Mathew D. Rose: Merkel’s Refugee Strategy – A Brown Nose Becomes the Chancellor

By Mathew D. Rose, a freelance writer in Berlin

It is a visit most Germans would like to forget – quickly. Their Chancellor Angela Merkel travelled to Turkey last Saturday, dropped in at what is termed a “sanitised” refugee camp for a well-orchestrated public relations exercise, and then held a press conference, effusing over Turkey’s exemplary treatment of refugees. It was “Brown Nose Tour The Second” to Turkey for Ms Merkel (the last in October, just before Turkish elections, in a veiled endorsement of Turkey’s dictator Recip Erdogan in return for a deal to stop the flow of refugees from Turkey to Greece).

This spectacle was much more than a display of hypocrisy. Ms Merkel’s newest kowtow to Erdogan, following her recent decision to raise charges against the German satirist Jan Böhmermann for libelling Erdogan, demonstrated to the German people that they are not the generous, enlightened people they thought they were and the European Union has nothing to do with Beethoven’s ode of joy, its unofficial anthem. Still Ms Merkel hopes her brown nose may yet revive her failing political fortune.

Ms Merkel has every reason to be thankful to Erdogan. Since the two completed their deal on 20 March the number of refugees crossing from Turkey has steadily declined. In the past five weeks a mere 113 refugees have purportedly been transferred from Turkey to the EU. That is just over 20 per week.

Ms Merkel’s visit is however just one element in a vastly larger development. It is just eight months ago that the Germans were celebrating their Willkommenskultur, solidarity with refugees fleeing wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. At the forefront was Ms Merkel, nicking Barack Obama’s 2008 election motto “Yes we can!” (Wir schaffen das). Currently Willkommenskultur is being redefined in Germany: Bringing Arab and African dictators and war criminals out of the cold to support the EU’s anti-refugee policy.

The motivation for this generous gesture by Germany’s Chancellor and the German government is to dump Willkommenskultur I. Willkommenskultur II will furnish authoritarian leaders and warlords with cash, weapons, equipment to secure borders and other assistance to keep refugees from reaching Europe as well as repatriating those that manage to survive the journey and enter EU territory. This has become an integral aspect of Ms Merkel’s present policy of closing EU borders and deportation.

Ms Merkel’s goal is “to regulate and control the stream of refugees from Libya to Italy as has been done in Turkey”, she recently announced, “We are currently trying to arrange a similar ‘cooperation’ with Libya.” Libya however is not only a warzone and failed state; it does not even have a central government. Its territory is divided among war lords, clans, al-Qaeda and ISIS. Attempts to create a unity government with the two largest fractions, each of which claims to be the national government, have up to now been a failure. The Unity President designate, Fayez al-Sarraj, backed by the United Nations, is not recognised by the various factions, which claim al-Sarraj is nothing more than a puppet of western governments. The “Unity President” does not even control the capitol Tripoli and is apparently holed up in a heavily armed naval base on the edge of the city. Thus the nation currently has de facto three rival governments.

While the US is keen to organise a unity government in Libya to fight ISIS forces there, the EU needs a head of state to sign a deal to stem the flow of refugees using the perilous sea route to Italy. It comes as little surprise that one of the first requests Mr Serraj made to the EU was support to build up Libya’s coast guard to stop people smugglers. With almost half the Libyan population dependent upon humanitarian aid, much of the nation’s infrastructure in ruins and the economy crippled, it is difficult to imagine that people smugglers are a national priority. International law does not permit refugees to be sent back to a war zone, although the German government appears to be confident that they can circumvent this should they find a legitimate head of state to sign a treaty.

President Obama is capitalising upon the EU’s crisis, offering the use of NATO naval forces to block refugee access to Europe, as is already the case in the Aegean, in return for increased EU military support in its war against ISIS. The President has made no secret of his disappointment with Britain and France for not following through militarily in Libya after its last dictator, Muammar Gaddafi, had been removed from power. Up to now European governments have been more interested in balancing their budgets than initiating expensive foreign military interventions. Yesterday President Obama met with the leaders of Germany, France, Britain and Italy to change this attitude.

