda machine spins world events. After years of bombing and creating chaos in Iraq and Syria, its people are fleeing to Europe. Our media claims no one knows why this exodus has occurred, but insists Europe must absorb these refugees. A picture of a drowned Syrian boy was shown by the media the past several days, with comments that everyone is outraged, and something must be done.

    What about the thousands of Syrian children killed the last few years by our CIA/Saudi/Turkish coup attempt in that nation. There are lots of photos of dead Syrian children on the internet, but those photos are not shown by our corporate media. Few Americans know that our nation spends billions of dollars each month to drop tons of bombs on Syria. At least a dozen airstrikes are conducted each day against suspected targets, and almost every bomb kills innocent civilians. After a year of daily bombing, the Pentagon claims they are effective, but admits they will not win the conflict. No one mentions that daily bombing and endless destruction caused a civilian exodus.

    One can speculate as to why Western governments purse this evil policy. If the Syrian government falls the chaos will be far worse. Destroying Syria’s infrastructure with years of bombing and warfare, resulting in depopulation by mass exodus makes no sense to anyone, unless one believes the “Greater Israel” theory. Many Zionists argue that Syria and Western Iraq should be annexed by Israel because these regions are part of the “Promised Land” described in the Bible.

  14. dahoit says:
    @Kyle a

    Sorry Kyle,a myth.There was no conflict between shia and sunni until we made one,and the cause of all this is easy as pie;Israel.

  15. … it was often forgotten that countries like Iraq, Syria and Libya had powerful central governments for a reason – and would disintegrate without them.

    This fact may have been forgotten by western journos, but the neo-cons never forgot it. Read their ‘Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm’, or better yet, read Oded Yinon’s ‘The Zionist Plan for the Middle East’, which is where the neo-cons got their idea from.

    What we have in the middle-east today, folks, is a second, even more destructive nakba.

    Nationalism and socialism no longer provide the ideological glue to hold together secular states or to motivate people to fight for them to the last bullet …

    Oh really, Patrick? It seems to be working in Syria. The vast majority of the Syrian people and soldiers are firmly with the Syrian govt. a good four years into this devastating conflict. And have you forgotten about Algeria? It took their secular/nationalist govt. a full decade to defeat the jihadists, but they managed.

    Even if these countries aren’t perfect, very few people there–including most Sunni–would view a Taliban-style régime as a step up.

  16. WMD’s aside, the Iraq war was launched to destabilize an unfriendly dictator and establish democracy in one Arab Mideast country, thus de-stabilizing other unfriendly dictators. Or so I have come to understand. The policy/strategy was only half effective–it did remove the first dictator. The rest we are looking at today. Israel and the U.S. brought this on and our European foreign policy lapdogs are paying the price.

  17. As previous commenters have noted, the current instabilities in southwest Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and the Balkans are almost entirely due to Northwest European and American meddling in these regions. The ultimate source of these problems goes back to European colonialism and, in the case of the Middle East and the Balkans, the French- and British-engineered breakup of the Ottoman Empire (Sykes-Picot and the Balfour Declaration) and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The more immediate source of current conflicts is the neocon-driven, ham-fisted, and inept meddling of the USA in all these regions starting with the soi disant First Gulf War which led up to all subsequent wars in the Middle East, Southwest Asia, and Northern Africa. Not satisfied with these disasters the US necons have also exacerbated problems in the Balkans, especially Bosnia and Kosovo; Libya; and various Russian border states, e.g., Georgia and now Ukraine and the Crimea.

    However, before blaming the current invasion of Europe — which is being unopposed and even encouraged by the same people who started all the violence mentioned earlier — entirely on refugees from violence and war, it is worthwhile looking at the demographic profile of those currently invading Europe. If these people were truly refugees, their demographics would, generally speaking, be representative of the countries of origin. Families wsould leave together. Only those too weak for the journey would be left behind. Instead, the invaders’ demographics are dominated by young men. This is suggestive of an opportunistic invasion, not one driven primarily by a desire to escape violence and death. Europe is in the process of opening its borders to the eventual seeds of its destruction.

    • Replies: @Marian
  18. plantman says:

    I’m glad to see that none of the regular Unz Review readers are taken in by Cockburn’s mendacious analysis….

    But let’s summarize. He says, “Why are so many of these states falling apart now and generating great floods of refugees? What internal flaws or unsustainable outside pressures do they have in common?”

