The Agony of ‘Regime Change’ Refugees

Exclusive: There are positive signs of Syrians returning to Aleppo after the ouster of Al Qaeda’s militants. But the legacy of Western “regime change” wars continues to plague Europe and inflict human suffering, writes Andrew Spannaus.

By Andrew Spannaus

European nations have been thrown into a political crisis by the hundreds of thousands of migrants coming north from the Middle East and Africa. The number has grown in recent years, due to a mix of wars and poverty, resulting in a visible increase of the influx of foreigners across Europe, and a popular backlash that has political institutions scrambling to find a way to stem the flow and lessen the sense of emergency.

Syrian women and children refugees at Budapest railway station. (Photo from Wikipedia)

The problem is that the causes of the mass migration have deep roots that cannot be solved in the short-term; and even a medium- to long-term solution will require serious changes in foreign and economic policy for the entire Western world.

In September 2015, as the number of refugees from Syria increased due to the ongoing military conflict there, German Chancellor Angela Merkel made a surprising announcement. Going against the grain of public opinion, in which anti-immigrant sentiment seemed to be rising rapidly, Merkel announced that her country would open its doors and accept hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers. Germany already has a large number of recent immigrants among its population, and the view was that a wealthy country with a population of over 80 million could certainly do its part to deal with the humanitarian crisis enveloping the Middle East.

The open attitude didn’t last long. In March 2016, Germany played a key role in reaching a deal with President Erdogan of Turkey, who in exchange for billions of euros, essentially closed the land route towards Europe through the Balkans. As a result, only the sea routes remained, with departures principally from Turkey, Egypt and Libya, making Greece and Italy the primary entry points to Europe. The routes have been further reduced over the past year, with the vast majority of departures currently originating in Libya.

Italy at Forefront

This has meant that in 2017 over 85 percent of total migrants headed towards Europe have arrived in Italy, a country that has led efforts to rescue people risking death in the Mediterranean in recent years. There have been ongoing negotiations with other European nations to relocate the migrants that are taken to Italian ports and lessen the burden on the country of entry, but the number of migrants relocated has been only a small portion of those that arrive.

Ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi shortly before he was murdered on Oct. 20, 2011.

As a result Italy, which is not particularly efficient in managing the new arrivals despite making significant strides in recent years, feels left alone to deal with a crisis that is straining its resources. One of the side effects is a palpable shift in public attitudes in this Catholic country, from openness to help those in need, to a feeling that the situation is out of control and that the identity of Europe is under threat from the constant influx of migrants from different cultures.

The Italian government is attempting to find a technical solution to reduce the flow across the sea, which includes negotiations with the various factions in Libya, a new code of conduct for NGOs working in the area, and tightening the rules for bringing migrants to Italian ports.

All of these measures address only the last link in the chain of migration from the Middle East and Africa though, and even if they were to succeed, would only block the flow from Libya – where migrants suffer horrendous conditions, including torture – while human traffickers would seek new routes to get around the obstacles put up by European governments.

The Larger Issue

The deeper problem to address is the causes of the migrant crisis. This requires taking a step backwards, to understand how the current situation was created. The first issue is that of Libya itself, a country without any effective centralized control, ruled over by rival factions that are unable or unwilling to stop the numerous human trafficking networks from taking money from desperate migrants and putting them on rafts pointed towards Italy, where they will either be rescued by naval forces or NGOs, or die along the way.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before Congress on Jan. 23, 2013, about the fatal attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11. 2012. (Photo from C-SPAN coverage)

The prime responsibility for the Libyan chaos lies in Paris, London and Washington. The goal of overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi had been present for decades in Western capitals, but it was not until 2011 – under the cover of the “Arab Spring” – that the French government in particular began to organize the effort to overthrow him, and gain economic and strategic advantages for itself in Northern Africa as a result.

The French had already prepared the attack as they encouraged U.S. President Barack Obama to join the “humanitarian” war that was intended to save the opposition from being massacred by Gaddafi. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton headed up the pro-intervention faction in the Obama Administration to the point that the Libyan campaign became known to many as “Hillary’s War.”

Upon learning of Gaddafi’s brutal murder, Clinton paraphrased Julius Caesar declaring: “We came, we saw, he died.” The result though, rather than being a triumph of democracy, has been a decent into chaos, that among other things has allowed the country to become a key gathering point for terrorist groups such as ISIS.

