I’ve been on record here before about how the United States should be more proactive in granting asylum to Middle Eastern refugees, but the present situation in Europe and the Middle East is problematic for more than just the gigantic scope of the crisis. David Cameron has promised that Britain will take in up to 20,000 refugees, but a Daily Mail article from Tuesday reports that a Syrian minister has informed Cameron that around 2 of every 100 refugees is probably an ISIS agent. Perhaps spurred on by this news, the Mail has been doing the kind of investigative journalism more media outlets should be doing. As the paper reported yesterday, a reporter working for them was able to buy a Syrian passport and other documents under an assumed name in Turkey for $2,000. From the article:
Our reporter was able to buy a Syrian passport, identity card and driving licence from a fraudster in a Turkish border town this week.
The genuine documents were stolen from Syria when they were blank. The forger added our reporter’s picture and gave him the identity of a Syrian man from Aleppo killed last year.
The documents, on sale for around $2,000, would help an asylum claim in Europe.
The forger who sold us the papers, said that they are being used by ISIS fanatics to travel undetected across borders into Europe hidden among tens of thousands of genuine refugees fleeing the terror and destruction.
Once in Europe they can set up sleeper cells or live freely under a new identity without facing the consequences of their brutal past actions.
As the forger chillingly put it: ‘ISIS fighters are among the people going to Europe in this way. They are going to wait for the right time to become a fighter for ISIS again.’
Stories like this give us more than enough of a credible reason to believe that this refugee crisis is far more than it seems on the surface. The much reported news that Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States are unwilling to take any of the migrants in ought to be telling enough, but this just gives us extra reason to be suspicious of who Western countries are bringing in.
This news should serve as a warning to policymakers the world over who are considering whether to admit Syrian refugees or not, but don’t expect most of the mainstream media and the Left, here or elsewhere, to report on this problem, unless it is to dismiss these stories as racist or Islamophobic.
Ultimately, as the Dalai Lama, who knows a thing or two about having to leave his home country, has said, it is impossible for Europe and the rest of the West to simply take in all of the refugees, and the issue of fraudulent documents only highlights the concerns people rightfully have about admitting refugees without vetting them. We have to deal with the root of the problem, which is the civil war in Syria and ISIS. As Erick, among many others, has explained, so much of the present problems in the Middle East are traceable not to any mistakes (real or otherwise) of the Bush administration, but instead to the failed policies of the Obama administration’s approach to the conflict and the wider Middle East.
We should still be open to refugees but only after a strict vetting process, while I don’t think a fraudulent passport is necessarily a disqualifier on its own, since many legitimate refugees probably don’t have real ones, it’s all the more reason for stricter scrutiny. Despite claims that it would be bigoted to do so, we should privilege Christians and Yazidis above other groups. In a region dominated by differences in faith, religious minorities suffer disproportionately in these conflicts. For the Muslim refugees we do accept, we should follow Dan McLaughlin’s approach in his excellent analysis, of arming them, training them, and then sending them back. Meanwhile, diplomatically, we must find a way to counter Iran and Russia’s increasing influence in the happenings there. At home, like Keith Vaz of the British House of Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee has called for, our government should be investigating this problem.
All of this can be done, but I am not holding my breath for the Obama administration to make a serious attempt to do so. European countries like Britain, France, and Germany will probably make serious efforts to do so, but ultimately, the strength of their responses depends on our commitment to back them up. Again, I am not holding my breath on the matter.