    And then, a paragraph later, he answers, “Nationalism and socialism no longer provide the ideological glue to hold together secular states or to motivate people to fight for them to the last bullet…. “very few Iraqis are prepared to die for Iraq.”

    Really, Patrick? So, the Iraqis et al are just not patriotic enough like the noble Americans who would die for Old glory in a heartbeat??

    And, no mention of the US invasion of Iraq in the entire article, as the sole cause of the disintegration of the state.

    One can only wonder who pays Cockburn’s salary.

  19. To understand the mission of CIA ‘intellectuals’ please read a book “The CIA and the cultural war” written by Francis Stoner Saunders, then you understand why ‘journalists’ spread the CIA propaganda.

  20. @Kyle a

    Cockburn: “Nationalism and socialism no longer provide the ideological glue to hold together secular states…”

    It worked for years in Iraq under Saddam. Then Uncle Sam destroyed the Iraqi State and disbanded its army. Cockburn can put any kind of intellectual gloss on what is happening he likes, but clearly US Middle East policy, ginned up and administered by israel Firsters, is responsible. And now these crazy swine want a war with Iran, again for israel’s benefit. Doubt 800,000 refugees will encourage the Europeans to join us in more Middle East madness, tho.

  21. Kat Grey says:

    Europe is currently being invaded on a massive scale by young Muslim and African men of military age in order to create outbreaks of violence, social anarchy, civil unrest and even terrorist attacks that will neccessitate the implementation of a single EU army that will be used to enslave the European people. Heil Merkel.

  22. peterike says:
    @joe webb

    Spectacular comment, Joe Webb.

    • Replies: @joe webb
  23. Marian says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    It makes no sense to flee to the countries involved in the demise of yours. Logically those countries are your enemy. The fact most refugees appear to be healthy males should give somewhere in the west pause to consider the possibility of a Trojan horse invasion. However the ingrained bigotry of the enlightened prevents them from ever imagining intelligence in the object of their charity.

  24. Not to worry. It’s all part of the plan. The Military Industrial Congressional Complex needs to justify it’s continued existence and increased funding. What better way than to create civil war and very visible atrocities all over the Muslim world to scare the sheeple in the US and stampede them into supporting a US government that spends trillions of dollars on militarism while ignoring a rotting infrastructure and growing internal poverty.

    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.

    On the contrary, the US National Security State knew exactly what would happen even before Mowaffaq al-Rubaie warned them, and it was all part of the plan. That’s why the Bush Administration disbanded Iraq’s army and banned even the lowliest Ba’ath Party members from government work. That’s why they sent Colonel James Steele to Iraq to implement the “El Salvador option.”

    Originally conceived by Bernard Lewis as a traditional British plan to “divide and rule” an “arc of crisis” from Nigeria to Pakistan, the plan was adapted by Zbigniew Brzezinski as a means to sow discontent in the Muslim SSRs and Chechnya, thus weakening the USSR. Implementation began in the late ’70s, with covert support for the mujaheddin in Afghanistan. This is now acknowledged to have occurred 6 months before the Soviet effort to stabilize the situation by invading. At the same time, the US abandoned the Shah of Iran and attempted to forge an alliance with Ayatollah Khomeini, but was unsuccessful when the more angry elements of the revolution attacked the US embassy and took hostages, ushering in the current hostility between Iran and the US.

    While Brzezinski’s plan does not seem to have been very effective in splitting Central Asia from Russia and China, it did help to bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union and probably contributed to the civil war in Chechnya. However, another important effect was the establishment of a sectarian regime in Iran, the outbreak of war between Iran and Iraq (encouraged by Sunni elites in the Gulf fearful of their Shia underclass), and the opportunity to sell arms to both sides. With the collapse of the entire Warsaw Pact in 1989-90 and widespread talk of a “peace dividend” threatening the livelihood of the entire MIC, I recall much talk about an “arc of instability” stretching from Pakistan through northern Africa that might require continued or even increased military expenditures.

    However, before the US could deal with this “arc of instability,” it needed to deal with the “Vietnam syndrome.” Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait — to solve what April Glaspie had told him was an internal Arab problem in which the US government had little interest — gave Bush 41 the opportunity the MIC needed to dispel that syndrome by destroying Iraq’s Army. The US has been on a decidedly interventionist path ever since in Somalia, Sudan, the Balkans and culminating in Bush 43’s dumb war and Obama’s “smart” interventions in Libya, Yemen, Syria and Ukraine.