‘Regime Change’ Chaos

The Libyan chaos, the most immediate hindrance to stopping the flow of migrants to Europe at this moment, leads to the larger issue of Western policy regarding terrorism and the Middle East in general. The series of “regime change” wars in recent years have reflected the goal of using terrorist networks for the West’s strategic advantage, while ignoring the long-term effects of this tactic. The support for the Mujahidin in Afghanistan in the 1980s, in an attempt to weaken the Soviet Union, led directly to the rise of Osama bin-Laden and Al Qaeda in the 1990s.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive to the Murabba Palace, escorted by Saudi King Salman on May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to attend a banquet in their honor. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The financial backing given to Sunni extremism, provided in particular by allies such as Saudi Arabia, spawned the terrorist groups that today target the West. From the war in Iraq to support for the most extreme anti-Assad groups in Syria, the United States and other Western powers have had a major hand in creating the very problem they are scrambling to deal with today.

The Obama Administration began a timid shift away from “regime change,” with the decision not to bomb Syria in 2013, and rather to seek cooperation with Russia. The attempt to rebalance U.S. interests in the Middle East was also reflected in the nuclear deal reached with Iran. The effort ultimately proved to be too little, too late though, as large sections of the institutions resisted the shift and Obama himself essentially ran out of time; by the end of his term he had succumbed to the pressure to maintain a hostile position towards Russia, and failed to define a new strategic orientation towards the Middle East.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the policies of regime change and is moving forward on cooperation with Russia in Syria, despite the bombing of a Syrian air base in April in response to dubious claims of a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government. Yet he has also toed the traditional pro-Saudi, anti-Iran line in the Middle East in general, making it seem doubtful that he is willing, or even able, to actually change U.S. policy in the region. As of now, the conflicts are far from being over, and from this perspective, it becomes clear that no short-term solutions are on the horizon.

An even broader issue is that of development, as economic conditions are once again overtaking political unrest as the main driver of migration. There has been talk recently of a European Plan for Africa, to spur economic development and remove the root causes that drive people to leave their homes and families despite the potential dangers. The reality though, is that the discussion still revolves around the type of limited initiatives that are all too similar to the programs of the International Monetary Fund, focused on improving the climate for private investment and other “structural reforms.”

Some of the goals may be laudable, but the approach is a far cry from that of the Marshall Plan for Europe after World War II – which is often thrown around as a precedent when new plans are announced – that involved large amounts of public investment in rebuilding industrial capacity.

On this front as well, Western nations seem unable to recognize their own mistakes and contribution to the poverty in Africa that is driving a decades-long humanitarian crisis, that has now become an urgent political crisis for much of Europe as well.

Andrew Spannaus is a freelance journalist and strategic analyst based in Milan, Italy. He is the founder of, that provides news, analysis and consulting to Italian institutions and businesses. He has published the books “Perché vince Trump” (Why Trump is Winning – June 2016) and “La rivolta degli elettori” (The Revolt of the Voters – July 2017).

50 comments for “The Agony of ‘Regime Change’ Refugees

  1. Zegay andu
    August 19, 2017 at 09:58

    The only solution is all europian and america(western countries) send back whete they come from or to their country without asking a cingle caution.

  2. Susan Sunflower
    August 17, 2017 at 21:35

    UNHCR seeing significant returns of internally displaced amid Syria’s continuing conflict
    This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.
    30 June 2017 | Français | ????
    ___________________________ (same date)
    _________________________________ (same date)

    August 14 — Guardian

    More than 3,000 refugees and militants have crossed the Lebanese border into Syria in the second phase of a repatriation that aid groups say lacks transparency and offers few guarantees about the returnees’ welfare.

    The returnees, among them up to 350 militants who had lived near the Lebanese border town of Arsal, were escorted on Monday by Hezbollah, the powerful armed group based in Lebanon, to nearby towns in Syria’s Qalamoun region. It followed a transfer earlier this month of more than 7,000 refugees, fighters and their families to Idlib province in northern Syria, which is largely controlled by al-Qaida-inspired groups.

    oh, and then there’s this
    Reuters: Exclusive: U.S. forces to stay in Syria for decades, say militia allies

    AIN ISSA, Syria (Reuters) – Washington’s main Syrian ally in the fight against Islamic State says the U.S. military will remain in northern Syria long after the jihadists are defeated, predicting enduring ties with the Kurdish-dominated region.

