Europe and the mass migration – Causes, effects and how to cope

by Prof Dr Albert A. Stahel, Institute for Strategic Studies, Wädenswil

The mass migration that has descended on Europe is likely to remain a fact for years, and perhaps even for decades.

Refugees from Syria

Food shortages following the 2006 to 2010 drought, the ruling corruption and the “Arab Spring” caused in the Syrian city of Dara Sunni opposition members to protest against Alawite President Bashar al-Assad’s minority regime, which had been in power since 1963. The regime then adopted some reforms: for instance, they removed the article stating that the Ba’ath Party was the leading party of society and state from the constitution. In return, the president received even more power. Very soon, the conflict escalated into a real war between the Syrian army and various Sunni fighting groups like the Free Syrian Army. Today the Sunni opposition is completely fragmented.
Increasingly, foreign states and groups intervened in these wars. So for instance the US and Turkey supported the Free Syrian Army with weapons, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar funded mainly Islamist groups, supported them and supplied them with weapons. Iran rushed to the rescue of its ally al-Assad, and not only delivered weapons to the Syrian regime but led advisers and combat troops of the Republican Guard and the Lebanese Hezbollah. Since September 2015 even the Russian Federation is involved in the war with bombings of their warplanes stationed at the Air Station Hmeimim.
In consequence of the ongoing war since 2011 not only cities such as Aleppo and Damascus but also sites of ancient times like the Hellenistic Apamea have been destroyed. In addition, Salafist organizations such as the Islamic State (IS) have exploited the war in Syria for their own goals and have conquered vast territories. By now the IS ought to be in control of as much as 50% of Syrian territory. A coalition led by the US is conducting an air war with a modest impact against the IS. In the absence of ground forces of its own, Washington is deploying Kurdish mercenaries against the IS, who are being recruited from the Syrian PYD – which is in turn said to be affiliated to the Kurdish PKK – and from the Iraqi Peshmerga.
In 2012, Syria presumably had a population of 22,597,531 people.1 250,000 Syrians are likely to have been killed in the time from March 2012 to the summer of 2015. Millions of – mainly Sunni – inhabitants fled from Syria during this period. The UNHCR registered 4,603,363 of them in Turkey, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon.2 At the end of 2015 2 to 2.5 million of these Syrian refugees were living in Turkey3 and 245 022 in Iraq4. In Syria, there ought to be more than 7.5 million who have been displaced from their homes and flats.
More than half a million Syrians, and those most notably Sunnis, have probably already migrated to Austria, Germany and Sweden via Greece and the Balkan route.

Iraqi refugees

Since the invasion of the US and its coalition of the willing in March/April 2003 and the fall of Saddam Hussein a war between Shiites and Sunnis has been taking place in Iraq. Very quickly, al Qaeda was formed in Iraq from 2003 onwards as quasi vanguard of Sunnis who had been ousted from power. The Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi became its leader. When laser and GPS-guided bombs from a US F-165 warplane killed him on 7 June 2006, al-Qaeda in Iraq started gradually to mutate to Islamic State. Today the IS under its Caliph Ibrahim still controls around 30% of Iraq, despite the losses of territory suffered in recent months at the hands of the Peshmerga and the Iraqi army. The Islamic State continues to conduct attacks against Shiite exponents and members of the government in Baghdad. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard advises Iraq militarily. The Shiite militias in Iraq are, amongst others, under the command of the Iranians. The US and their allies are rearming and training the Iraqi army. The ultimate aim is to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul, which is serving as the IS capital. The war in Iraq is likely to continue for some time, also thanks to all US ground forces withdrawing under President Obama in late 2011 and the leaving a power vacuum behind.
The population of Iraq was estimated at 32,585,692 in 2014.6 In December 2015, the number of Iraqi refugees was roughly 2,019,050.7 1,400,000 of these had been displaced within Iraq and 400,000 were living in Syria. Only 166,000 of them were staying in Turkey. In the meantime some of them have probably emigrated to Austria, Germany or Sweden.

Immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and North Africa

The youth of various countries in Asia and North Africa must be seen as willing to emigrate, due to the economic situation, social conditions, the poor supply of food and water, and partly also because of the internal political situation.
One of these countries is Afghanistan. Despite the power struggle between the government in Kabul and the Taliban, many provinces enjoy a certain level of stability. If terrorist attacks by the Taliban occur, they are executed mainly in Kabul against US or Afghan troops. The quantitative increase of these attacks is likely to be the result of the almost total withdrawal of ground troops by the US and its allies at the end of 2014.
On 1 January 2016, the population of Afghanistan was estimated at 33,275,428.8  A year earlier the figure had been 32,376,967. This represents a growth rate of 2.78%. Despite emigration, the population is increasing. But what is particularly worrying is the fact that 14,067,852 persons and thus 42.3% of the population are under 15 years old. Of these, 7,209,454 are boys and 6,858,398 girls. Given the economic and social situation and the low life expectancy of 44.8 years for men, a significant part of the male Afghan population at the age of between 10 and 20 years would probably be willing to emigrate. This could be around 2.5 to 5 million young people.
The neighbouring country Pakistan displays a similar situation as that of Afghanistan. Attacks occur here, too, especially in the northwestern part of the country. The attackers are Pakistani Taliban. As in Afghanistan, the economic and social differences between the lower class and the elite are enormous here. On 1 January 2016 Pakistan had a population of 190,814,320.9  A year earlier, there had been 187,831,555 people.This represents a population growth of 1.59%. The population of under-15-year olds numbered 67,603,605 young people and so came up to 35.4% of the total population. Of these, 34,726,298 were boys and 32,877,307 girls. The number of those who are willing to emigrante in Pakistan is more difficult to assess. It could well be more than one million.
Iran’s government is a theocracy. The determining factors for emigration lie in Iran’s lack of economic prospects and an immobile society. On 1 January 2016 Iran had a population of 80,311,566.10 A year earlier it had been 79,321,632. Accordingly, the Islamic People’s Republic of Iran has a growth rate of 1.25%. At the beginning of 2016, the number of young people under 15 was 19,318,947 and thus represented 24.1% of the population. Of these, 9,907,235 were boys and 9,411,712 girls. Even in Iran, there is an overflow of boys. Unlike in neighbouring countries, fewer members from the lower classes are likely to be willing to emigrate. The lower classes are well supplied (with necessary goods) by the regime ruling in Iran. By contrast, notably academics and students might be interested in emigration due to their own experiences during visits and meetings, especially to the US.
The countries of North Africa provide a mixed picture. Libya is a decaying state, where chaos prevails, and where various militias are fighting each other. Here, too, the Islamic State is active and attempts to acquire a territory of its own. Tunisia has been transformed to a quasi-democracy as a result of the “Arab Spring”. However, its internal situation must be described as unstable. Algeria is ruled by a military dictatorship. Demonstrations are not allowed. The Berber population of Kabylia is calling to the Arab ruling class for recognition of their ethnic group or even for a degree of autonomy. The same holds true for the Tuareg in the Ahaggar Mountains of the Sahara. In addition to these ethnic conflicts and these claims, the regime has to face attacks of the North African al Qaeda offshoot. The neighbouring Morocco presents a picture similar to that in Algeria. For far too long, the Arab kings in Rabat suppressed the Berbers of the Atlas and of the area around Marrakech. Add to that the unresolved issue concerning the future of the area of the former Spanish Sahara. The fighters of the Saharawi people still live in refugee camps in Algeria with their families.
The disintegrating state of Libya has a population of 6,678,697 people now, in 201611 – last year it were 6,543,636 persons. Hence, the growth rate is 2.06%. With 2,188,409 persons under 15 years we have a very young population here (32.8%). Of these, 1,118,081 are boys and 1,070,328 girls. Here, too, there is a surplus of boys. Given the desperate situation of this country, Libya it is likely to have a high percentage of emigrants among the young population.
On 1 January 2016, Tunisia had a population of 11,205,342 people with a growth rate of 0.98%.12 As 2,601,208 young people (1,343,408 boys and 1,257,800 girls) were under 15, their proportion of the total population was 23.2%. Tunisia has the highest proportion of foreign fighters who serve the Islamic State. A high proportion of emigrants is to be expected also in the case of Tunisia.
Algeria had a population of 40,319,284 people and a growth rate of 1.17% on 1 January 201613.  24.2% of the population (9,752,025 persons), were under 15, namely 4,976,609 boys and 4,775,416 girls. Given the fact that the military dictatorship restricts the freedom of movement of its young people, many of them are likely to be willing to emigrate.
In terms of the population structure Morocco does not significantly differ from Algeria. On 1 January 2016, Morocco had a population of 33,931,519 and a growth rate of 1.07%.14 9,443,481 young people were under 15 years old (27.8% of the total population). Of these, 4,791,809 were boys and 4,651,672 girls. As the Moroccan royal family exerts a milder repression against the opposition in comparison to the military dictatorship of Algeria, the percentage of emigrants is likely to be lower compared to Algeria.
For the assessment of the three states Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco it also has to be noted that, due to their historical past, they still have a close relationship with France, their former colonial power. This includes their language and their culture in particular.