    These interventions of the last 35 years have never achieved America’s “exceptional” goals to quell instability, protect human rights or establish democracies, nor have they even achieved less widely published but avowed goals to protect the “international community’s” access to resources or establish US hegemony. Oil exports always fall during war, and nobody has control in places like Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan, Libya, Syria or Ukraine. On the contrary, our interventions and those of our allies have created failed states or civil war in all these countries. However, sane people do not repeat the same actions over and over expecting different results. Then why are these policies continued?

    US policies have done wonders to justify the institutional imperatives of the MIC: 1) profits for arms manufacturers and other military contractors, 2) career enhancement for military brass, civilian employees of the CIA, Pentagon, State Department, and militarist thinktanks, 3) blockbuster movies and sensational headlines to sell media (and also contribute to the necessary fear and jingoism), 4) pork for politicians and 5) attendant high paying jobs guaranteed by ITAR (International Traffick in Arms Regulations) for “US persons” that keep those employees loyal to the system. Thus, we see that these policies are wildly successful and will be continued until the US is totally isolated and the sheeple rebel.

    I might also add that Somalia,

    where the state collapsed in 1991 and has never been rebuilt

    actually had a brief month or two of stability under the Islamic Courts Union in 2007 until the US requested Ethiopia’s intervention under the pretext that there was one known al-Qaeda militant with little actual influence who was tolerated by the ICU.

    • Replies: @IMHO
    , @Astuteobservor II
  25. @joe webb

    Liberalism as a race- suicidal delusion . God protect us from do-gooders, Christians, and world citizens. Joe Webb

    Whenever I despair that there are *no* intelligent minds left, I find evidence that I’m not alone here on Unz. “It’s Obama,” cry the cuckservatives! “It’s Bush,” cry the liberals.

    Thanks Joe for your well thought and stated comment, especially the last two sentences. I can only hope you mean “God” in a editorial and unknowable agnostic sense, as it’s clearly the mindless herd chasing this “God” that’s gotten us here. Whether it’s Yahweh, Christ, the Trinity, Mohammed, or the socialists’ God of Diversity, the end result seems identical with the elimination of white people and independent pursuit of Truth.

    It’s probably too late for Civilization. We lacked the wisdom and fortitude to listen first to George Washington and two centuries later to Enoch Powell. Arabia and Africa should have been quarantined like the Sentinal Islanders – left to sort out their affairs without poisoning the rest of the world. The fanatic Christian missionaries perhaps let in to meddle, but never allowed to return and wreak their havoc back home. Now the damage is done and all that’s left is to watch the disgusting spectacle as castrated white men in Europe stand idly by while their wives and daughters are raped and they are dispossessed of their homes. Farewell Civilization.

    • Replies: @joe webb
  26. Miriam says:

    So, Cockburn: Hopefully you’ve read every comment and learned the real causes of “refugee crisis”.
    Journalist such as yourself are nothing more than mouth pieces for the imperialist, i.e. “international community”, “Western allies”, colonialists. There are too many informed,
    intelligent people who can not be deceived by shallow, more of the same, reporting

  27. Traveler says:
    @Kyle a

    Buy a brain. Buy two. Dumb american.

  28. Park says:

    Another insightful piece by Patrick Cockburn. The Crisis is the making of the West – may well be planned. It is part of a dual attack; on one part, the entire muddle east has been disintegrated, and, on the second part, Europe is being further pushed towards a state of chaos. Interesting!

    The post has been posted (linked back) at The News Scouter
    A News Aggregator for the News, Editorials, and Information Sorted and Categorized for Easy Read.

  29. The folks living in Africa and the Middle East have demonstrated repeatedly that they cannot run their own affairs, so now they are coming to the West to rule over us. Once they settle in they will start demanding the construction of more mosques and the imposition of Sharia law. The MSM tries to show every child they can, but in the background you see mostly young men. Soon to be angry young men. Watch and see.

    • Replies: @JoaoAlfaiate
    , @annamaria
  30. @joe webb


    “The spectacle of the little Syrian boy, with his little drowned feet and little brown shoes, and the girlies of Europe boo-hoo. And lost on these tearful fools is the reality that the little drowned brown boy would have grown up to be a rapist, or at best, a welfare cheat,, etc.”