    The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of militias dominated by the Kurdish YPG, believes the United States has a “strategic interest” in staying on, SDF spokesman Talal Silo told Reuters.

    yup, it’s the Kurds …

    • Zachary Smith
      August 18, 2017 at 00:29

      My personal BS detector didn’t go off while reading the essay, so it didn’t occur to me to check on the author. But I did click on your link here.

      The article is clearly part of a propaganda offensive by Assad’s supporters to make it look like refugees are streaming back to Syria now that his missiles, barrel bombs, Sarin gas, heavy artillery, slaughter of prisoners, starvation sieges, etc. have driven rebels from areas where they once enjoyed majority support.

      So was this essay just a propaganda thing? I made another search with the keywords “refugees” “return” “to” “syria”. Resulting headlines:

      “Syria war: Almost 500,000 refugees return in 2017”

      “Can refugees return to Syria, as many want them to?”

      “Thousands of Syrian refugees returning to unsafe country amid lack”

      “Refugees return to Syria from Lebanon in Hezbollah-mediated deal”

      There were many more. So what do you suggest is happening? 94-year-old Lyndon LaRouche has instructed his loyal flunky to ….. what? Repeat the same thing on Consortium News as is being seen everywhere else?

  3. August 17, 2017 at 13:52

    How appropriate that Robert Parry would publish an article by Andrew Spannaus who has been associated with Lyndon LaRouche since 1969.

  4. Susan Sunflower
    August 17, 2017 at 11:21

    It should be mentioned that not only were many migrants fleeing existant conflicts,
    “the migrant crisis” was freely blamed on “the failure of western powers to intervene” in both Syria (against Assad) and in Syraq (against ISIS) … they became a neocon cats paw and a cause celebre.

    Often accepted without comment was the relative affluence of many of those migrants paying $2-3000 a piece for passage on those dangerously overcrowded boats, some part of “human smuggling” packages that promised delivery to Euope’s doorstep via an inside Schengen trainstation or other terminal.

    Folks who were found in-transit were not the impoverished who had ALREADY lost everything … they were stuck in the camps in Lebanon and Turkey or along the Syrian border. It was those with dwindling resources who felt pressed to “make a run for the border” … while they still had the funds to do so… or at least had the funds to send a healthy-male who, once settled and employed, could be an anchor for reuniting the family (probably, although never mentioned that I saw — oddly — was the possibliity that they would be sending money to their family at home to tide them over another year of anarchy and scarcity.)

    I have read that the “crisis” was manufactured, a tipping point was created for the masses, in Turkey– which wanted to be paid for hosting what I think was 6 million souls — negotiations being fraught with mistrust and stinginess. Erdogan always being a two-faced Janus with ulterior motives having nothing to do with “good of his people” … He’s still standing after America invested over 20 years in trying to gain control of the Baltic (thwarting Russia) by courting Turkey. Nuf.

    The “mass exodus” almost certainly could have been prevented … the 3 million Iraqi and 4-6 million Afghans in limbo in the region pre-existed 2011 Arab Spring, Libya and the Syrian attempted regime change.

  5. Michael Kenny
    August 17, 2017 at 10:25

    Tha author doesn’t really say very much. He just rakes over old coals. I was intrigued, however, by his claim that Trump “is moving forward on cooperation with Russia in Syria”. I’d love to know what he means and on what he bases his conclusion. His specific reference to Syria suggests that he doesn’t beleive that Trump is moving forward on cooperation with Russia in the “main arena”, so to speak: Ukraine. However, Syria cannot be separated from Ukraine and the “hostile position towards Russia” to which he refers stems from Putin’s actions in Ukraine. I thus don’t see how there can be any serious US-Russian co-operation in Syria without a settlement in Ukraine that Ukrainians find acceptable.

  6. Herman
    August 17, 2017 at 08:55

    We destroyed Germany in World War II, which created jobs in America, then we rebuilt it with the Marshall Plan which helped our economy change to a “peace” economy. We know that rebuilding Germany was not about compassion and among the reasons, seldom mentioned, that its buy American features helped transition our economy. So, let us do the same for the countries we destroyed in the Middle East and create a place where refugees can go home again. This philosophy could also apply to Latin America where a rational immigration policy could include a policy of creating jobs where people now live or want to live. We need to keep in mind that people do not want to leave their homes, their communities, their cultures.