Impact of Mrs Merkel’s open-door policy

With her call to allow Syrian refugees to enter Germany without restrictions, German Chancellor Merkel has violated individual regulations and triggered several implications. In the first place, she has not only overridden the right of control of the German parliament with her one-sided exhortation, but she has also arbitrarily rendered the two agreements of Schengen and Dublin inoperative. Both agreements state that asylum seekers’ immigration to Europe has to be implemented by controlled means and that they have to be registered. In case that they are rejected they must be deported to the country where they were registered first. This measure, above all others, has ceased to be in force.
Moreover, with her call she has triggered a pulling effect on Syrian refugees living in Turkey and on potential emigrants from the mentioned countries. In this way she has brought about an uncontrolled mass migration, which has now befallen Europe. Not only are the states on the Balkan route such as Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia overcharged with the task of curbing the migration of nations, also a downright refugee and asylum chaos has erupted in Germany. As proved by current reality, police and administrative bodies in Germany are unable to cope with the processing of applications and the control of more than one million immigrants. In principle, a refugee chaos reigns in Germany, which is in addition complemented by minor crime committed by various immigrants.
Add to that the fact that the integration of many of these immigrants, who do not come from war zones, will overtax Germany very soon. Therefore, there are many young Afghans who have at best not finished school or are even illiterate. This means that they cannot even read and write their own language. Added to this, there are cultural problems, as events in Cologne on 31 December have demonstrated. Many of these young men, so especially those from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and North Africa, live in societies where women count for nothing or are at most seen as commercially available products. This has only partially anything to do with Islam as a religion. The societies, from which notably these young men originate, are archaic.
Another problem is the fact that mainly young men have migrated to Europe. In the future Germany will have to face the fact that this immigration will lead to the rise of an unstable parallel society.
With her call Mrs Merkel has not only affected the future stability of Germany, she has also affected the future stability of Europe as a Union with her one-sided abrogation of the agreements of Schengen and Dublin. One state after another is introducing border controls. Thus, the two agreements are no longer even worth the paper on which they are written.
Stubbornly Mrs Merkel refuses to introduce border controls and limits for Germany. At the same time, she is still talking about a European solution to the mass migration, which is in view of the events no longer feasible. She is increasingly compromising Germany’s future and in principle also the future of the whole of Europe.

Possible causal agents of Mrs Merkel’s call

Two years ago, Mrs Merkel still uncompromisingly refused any German concession to Italy in receiving refugees from Africa. Her turnaround is rather strange. Unfortunately, at this time we can only speculate about what caused this turnaround. It is conceivable that the Obama administration recommended her to make her call. Through its wars in the Middle East, the US is responsible for the suffering, the tragedies, and the refugee drama in this region. Perhaps the Obama administration was hoping to evade the United States’ responsibility for the disaster it has caused, if Germany received the Syrian refugees from Turkey.
At the same time, it may have been suggested to Mrs Merkel that Germany would be able to purchase forgiveness for the crimes of the Nazi regime and simultaneously regenerate its increasingly old society by means of the reception of refugees. Fact is that with her call, she has generated mass migration, and this may even shake Europe to the very foundation.

How to cope with this mass migration

How can we master this mass migration and curb it in the future? As recent events with refugees and immigrants from Africa have shown, the expulsion and rejection of refused applicants is almost impossible. The only method possible is to stop the migration in its preliminary stages. For this, the three countries Germany, Austria and Sweden have to stop financial support of immigrants as a first step. As compensation for this, they would provide only material support. In addition, the free delivery of mobile phones and the liberal support services supplied by social workers and lawyers must be stopped. Charities for refugees should receive no more financial support by the state as of now. Forcing immigrants to live in camps outside the urban centres would be a further step towards deterrence. In addition, it is crucial to punish to the full force of the constitutional state infringements of the law, such as the feeling up of women or even rape.
In a further step, the Member States of the Schengen area must introduce their own border controls again. Mass migration cannot be stopped without this measure. When these controls are carried out, emigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and North Africa should be sent directly from the checkpoint at the border to the camps and should be deported as soon as possible. States that do not take in their citizens would have to be punished by European countries.
The measures described above have to be taken immediately by the understanding leaders in Europe, even if they are denounced by Mrs Merkel and her left-green orbit. Europe has only a very little time left to ensure its survival as an economic and cultural area.15    •

1     The Military Balance 2015. The International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, 2015,
p. 352
2     http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php
3     Stratfor. How German Politics will Change Europe, 22 January 2016, p. 3
4     data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php
5     McChrystal, St., General, U.S. Army (ret), My Share of the Task A Memoir, updated with a New Preface, Portfolio/Penguin, New York, 2014, p. 230
6     The Military Balance 2015, p. 330
7     http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e486426.html
8     http://countrymeters.info/en/Afghanistan
9     http://countrymeters.info/en/Pakistan
10     http://countrymeters.info/en/Iran
11     http://countrymeters.info/en/Libya
12     http://countrymeters.info/en/Tunisia
13     http://countrymeters.info/en/Algeria
14     http://countrymeters.info/en/Morocco
15     Stratfor, How German Politics Will Change Europe, January 22, 2016, 09:15, p. 5

Source: www.strategische-studien.com of 13 March 2016, first published in the Portas Capital Newsletter, February 2016

(Translation Current Concerns)