    You slimy POS — your ass should first be banned from commenting on this, or any other, site!

    The Unz Review is a great political blog — name one that is better — but the preponderance of
    hate-spewing, sub-intellects that inhabit its comment sections will not have a positive impact
    on recruiting new readers.



    P.S. — All psychometric testing is BS as it cannot quantify imagination. The late Lenny Bruce had a measured IQ of 105, whereas the still alive and well Sharon Stone tested at 154. If IQ numbers mean anything, the aforementioned scores would be reversed.

    • Replies: @joe webb
  31. @Hannah Katz

    Really Mr. Katz? I don’t believe Iraq was a failed state until Uncle Sam’s israel centric Middle East policy, ginned up by israel Firsters like Wolfowitz, Feith, Libby, et alia removed Saddam from power, disbanded the Iraqi security forces and let the Iraqi state disintegrate.

  32. anon • Disclaimer says:


    There have always been wars and refugees move to the nearest safe place.

    What’s happening here is caused by an additional factor – a deliberate and concerted media pull factor is being used to get people to move to Europe.

    • Replies: @JoaoAlfaiate
  33. iffen says:

    Excellent writing Mr. Cockburn, keep up the good work.

  34. KFoy says:

    Great article, but no mention of the fact that most of the Syrian migrants into Europe are men, from the photos I’d reckon 75-80% are male. I reckon a lot of these ‘refugees’ are fleeing Assad’s war draft.

    Also people criticising Cockburn about not mentioning western intervention in Iraq war and its setting off Islam’s very own ’30 years war’, should note he has on many occasions wrote about the causal link between Syria, Isis and the Iraq war.

  35. @anon

    Are you suggesting that without the removal of President Hussein and the break up of Iraq and the Syrian civil war, ginned up in part and prolonged by israel’s friends in the USA, 800,ooo refugees would STILL be headed to Europe? How absurd.

  36. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    David and Goliath. Europe gonna fall like Goliath.


    Yes, yes, do everything to save the Queen but do nothing to save Britons from the invasion.


    Okay, one positive effect of the Muslim invasion. The pressure on women to stop dressing like whores.


    ‘You take em’. ‘No, you take em’.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  37. KA says:

    Somalia merits more attention . It demands more scrutiny . This country without a ” government ” for 14 yrs was slowly coming out of anarchy,violence,and disputes . But Bush government decided to attack this country purely out of the linguistic incompatibility . The language used by the parties involved in working out the process of further normalization and involved in offering a better future ( than even the contemporary Kenya,Ethiopia,and Uganda in 2006 ) did not resonate with Neocons under Bush . Bush didn’t like the word” Islamic” .
    So basically they destroyed the country and pushed it deeper into religious cauldron of violence as desired by the general intellectual tendency of the neocons .
    In addition, taking advantage of the absence of coast guard ,navy,or police force countries from Nordic Europe ,Holand,S Korea and Japan emptied the maritime resources . After grabbing the fishes and the fauna ,they also dumped the waste including radioactive materials of medical educational origin .

    That is the history of Somalia. Who did they use as local cops! Ethiopia and Kenya .

    • Replies: @KA
  38. KA says:

    Sources- Better off Stateless:
    Somalia Before and After Government Collapse
    Peter T Leeson
    Dept of Economics
    West Virgina University .

  39. KA says:

    Obama leads his coalition of Arab tyrants into another losing, Islamist-boosting war
    By MIKE | Published: SEPTEMBER 23, 2014

    Michael Scheuer

    Syria is the driving force behind this refugee surge. Syria was coming under the attack from day one after 3/2003 by Zionist . They killed Harriri. They started war Lebanon and weakened Syria . They started air and ground incursion against Syria. Then they started agitation .Soon they were training future IS calling them pro gay,pro liberty,pro freedom pro western pro woman,pro business wonderful human beings . Same time Assad was depicted entirely opposite and destabilizing agent of terrorism .
    I don’t support Assad. I did nt support Cheney . I will not support foreign intervention against Syria. I wouldn’t have supported foreign intervention against Cheney’s America.

    If tomorrow US loses it militar power ,loses police forces and the border forces It will like exactly like Syria . The intellectuals from east coast and the middle class still left in American heartland would start looking for new shore . In addition ethnic violence will seize the nation.