  7. josephrou
    August 17, 2017 at 08:37

    As I was listening to our national propaganda network, CBC/Radio-Canada, all the talk about Syria is the US “coalition” bombing of Raqqa. Not a single word about the gains made by the Syrian army and her allies. Lets face it, Russia (mostly) save Syria from the jihadists take over and help counter the exodus of refuges to Europe. Their victory will have a lot of them returning home.

    What a disgusting action by the US and his puppets. They should have to pay for the reconstruction of Syria, Libya, Iraq and compensation to the families of the millions dead. Sadly, it will never happen but history will remember the true murderers.

  8. backwardsevolution
    August 17, 2017 at 08:21

    This is from Thierry Meyssan (May, 2016):

    “…the majority of the 2.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkey have been integrated into the local economy, to the extent that less than 240,000 have been placed under the protection of the World Food Programme. […] On the 1st July 2015, the special representative of the UN General Secretary charged with international migrations, Peter Sutherland, forced the World Food Programme to diminish aid for Syrian refugees, making survival difficult for approximately 240,000 of those living in Turkey.”

    He forced aid to be cut back. Why would he do that? Did he want these refugees to flee to Europe? “German heavy industry, around its President Ulrich Grillo, who hoped he would benefit from 800,000 new workers at minimal cost.”

    “The migration networks were organised not to bring Syrian refugees from Turkey to Europe, but to go and take Syrians from their homes in Syria and bring them to Europe. Rumours were spread which spoke of luxurious living conditions for Syrian refugees in Europe – a special airline was opened from Beirut, and a maritime line from Tripoli, to transport Syrians who were not refugees to Izmir. In the space of a few weeks, we saw middle-class citizens from Damascus and Latakia – who have always supported the Syrian Arab Republic – sell their businesses and take the road to exile.”

    When Syria finally has her country back, the West should be held accountable. The war criminals need to be jailed and the country must be rebuilt. The Clinton’s, Bush’s, Obama’s, Cheney’s need to have their properties sold to help pay for it.

    Someone mentioned that Germany, France, Italy and the U.K. all have leaders who are childless. Wow! I would think this would make a big difference in the decisions they make.

  9. backwardsevolution
    August 17, 2017 at 07:57

    Andrew Spannaus – good article. “There has been talk recently of a European Plan for Africa, to spur economic development and remove the root causes that drive people to leave their homes and families despite the potential dangers.”

    The West has done a lot of harm to Africa (stealing resources, overthrowing governments, working with dictators), but it has also done some good: better medical care, food aid, education. This has allowed Africa to increase its population and it is now exploding. Nigeria will surpass the United States in population by the year 2050. Nigeria! The world population is expected to increase to approximately 10 billion by 2100, and half of this growth will come from Africa and a good deal from Asia.

    We talk about climate change, degradation of soil, acidification of oceans, pollution of rivers, depletion of water supplies and in the next breath we worry about providing jobs for a population that is exploding. When the hazards of perpetual growth are brought up, silence is most often the sound that’s heard. Everybody gets busy talking about reducing CO2, but very few talk about over-population.

    Humans have the ability to think, reason, use logic. We can either hug a puppy and wear blinders or we can open our eyes and get serious.

  10. backwardsevolution
    August 17, 2017 at 05:54

    Look at what Sarkozy of France and Cameron of the U.K. were doing even BEFORE Gaddafi was murdered – they were in Libya talking to Libya’s National Transitional Council (who, with help from France, U.K., U.S. and other NATO countries, murdered Gaddafi). They were in Libya trying to secure contracts for their countries’ oil companies. From Hillary’s leaked emails:

    “During mid-September 2011 French President Nicolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron traveled to Tripoli to meet with and express support for the leaders of the new government of Libya under the National Transitional Council (NTC). According to knowledgeable individuals, as part of this effort, the two leaders, in private conversations, also intend to press the leaders of the NTC to reward their early support for the rebellion against Muammar al Qaddafi.

    Sarkozy and Cameron expect this recognition to be tangible, in the form of favorable contracts for French and British energy companies looking to play a major role in the Libyan oil industry. According to this source, Sarkozy feels, quite strongly, that without French support there would have been no revolution and that the NTC government must demonstrate that it realizes this fact. […]

    At the same time, this source indicates that the government of France is carrying out a concerted program of private and public diplomacy to press the new/transitional government of Libya to reserve as much as 35% of Libya’s oil related industry for French firms, particularly the major French energy company TOTAL.”