Ms Merkel’s plans go much further however. Her government has initiated a broad diplomatic offensive to prevent refugees arriving in Europe from Asia and Africa. Shortly after German Interior Minister, Thomas de Maiziere, declared that Germany is interested in arranging deals with all the Maghreb states similar to that in Turkey, Germany’s Economic Minister and leader of the German Social Democrats, Sigmar Gabriel, not to be outdone by his political opponent, MS Merkel, was busy brown nosing Egypt’s current dictator General al-Sisi. During his visit to Egypt last week Gabriel declared that the dictator is an “impressive president”. The German government, which has already sold Egypt four submarines, is not only offering more weapons and equipment to control its borders, but to assist Egypt’s government to secure financial support for its desolate economy from the IMF and other institutions. The German government fears that should the economic and political situation in Egypt further deteriorate, its population will constitute the next wave of immigrants seeking safety in the EU.

Simultaneously the EU is offering the Eastern African nations Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea – all of these states are known for their egregious violations of human rights – incentive packages pending results on cooperation on returns of refugees from the EU. EU nations cannot simply send refugees back to their country of origin. This necessitates a bilateral agreement. These East African governments are more than happy to be rid of political dissidents or hope for remittances should their citizens find employment in Europe, thus up to now hindering such repatriation.

In the case of Sudan, against whom the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant in 2009 for its president Umar al-Bashir on counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, on offer is assistance in removing Sudan from the list of states supporting terrorism. The European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa already announced at the beginning of the month that it would provide Sudan with 100 Million Euros to assist returnees and improve security at the borders. This sounds more like nations being transformed into large prison camps. By thus supporting such regimes the EU perpetuates the reasons why so many refugees are seeking a new life in Europe.

Ms Merkel’s present domestic policy is stopping refugees entering Europe and throwing out as many as possible that have arrived. A third element of the German strategy is to force other EU nations to accept more refugees. While Poland, Hungary and Slovakia are not cooperating, other nations are prepared to receive only very limited contingents. Many EU governments see the agreement with Turkey as an attempt by Ms Merkel to save her political career. They feel they have solved the problem by building fences and using police and military personnel at the borders to defend these. Even Austria, Ms Merkel’s former ally on the issue of refugees, is currently building a fence on the Italian border at the Brenner Pass.

Similarly, many EU nations are becoming restless concerning Ms Merkel’s generous pledge on visa-free travel for Turks, part of a package Ms Merkel promised to Erdogan in return for blocking refugees from leaving Turkey as well as taking back those who made it to Greece, which was endorsed by the EU. Some 700.000 refugees may have been denied access to the EU, but soon 70 million Turks could be on their way. The agreement, made just before German state elections to save Ms Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party from a debacle, is apparently considered by many EU leaders as no longer binding. Turkey has threatened that any backtracking by the EU on this issue would result in the refugee floodgate via Turkey being re-opened.

Ms Merkel’s and the EU’s strategy is simply a repetition of past mistakes. The Arab Spring was a reaction to oppressive dictators and a desolate economic situation. There is no sign of these issues being addressed by Ms Merkel or the EU. To the contrary, apparently the EU is not only considering sending ships to patrol the coast of northern Africa, but even to send soldiers and police to the relevant nations to enforce its policy of Fortress Europe. Furthermore the EU is not taking into account that the situation has changed with the expansion of al-Qaeda and ISIS into Africa, including Egypt and the Maghreb States. Where formerly authoritarian governments in these regions could easily suppress discontent, these frustrated people now have a ready alternative: joining radical Islamic militant movements such as ISIS and al-Qaeda. Germany and the EU may not merely be kicking the can down the road, but priming the next explosion.

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  1. ke

    That’s it, make them dependent on the intl banking cartel, and let the “compliant” ones in for breeding. Didn’t quite work out the way they planned. Slaves just don’t know their place anymore. ISIS, the backfiring gift that just keeps on giving. At least military equipment sales continue. Are they building to keep others out, there own in or both. It just keeps getting creepier. Turkey, the future of Europa.

    Oil isn’t 45 by accident. Got collateral.

    Free pensions and no kids. What could go wrong.

      1. tony

        Taco misunderstood the article he linked. It’s not EU forces, it’s a joint coalition of French, British, Italian and German troops that are to be send there to secure European corporate interests.