  40. Mack0 says:
    @Bill Jones

    “fantasyland of the worlds most vicious murderous slave owners supposed to last forever?”

    I assume youre talking about Muslims here. The description is accurate.

  41. Daniel H says:

    The world was a better place when Saddam Hussein was in power. The world was a better place when Gadaffi was in power. The world was a better place when Assad had a firm grip on Syria. Who destabilized these three nations?

    And Hillary and the neo-Cons did their damnedest to overthrow secular military rule in Egypt. Imagine if Egypt had gone full-blown Jihadi? What we are seeing now with ISIS and swarming refugees would have been a prelude to unprecedented slaughter and chaos with the attendant mass migration on a scale that is an order of magnitude greater than now. And yet this wretched woman stands a good chance of being the next president of the United States. Heaven help this world.

  42. joe webb says:

    thanks Stan…I do use it in the agnostic sense. God or Nature…I often use. thanks.

  43. joe webb says:
    @John Q. Parvenu

    John parvenu, living up to your namesake. If you have not got an argument, just ad hominem the thing…that should do it.

    Not only do IQ tests work for determining who should be in what kind of college and what kind of job…on the intellectual side of course, we even know now which biological parents contribute the most heritable share of IQ.

    For boys, the major contribution is from the mother and for girls, both parents contribute about equally.

    We also know about physical maturation with regard to the infant’s ability to hold its head up unassisted. It is time related, the later the infant can do so, the smarter the kid will be. Ditto, dental eruption, when the crawler starts to walk (toddler), age of puberty onset, and even age of death.

    The smarter the race, the later these developmental stages occur. I admit that I extrapolate from race data to individuals, but in checking around with folks, I find a high correlation at the individual level.

    Blacks go into puberty a full year before whites. One of the reasons for the ever descending age of menstruation in girls is all the third world dummies we now have.

    Btw, Hernstein and Murray…The Bell Curve…if I dare use the word ‘deconstruct’ without being accused of being a leftie, although I was one once upon a time…they analyzed hundreds of studies and programs of Black Uplift and found that the only thing that determined success for blacks was and is IQ. Such a deal.

    The only explanation for falling IQ all over the world as one goes South, is the Ice Age and survival of the smartest when living under snow and ice conditions. There was no Ice Age in the Global South. Hence IQ tracks latitude, except for Amerindians who are all about the same…about 83 (except the Inuit who are at 92, probably for similar reasons of living with ice and snow for several thousand years now) and the Jews who have smartened up over the centuries probably cuz of rabbis marrying the merchants’ daughters and having many kids…that is the only thing that anybody has come up with as an explanation. Jewish IQ seems to be 110 for the askenazis while Arab jews are almost as dumb as Arabs, maybe 98 and 84 repectively.’

    So parvenu, try coming up with an argument, it will sharpen your wits, which can use some help.

    Joe Webb

  44. joe webb says:
    @Stan D Mute

    STAN, I lost my comment to you…so here goes another one. Thanks,

    and I am now calling the liberal men transgendered wymyn, or pussies. They have sold their testes to The System. They are serfs, as most of us are these days when having a job requires one to keep one’s mouth shut, and one’s brain hostage to jews, white liberals, etc.

    Jeffersonian Democracy wherein one was one’s own boss…and so on.


  45. joe webb says:

    Mojo…as in magical thinking?

    I just lost my response to you and do not feel like going over it again. However, yours is just another leftie argument sans any realistic recognition of what is in the news every day…race war, nationalism, and religious war.

    Disraeli: Race is Everything, and this after he converted to Christianity. The countries you name as designated to be absorbed by the New World Order, , etc. all have national IQs at 84 and 83. None of these ‘countries’ is worth bombing much less picking up as loss-leaders in the international money games.

    Serbia and Clinton was another story. 1, it was to punish Serbian Socialism, and 2, it was a sop thrown to the muzzies…Albanians, middle east and European muzzies…see we luv you guys even when you chop up your women’s privates. Clinton was not judgmental.

    Robert Fisk reports being on a bus in Pakistan and getting accused of being Prez. Bush. He was assaulted and fought his way off the bus.

    These people are so stupid and so violent…forget it and forget your left-wing sappiness about turd world exploited people of color, New World Orderism, and so on.