    So France wanted an agreement for 35% of Libya’s oil in exchange for Gaddafi’s head!

  11. backwardsevolution
    August 17, 2017 at 05:40

    From September, 2015:

    “Millions of refugees storming European borders have definitely come as a surprise to Western politicians. They would not have, if the West only listened to what Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi said months before he was brutally executed.

    In fact, some of these people would not be seeking shelter in Europe if their homes were not destroyed as a result of short-sited aggressive Western policies.

    In March 2011, Gaddafi warned that without unified and stable Libya there would be no one to control countless migrants from Africa and the Middle East from fleeing to Europe. Unlike Western leaders, he apparently understood that millions, not thousands will come, should Tripoli fall.

    “There are millions of blacks who could come to the Mediterranean to cross to France and Italy, and Libya plays a role in security in the Mediterranean,” he told the France 24 television station.

    Gaddafi’s son Saif, once considered the heir apparent and now on death row awaiting execution, echoed the sentiment in the same interview.

    “Libya may become the Somalia of North Africa, of the Mediterranean. You will see the pirates in Sicily, in Crete, in Lampedusa. You will see millions of illegal immigrants. The terror will be next door,” he noted.

    Another quote, attributed to Gaddafi, paints a vivid picture of what the late colonel expected to happen: “The Mediterranean will become a sea of chaos.”

    • Virginia
      August 17, 2017 at 12:25

      Back, Thanks for your posts and wisdom. You wrote, “Gaddafi’s son Saif, once considered the heir apparent and now on death row awaiting execution, …” I read a couple of months ago that after 5 years in prison, Saif is now free, but no one knows where he is. I’m not sure if that is correct. He’s a very well educated and impressive man (my opinion based on interview I saw him give before his father was killed, his brother and home already taken out). If he is still alive and well and free, I’m sure he’s working behind the scenes for the good of his country. He showed much faith in Libya and it’s people.

      • backwardsevolution
        August 18, 2017 at 02:20

        Virginia – thanks for the info. I hope he can eventually help his country again, and I’m just glad he wasn’t executed! I was furious when they took out Gaddafi. Butchers, all of them!

  12. backwardsevolution
    August 17, 2017 at 05:34

    Gaddafi warned the West that if he was taken out, Europe would be inundated with migrants. They took him out, and this is exactly what happened. This is from February of 2011:

    “The collapse of Colonel Gaddafi’s regime could result in a tidal wave of refugees and illegal immigrants pouring into Europe, EU ministers were warned on Monday night.

    Officials in Brussels believe as many as 750,000 refugees could attempt to make their way across the Mediterranean into southern Europe if the Gaddafi regime collapses.

    But Libyan estimates put the figure as high as two million, with vast numbers of sub-Saharan illegal immigrants seizing the opportunity to use the lawless country as a gateway to Europe.

    Gaddafi had earlier threatened to withdraw border and coastal patrols, warning that “Europe will become black” if he ceases co-operation over immigration.”

    It’s not that Gaddafi didn’t warn them.

  13. August 17, 2017 at 05:26

    Outstanding, sir. This is one of my major causes. Attached, my recent article

  14. Robbin Milne
    August 17, 2017 at 03:15

    I am from CA and another friend in NY is not able to post this, why is it allowed to be posted on FBook in Canada, but not the USA? Please find out why FBook is censoring.

  15. Susan Sunflower
    August 16, 2017 at 22:45

    Left out of this story is that in the Fall of 2015, many refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, etc. were facing another winter with promises of again further cuts in rations and aid. Many Syrians had been in camps (internal or external) for a couple years by then; the Afghans and “others” … including probably a million or more Iraqis had been in camps even longer … there was no sign that any of the precipitating conflicts might ends, and anyone would be able to “go home” anytime soon … Children had a missed a year or two or three of school. It was time to face facts and find some place to settle down and let the children get on with their childhood and for the young adults to also resume their studies and pursue their dreams.

    Too many Americans and Europeans apparently cannot believe in “how ya gonna keep them down on the farm” fashion, that Muslim/Arab/African migrants are not seeking to become affluent Europeans, when many are just trying to keep body and soul together (including millions of African migrants fleeing conflicts and/or just extreme deprivation).