        They also mentioned that there are already European forces in Libya.
        “French, Italian and British special forces have been operating in Libya for the last couple of months according to the French newspaper Le Monde.”

  2. James Levy

    Size of Libya: 679,000 square miles; size of Iraq: 168,000 square miles. The United States wasn’t prepared to send in enough troops to adequately occupy Iraq. Where is Europe going to find the men, transport planes, and helicopters (forget about the avgas) to hold down Libya? It would take every soldier Britain, France, Germany, and Italy have, and cost a trillion dollars. They don’t have the men, money, or will to do more than carve out a few coastal enclaves and then settle in for the inevitable counterstrokes there and in Europe.

      1. Clive

        Indeed, and there is zero — absolutely none — popular or political appetite in the EU countries for any more foreign excursions. While it might be argued there’s a moral responsibility to clean up the messes we’ve made, deployment of ground forces on any scale is not going to be a happening event. What is more, thanks to Austerity, certainly the UK (and I suspect this is true of most NATO countries apart from the U.S.) have downsized their military to such a degree that even if there was a will to do this, there simply isn’t the capability.

        And in an election year, the U.S. isn’t going to do anything either.

        1. EoinW

          I find the idea laughable that the countries which create these messes are considered the only ones capable of fixing them. It’d be far more logical to conclude that they are the least likely to fix anything. Social conditioning, however, goes a long way. We will always be the good guys, no matter what we do. Any kindergarten class knows that good guys only fix things.

          1. Clive

            While there’s no guarantee at all the U.S. or the EU could fix things, it nevertheless strikes me as not a little unseemly that we’re so blatantly willing to adopt a “so long, and thanks for all the fish” attitude.

        2. vlade

          This more than the size of Libya, which while bigger than Iraq, is, unlike Iraq, mostly desert. Iraq may be a fifth of the size of Libya, but is six times as populous. And Libya has much more concentrated population too (principally along the coast).

          So, if you say that US tried to control Iraq with what, 170k troops (i.e. less than 0.5% of the population), 60k of troops (which EU could put together, if there was will) would be twice as much as US ever deployed in Iraq, relatively speaking.

          But there is zero will, so the point is moot

    1. tony

      Most of Libya is a desert, and the European powers are only interested in areas with oil. European powers used to rule the world and I’m sure there is some institutional knowledge left on how to bribe a local clan with money and guns. It’s a disaster waiting to happen, but it’s nothing France and the UK haven’t done before and they might just get their oil before the arrangement blows apart.

      The US uses their own troops to patrol and keep the peace. Which is costly and ineffective.

  3. Felix_47

    Having spent a lot of time in Iraq, SA, and AFG I have to say that all of this is kicking the can down the road. Until some sort of women’s empowerment and population control is established this area is headed from bad to worse. Just as it was the cradle of civilization three thousand years ago it might well end up being the graveyard of civilization in a few short years. The birth rates are simply breathtaking. No one can feed these masses but Allah. Europe has no idea.

    1. Clive

      I agree with what you say but I would add a nuance — when we talk about women being empowered, it can end up sounding like empowerment is something which is bestowed on a passive recipient. But sometimes if empowerment is not bestowed, it also isn’t demanded either. Examining the reasons why a particular group is disempowered can lead to some interesting conclusions, such as:

      * The disempowered group, if maybe not liking the status quo in its entirety, likes some of the results of it
      * The disempowered group exerts power through other mechanisms which aren’t as overt as their disempowerment is (and sometimes isn’t discernible at all to outsiders)
      * The disempowered group works around their disempowerment (and they like the workarounds)
      * The disempowered group has determined that the empowered group is subject to such limitations in their power that empowerment is simply not worth pursuing

      It was a lack of understanding about these sorts of complexities which led to the breath-taking naivety of the collations in Afghanistan and Iraq in thinking that all that was required was to march in and tell their populations they were now empowered (in regards to whatever areas they were previously deemed to be un-empowered). If it had been as simple as that, the un-empowered populations of those countries would have empowered themselves without any outside assistence.

      1. polecat

        just look at the empowering examples of the women our peacock president has in his employ………..not to mention Chairwom Pantsuit !!