    Of course there is an International Capitalist Juggernaut, a natural outgrowth of economic history.
    This is not news, and is important, but it is secondary , or of third rate importance compared to Race Struggle. Whatever happened to Class Struggle for the Left?. Forgot about it in your rush to save the Wretcheds of the Earth and abandon working White folks. Holy Negroes and White Racists! is the battle-whine of the Left today. It has abandoned its historic mission of championing white workers against Capital. Betrayal linked to transgendered liberal ex-males.

    Class struggle is returning in White lands…with the capitalists grabbing all the dough, but race will remain first.

    Joe Webb

  46. IMHO says:

    The most insightful, intelligent and informative comment yet. Much appreciated!

  47. @anti_republocrat

    This is great imo. almost article level.

  48. annamaria says:
    @Hannah Katz

    “The folks living in Africa and the Middle East have demonstrated repeatedly that they cannot run their own affairs”
    There have been North African and Middle Eastern states with the thousands of years of recorded history, unlike the puny 2 hundred years of the ancient state of Israel and some 60 years of the artificial abnormality with the same name, which has been surviving thanks to intrigues of the banking houses and which is currently on a homicidal path of subjugating the “unworthy.”
    What about synagogues that are everywhere in NYC and other big centers in the US and Europe? There are Jewish quarters in Brooklyn where men are walking in ridiculous garb and women put wigs on their shaved heads, and where the parents are surrounded by too many children by the western standards. You imply that the voice of God (the Christian one, supposedly) that inspired Bush the Lesser to initiate the illegal war in Iraq and the Jewish law that is applied to the helpless Palestinian families are superior to Sharia law. It would be much better is the US and EU minded their business and did not create this humongous display of human misery on the Middle East and Mediterranean shores. Too many too powerful Israel-firsters has been detrimental for the humanity.

  49. joe webb says:

    Ahhhh….Annamarina the self-hating jew, which is good for getting your psychological house in order, and of course Bad for the Jews, but they can take care of themselves, sort of.. for now.

    I defend the Arabs but only in the Palestine context, etc. They are stupid (average IQ at about 84 ), impulsive, often violent, etc. and cut their women’s clits off and god knows what else, marry first cousins which helps their stupidity, etc.

    An old girlfriend who was a flight attendant, used to say the Israelis were the worst to deal with. Then she started flying out of one of the Arab hubs, and she then shifted to the Arabs being the worst…especially with regard to sexual abuse.

    Arabs here like rap music, the noise from hell….similar IQs to US blacks at 85 average.

    This does not mean they have to be enemies. Just keep them at home. And send the 50 million muzzies back to wherever they came from…. Out of Europe.

    The Oriental Despotism is complete which is not to say that every single Arab is thereby sullied. That is what Bell Curves are for, to explain relatively anomalous behavior in specially smart people, like Edward Said the Palestinian scholar. The top 5 per cent of any relatively stupid and rough group can match civilized behavior of Whites. Whether there are , amongst Jews, any 5 percent from any portion of the bell curve that can claim to be civilized, is not clear to me.

    Civilized means a live and let live position. It does not mean to allow your home or country to be overrun by strangers, thugs, and very stupid people like Black Africans whose average 67 IQ….same as Haiti, assures that zero improvement in anything is possible, except maybe soccer and the like.

    Joe Webb

    • Replies: @annamaria
    , @annamaria
  50. annamaria says:
    @joe webb

    This is a paper with a trove of links from Saker – uncontaminated by MSM:
    The intro includes the following, “Richard Perle’s “creative destruction” agenda to reshape the Middle East, starting with the invasion of Iraq, is coming along very nicely. Half of the ME has been destroyed.”
    Your song of glory for the white men did not take into consideration the large swaths of the US, where people believe that Adam and Eve rode dinosaurs. I do agree that sub-Saharan infusion is problematic. As for the Arabs, there are books that could help you to learn about their considerable contribution to Western civilization.

  51. annamaria says:
    @joe webb

    And who would believe that the Middle East policies by the US have been designed and applied to practice by (at least) moderately intelligent people? Do these “successes” look like great achievements of some great civilization? “Tomgram: Nick Turse, Nothing Succeeds Like Failure:”

    “Civilized means a live and let live position. It does not mean to allow your home or country to be overrun by strangers, thugs, and very stupid people…” You are correct.