    Part of the “crisis” was this assumption that the migrants would be resetting, like humane society pets, into some new “forever home” … even though, when asked, many — even most — wanted to “go home” to be part of the rebuilding of their country, to rejoin or recreate their extended family ..

    Merkel — against any number of smug dire predictions, appears very likely to be reelected, perhaps being reembraced in the shadow or Trump, May and LePen … I remember the pride Germans took in renouncing their racist extremists … I think repeating Merkel’s words, they said, “That’s not who we are” … If only Americans had leaders who asked us to tap into what “we are” in which so many take such pride… or is that somenow now entirely past-tense.

    • mike k
      August 17, 2017 at 07:24

      Thanks Susan. We tend to look away from these millions of our suffering sisters and brothers, that America is primarily responsible for.

    • Dave P.
      August 17, 2017 at 13:40

      Susan, This whole Tragedy, and this immense death, destruction, and suffering which is going on in ME and elsewhere is the creation of The West, the Imperialist Nations with colonies and economic plunder that went along with it for centuries. Starting with India in 1947, all these Asian and African countries got freedom. Africa is very rich in minerals wealth. The new Nationalist leaders like Patrice Lumbumba in Congo, Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana, wanted to nationalize their resources, like Mossadegh did in Iran in 1953. They were all overthrown by The West with the help of CIA, and Lumbumba killed. And the Chaos is still going on in Congo and elsewhere in Africa after half a century now.

      Those newly independent Countries needed help in education, industries but the the European Nations and USA wanted plunder of those countries continued the way it was under the Companies owned by them. The story of much of Central and South America is similar as well.

      These problems, Al Queda and other Terrorists have been created by The West, in complicity with K.S.A. and Gulf states. The West is still not much suffering from it as yet; here in U.S.A., we are safe with two oceans. The real suffering is taking place in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq. With refugees at their doors, Europe is finally beginning to realize their part in it. But, would they own their misdeeds, and change their policies? I do not think so. It is a dismal critique of the situation. But that is how it is.

      U.S.A. and is rich but run by the Oligarch class. They want to run the whole World. Europe, very rich, is also going in that direction, run by small Oligarchy. There is going to be conflict coming in Europe itself in Ukraine. Starting with Reagan, Bushes, Clintons, and Obama; they are all responsible for this death and destruction, tragedies and conflict in the World.

      And the enemy we are told day and night is Russia. That is how far we are from the Truth!

      • Susan Sunflower
        August 17, 2017 at 14:29

        I have been fascinated watching the “demonization” of Merkel in this story … She was in a rock-v.-hardplace situation, where if germany slammed shut its borders, the rest of the EU could and would follow suit, leaving in real danger around 2 million in-transit already in Europe migrants .. it was not some saintly “humanitarian” gesture, pragmatically it the only thing that could avert a humanitarian disaster (and likely violence and further upheaval) … It was politically brave and — imho — it was the “right” thing to do … the “alternative” was catastrophe …

        But since, particularly the BBC and the American media have painted this as Merkel’s folly, that would end her career, ruin both the German economy and it’s society, hastening the ascent of the nationalist (neo-nazi) right wing … in hindsight it looks almost (cough) conspiratorial … and hypocritical to an extreme as the UK and the USA took as few refugees — even well-documented at-risk asylum seekers were largely shunned — the UK simply refused to accept 2000 unaccompanied (“lost in the flood”) children … and they mocked Merkel’s “idealism” and claimed she was reneging on promises she never made …. simply stunning.

        Yes, she’s STILL the evil dragon-lady of austerity …

  16. Zachary Smith
    August 16, 2017 at 20:25

    “The Agony of ‘Regime Change’ Refugees”

    This was an interesting and useful essay where the author spoke of “hundreds of thousands of asylum-seekers”. In the not very distant future, these numbers are going to become first “millions”, then “tens of millions”, and finally “hundreds of millions” of desperate refugees.

    Randomly picking Bangladesh as an example, it has a population of 160 million people, most living at extremely low elevation. What will the response of the rest of the world be when those people must either evacuate or die? The US will be busy trying to resettle the people living on the East Coast. Florida, for example, is considerably lower than even Bangladesh, and has 20 odd million people all by itself.

