The French government’s difficulties to motivate mayors and the population of the municipalities to receive migrants from the “jungle” of Calais are well-known – all the more so since no one knows how to give them work. Hollande had promised Angela Merkel to take over 28,000 refugees who had landed in Germany, many of whom now live on French soil under more or less regular conditions.
We are talking about migrants from Syria, but also from Iraq and Afghanistan, who are entitled to refugee status. In principle, a refugee does not leave his country voluntarily. It can be assumed that he wants to return to his home country as soon as conditions allow.
In order to deal with the refugee problem, the war-stricken countries must first be brought back to peace.
Should it not be remembered that obviously this has not been the first goal of the Western leaders in recent weeks? Today, we know that American, French, and English military forces (and also from countries in the region) supported the jihadists of al-Nusra (al-Qaeda) in their resistance to the re-conquest of East Aleppo through the government forces. Since no one really wanted or even hoped that the jihadists would take over the power in Damascus, the matter must be clearly stated: the activities of Western decision-makers pursued – or are still pursuing – the goal of prolongating the war to get Russia in trouble, but also not to be forced to face a huge ideological failure.
Even if the reconquest of East Aleppo is an important step towards the re-establishment of control over Syria’s entire territory by the legitimate state authority, many Jihadist pockets of resistance remain in the country, including Deir-es-Zor, where the intervention of the American army made it possible to Da’esh to recover lost terrain. Not preventing these nests from being cleared as soon as possible, as Jean-Luc Melanchon recently put it, is the only means of speeding up the return to peace.
In Iraq, the roles are reversed as the Americans, who support Da’esh in Syria, are fighting them in Iraq. Nevertheless, they do not seem to be in a hurry to recapture Mosul. Maybe this will change with Donald Trump?
Just as important as the return of peace is the abolition of international sanctions against Syria – especially those of the European Union. They are useless: they are compelled to force the regime to back down, what they have not achieved. They are inhuman. As always, it is not the leadership but the population that suffers from the embargo: the sanctions concern not only essential necessities, especially foodstuffs, but also urgently needed pharmaceutical products, to sustain the children weakened by deprivation and the wounded victims of war. They have massively curbed the economy of Syria. Even more than the war itself – lately less affecting the most heavily populated regions (except Aleppo) – the sanctions are the reason for the exodus of some one million Syrians to Europe. Normalisation in this country can only be achieved by the speedy lifting of sanctions. One can only hope that the relentless Brussels machinery, whose victims are the Syrian people, will be able to get into more flexibility and humanity …
The abolition of the sanctions would allow air connections between Damascus and Europe. The numerous refugees, who are in Germany and elsewhere and who are today homesick for their country, will be happy to return as soon as cheap flights are organised again. This is especially true of the high school students from Damascus and the surrounding area, who have travelled to Europe in large numbers due to a collective and not carefully considered movement, are facing big difficulties and now would like to return to their families.
War damage is considerable. Many cities and villages in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan need to be rebuilt. They need builders, architects, foremen, bricklayers. International loans will be needed during at least 10 years for construction activities. What are the Western governments waiting for until they provide vocational training to the refugees in Europe who are disoccupied? In France, an institution such as the “Agence Nationale pour la Formation Professionnelle des Adultes” (AFPA) [National Agency for Adult Vocational Education] has a long experience in vocational training for construction and building trades. Hitherto, the European Union has been extremely inhumane by imposing brutal sanctions against the Syrian people, and its member states have armed the jihadists. Now it would be time to reflect and to show generosity, for example by considering an extensive Marshall plan for the Middle East and Afghanistan. This is the least what we owe to these populations. •
* Roland Hureaux, born in 1948, is a graduate of the two most prestigious universities in France: the ENS (State Scientific University) and the ENA (National School of Administration). He is a historian and has made a comprehensive university, administrative and political career. In the 1990s, he was president of the National Assembly and a member of various ministerial cabinets. Over the past 20 years, he has written about a dozen books and a variety of articles, essays and analysis on political and social issues from a sovereign and Gaullist perspective. His book, published in January 2017, is entitled “D’une crise à l’autre” (From one crisis to another).
Source: www.LibertéPolitique.com of 1.2.2017
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