    • Replies: @joe webb
  52. joe webb says:

    Annamarina….dunno what you are complaining about. All people have warts. When you start counting the warts, you will find that Whites have the fewest.

    AS far as the Sacker is concerned, he is a liberal/sorta christian and love MLK. I have emailed with him and found out that he Loves Humanity.

    He is a liberal fool, although not as foolish as many liberal fools.

    He is right about the neocons however, but largely for the wrong reasons, ditto Israel. He is an apologist for Russia, which is not that big a deal for me, but his Anglo-Zionist obsession is comic.

    He is one of those types that like to find The Evil One …finally.

    My position is that there are no evil ones, just, at worst, psychopaths, who it is best to kill off, and then the normal run-of-the-mill loopy Humanitarians, Do -Gooders, and then the worse types, like the chinks and the jews, who do not know when it is time to back-off. This includes most of the Third World types, domestic and foreign, as well , but they are easier to spot with their hands out and their lips moving rapidly …. full of sound and fury…signifying not much but keep an eye on them, and of course, when they arrive on White shores with their begging bowls and bitching rhetoric, throw then out.

    Since I try to bring a little levity to matters…google Joe Webb and Uncle Sam, my act of a few years ago, slicing up the neocons and Israel first and lasters. This was in the early 2000s in SF Bay Area. I also pretty much single-handedly exposed the local jew-commie trots…ANSWER…as bait/switch bag -men for Israel, keep the white folks Distracted, Deceived (oil war thesis), and
    always barking up the wrong tree.

    Look for my main sign as Uncle Sam (in costume) “I want you to die for Israel..” and “Israel sings Onward Christian Soldiers.”

    I hear about “books” that claim accomplishments from the Arabs. First, the Alexandrian library was collected by Greeks not Arabs, and then what?

    Count the inventions, both human and technical that have NOT been invented by whites, and virtually all by white men, and please no boo-hoos from the ladies. Your list will ultra short.
    PS, anybody (think sacker) who plays “communists and nazis ” in Ukraine is a liar. Not that Jews are not fascists, as they are, but I do not hold that against them, I hold Theft of Palestine, and World War 3 Starters against them.

    My best, Joe Webb

  53. joe webb says:

    Annamarina, I forgot the little sidebar of arabs, muzzies, and Africans cutting off the clitori of their gals…O and their daughters as well, show and tell with Dad and Mom.

    This is perhaps going a little far, especially when the males of these folks are about the randiest of men…and do not forget almost totally constituting the rapists in Scandinavia and giving other Europeans gals a little danger to excite them. Boring old white guys.

    Joe Webb

  54. joe webb says:

    O yeah…the Middle East policies we all know were designed by jews…Project for a new american century..etc. book on this by Steve Sniegoski.

    Good old Wolfoblitz, Feith and the gang of 17 or so dual-citizens outsmarting the DC goyim. Of course, the main reason, lost on most folks as to why the Jews got so much Power here, is Protestantism’s romance with the OT, the warrior god Jehovah, and da jews, and whom our Puritans thought the Amerindians to be of the lost tribes of same.

    YEs we are goofy, but not even close to everybody else.

    Jews Believe in Heaven on Earth, a heresy, but of course one that caters to chosen people nut-cases. Protestants are nut cases, far more than Catholics, and they brought us Abolition, John Brown, The Civil War, probably WW1m and the Exceptional Country…like their totem, Israel.

    I hear you saying that I think Whites are the chosen people. Nobody chose us, we just evolved under special circumstances that produced the best all-round race on the planet. When we are gone, it is back to the swamp…North Korea and Africa witch’s pot of anti-Humanity.

    Joe WEbb

  55. iffen says:

    Where are the immigrants getting the money to pay the Hungarians to help create world wide sympathy for their plight?

  56. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Priss Factor

    ‘You take em’. ‘No, you take em’.

    A few days before that decree was to come into force, 17,000 German Jews that were or could be considered to be citizens of Poland were rounded up and unceremoniously dumped on the Polish border at Zbąszyń and other border towns. The Polish government in turn refused to admit those of them who did not hold valid Polish passports. The Polish authorities hoped that the concentration of large numbers of Jews expelled from Germany near the border would exert pressure on the Germans and induce them to begin negotiations to hasten the return of the Jews back to their former homes. As a result, thousands of Jews were stuck on the border in makeshift facilities for several days or weeks in appalling conditions.

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