    A person can daydream that the Koch Brothers will get religion and start acting like decent humans. Failing that, maybe there will be an afterlife where they spend the next few hundred thousand years with bleeding hemorrhoids and a few more ailments.

    The first case isn’t likely, and the second won’t help anybody currently alive. There is one compelling argument for putting nuclear weapons under the control of a single world authority – to make the coming chaos a little less deadly. That’s not very likely either, so we’re probably really screwed.

    • mike k
      August 16, 2017 at 20:38

      Zachary, we are screwed more ways than I care to count. I guess we have to make our peace with that as best we can, and find ways to go ahead in spite of it. Ironic that our search for truth ends up in a no exit blind alley. We live in a time when the mistakes of centuries will culminate, to end with our species’ extinction. I believe it still matters how we live out our days, but cheer up death is a guaranteed exit for each of us – relief is on the way!

      • mike k
        August 16, 2017 at 20:40

        I think that offering was what is referred to as cold comfort!

        • August 16, 2017 at 22:04

          Ahhh Mike…when you receive your well deserved salvation put in a good word for us!

          • mike k
            August 16, 2017 at 22:20

            If it’s possible Bob, I sure will. You sure deserve it, and so do many others on this site.

  17. August 16, 2017 at 18:03

    The writer states:
    “The deeper problem to address is the causes of the migrant crisis”
    I believe, we sowed death and destruction in the countries of the regime change refugees this is one of the major “causes.” Now we are reaping what we sowed, as the saying goes. These unfortunate people are drowning in the Mediterranean Sea or living in horrendous camps, and the war criminals that caused all this mayhem are free. And most of the corporate media won’t report the truth, but instead cover it all up, and call them “migrants.”

    • Abby
      August 17, 2017 at 23:46

      Many people in this country say that they don’t want the refugees to come to the United States because their money goes to feeding and housing them.
      They also think that the men should stay in their countries and fight back against the terrorists.
      I see this type of comment on my local rightish website.

      “The writer states:
      “The deeper problem to address is the causes of the migrant crisis”
      I believe, we sowed death and destruction in the countries of the regime change refugees this is one of the major “causes.” Now we are reaping what we sowed, as the saying goes.”

      You are right about this. There wouldn’t be so many refugees if our country, France, the U.K. and the other countries hadn’t destroyed their country. This is so plainly obvious, yet Americans are so willingly blind to this.
      If people don’t want to take in the refugees, they need to tell our government to quit destroying their countries.

      These same people believe that our troops are actually fighting to defend our country and our freedoms. A Utah soldier died in Afghanistan this week and people who comment about this write, “thank you for giving your life to protect our country”
      This person didn’t die for anything except corporate profits.

      Our troops are also protecting the Afghanistan poppy fields so the CIA can use them to fund their secret agendas.

  18. August 16, 2017 at 17:39

    “Defacebook”, that’s all it is and ever was.

  19. August 16, 2017 at 17:37

    Excellent poem, Stephen J, when will there be a war crimes trial? It would have to take years, and would involve hundreds. The Bushes, the Clintons, Obama, the “Neocons”, NATO officials past and present, Pentagon officials past and present, the list is endless since the days of Bush Sr.

    • August 16, 2017 at 17:51

      Thanks Jessica K. I believe these are 21st century war crimes.

  20. August 16, 2017 at 17:35

    Just thought you should know that Facebook will not let me share this piece—every time I try to share it, it is marked as spam, even though I say it is not. Perhaps Consortium News should check into this, because it is pure censorship.

    • mike k
      August 16, 2017 at 18:04

      I hope this is not the advent of the dreaded altnews eliminating algorithm?

      • Rob Roy
        August 17, 2017 at 22:49

        Yes, it’s already happening….happened yesterday to a friend.

  21. Clint
    August 16, 2017 at 17:11

    Name one oil/gas rich country that has a stable government?

    • mike k
      August 16, 2017 at 17:21

      Are there any stable governments anywhere in this unstable world? Stable may be a word that will go out of usage pretty soon…..

  22. August 16, 2017 at 17:10

    I ask this based on the evidence:
    September 1, 2015
    “Should The Regime Change Criminals Be on Trial for War Crimes?”
    [much more info at link below]

  23. August 16, 2017 at 17:04

    September 20, 2015

    You and the Refugees

    You call us “migrants” instead of refugees
    You call us “swarms” as if we are diseased
    You demean and rage at us, as we drown and die
    You pretend not to hear, as our terrified children cry

    You bombed our countries and reduced them to rubble
    You well dressed war criminals, created all this trouble
    You killed our children with hellfire missiles
    You called this “bringing democracy,” and then you smiled

    You caused us to flee from the bloody wars you created
    You are damned hypocrites, and now you are feted
    You made massive profits from death and destruction
    You made whole communities unable to function

    You refuse us entry into some of your countries
    You spray us with tear gas and deny us sanctuary
    You say you will “help us” after destroying our lives
    You are evil incarnate, pretending to empathize

    You are sanctimonious villains who should be in jail
    You are fortunately fortunate that justice has failed
    You are the creators of today’s hell upon earth
    You are the descendants who made Jesus thirst

    You try to get elected on the backs of our misery
    You are all hypocrites and dealers in atrocities
    You only care, about more and more power
    You are a disgusting evil, and a bloody shower

    You rained your hellish bombs down from the sky
    You even have fly pasts as our children die
    You are the maniacal murderers of society today
    You are a curse on the world, that’s all I have to say

    • mike k
      August 16, 2017 at 17:18

      Excellent Stephen. You see our world very clearly. This can only be done with eyes of love, such as yours.

      • August 16, 2017 at 17:53

        thanks mike k, justice is needed for these victims of illegal wars

    • Rob Roy
      August 17, 2017 at 21:30

      Your best yet, Stephen.

  24. August 16, 2017 at 16:44

    Sadly, you are so right, BobH, and how in the world can the nightmare caused by the West, especially the US, ever end? It is shocking beyond belief what a mess occurred under Bush, Obama, and Hillary Clinton. Syria is still enduring the horror.

    • Dave P.
      August 16, 2017 at 18:29

      Jessica, as the situation is developing, there may be refugees from Venezuela too joining the agony of this march of refugees. There is a interview of Lawrence Wilkerson on Real News with Aaron Mate’ on August 14 on the truth in Venezuela happenings. The link is:

      It is really a very good analysis of history of events in Venezuela by Wilkerson.

      • August 16, 2017 at 21:58

        Dave P…thanks for the Real News video with Lawrence Wilkerson. He has always been a favorite guest of mine and his take on Venezuela was very welcome. Jessica K,…thanks for your input..we seem to be on the same page but let’s hope the next chapter is more promising!

  25. August 16, 2017 at 15:45

    As I see it, the problem of uncontrolled migration is 2-fold. A- the result of regime change, attempted as well as achieved and B- economic hardship, the result of exploitation, neglect and the propping up of corrupt regimes. Unfortunately, the “Western” developed nations have been instrumental in contributing to both. Any agreement with Erdogan’s Turkey to forestall the movement of refugees is foolish and counter-productive, given that it was Erdogan who instigated the call for regime change in Syria. As far as I’m concerned he is many times worse than Assad and should be isolated for his duplicity and the evils he causes in his own country. As for Angela Merkel’s foolhardy albeit humanitarian move in accepting so many refugees, it was bound to backfire. Europe just can’t absorb that amount without creating internal dissension (not that many of the E.U. countries weren’t complicit in regime change plots). The U.S., however, has been the prime mover in most of the invasion forces but is unwilling to reap the harvest of refugees that has resulted, despite the fact that it is in a much better position to absorb the consequences. If the neocons get their way and succeed in deposing Assad I can only predict a bloodbath and a refugee problem that dwarfs anything we have yet seen.

    • Realist
      August 17, 2017 at 03:18

      I read that the migrants from Syria so loath Assad that 600,000 of them promptly moved back to Syria from surrounding countries when Aleppo was liberated. The American narrative doesn’t hold even a thimble of water, does it?

  26. mike k
    August 16, 2017 at 15:29

    The same old stuff of exploding industrial civilization that got us here and is taking us out of here is all this writer can think of. The changes we need to make are so radically different from that they are written off as impossible. The key is less, not more. Fewer people, less high tech, peace, not war……all written off as impossible dreams. Well if you say so…… let the karma descend!

    • mike k
      August 16, 2017 at 15:34

      Mother Earth will do for us what we could not do for ourselves – radically eliminate us from the ecology. There was a softer landing, possible, but we will not take it. Such is the nature of addiction, hubris, and unconsciousness

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