    2. EoinW

      We may live to see the next great migration out of Europe. it will not take too many more terrorist attacks before you see a backlash against Europe’s Muslim communities. Yet these people have been in Europe for generations, plus they are poor therefore they have no where to go(who would want to go back to the Middle east anyway?). Which means they must stay and will become radicalized as white Europeans turn against them. End result: Europe turns into a domestic war zone. A new Bosnia. What happens next? We know from the example of Israel that the moderates begin to leave. Unlike Muslims, white Europeans will have the means to get out and safer places to flee to. Leaving behind an ever increasing percentage of extremists. Ultimately you end up with a Europe that’s made up of two warring entities. A Europe consisting of the Shankhill Road and the Falls Road.

    3. JustAnObserver

      I seem to remember reading some time ago that the population of Saudi Arabia alone had tripled in the last 50 years or so. Of course their water resources have barely kept pace even with the use of massive desalination plants.

      Sign of the times: Their announcement not long ago that they are going to stop growing wheat in the desert. In spite of whatever spin the House of Saud lackey put on it this was as clear a signal as could be (to me at least) that they are losing the population vs. water race. Man liveth not by oil alone … or whatever the Koranic equivalent is.

  4. tegnost

    ““We are currently trying to arrange a similar ‘cooperation’ with Libya.” Libya however is not only a warzone and failed state; it does not even have a central government. Its territory is divided among war lords, clans, al-Qaeda and ISIS.”
    Well that’s just really great isn’t it? And how exactly did libya wind up like that…/s

  5. ke

    Too funny, the money changing west cannot sustain reproduction, impoverished the rest, which can only result in excess population growth in poverty, and then tries to give a lesson in birth control, completely ignoring natural DNA operation, on the basis of bogus genetic research, and nets a mature actuarial pongo with collapsing demographics. Who could have seen the fascism coming.

    Genetically modified people eating genetically modified food working in a completely artificial environment pointing their fingers at symptoms of their own behavior. That should solve everything. I’ll take the critters with a lower measured IQ for a hundred bob.

    1. ke

      The near isn’t trying to figure out programmed encryption; it already has a physical bypass. It’s trying to figure out what we are talking about, with dc programmed minds, which isn’t going to happen. An a.c. global communication system has already been built. It just hasn’t been scaled for drop in. Assume the borders are gone and the critters can’t hide in their cubicles any longer.

      1. divadab

        dude yr code is partially accessible thx for bringing up taboo topics

        Not sure yr right, however, about borders – expect to see more police around…….roided out and ready! Honestly – don’t you think there are a few too many of the species anyway?

        1. ke

          When the critters get hungry and realize the European union has no future they ain’t going to Russia. Germany is already setting up a killing field.

  6. ke

    Genetic methylation at PVT is a feature, not a bug; might want to look that one up, it’s coming into play.

  7. susan the other

    Change of plans, as they say. The previous plans have been fantasy. Either way, emigration or repatriation, it’s going to be far more expensive now than if we had actually had realistic plans to handle this in the first place. Like creating a refuge/solution BEFORE we take over the ME/North Africa? It’s a new-age lesson for the West. Do not charge off half-cocked again.

  8. Russell

    Medieval was Europe after the collapse of the Roman Empire.
    My solution arises out of the sense of it as a reality since the international class goes to where the airports are that can handle their planes.
    What ports does Virgin service?
    I do believe that as Roosevelt was dying he was leaving it to Eleanor. They had Zionist friends so exceptions were made.
    Everywhere you see the words United States of America, substitute Rome.
    Berlin was united. There was a road to it. Stalin was alive for a good while after WWII.
    Solarize the cities, city states, & get the electricity otherwise, as is done in Uruguay. Scale up all of what has been done in Uruguay.
    Found another competing UN. One worked for the Cold War. Now we need two.
    “I’m going to get medieval on him.” -Pulp Fiction. That does not have to mean torture.
    This morning I wanted to be Director of Energy. Last year sometime I wanted to aim for passport offices at Denver Stapleton. It is in ruins but would do.
    Haiti, or Berlin? Port au Prince, or Berlin?
    Medieval, well “A Good King is a Good thing.”
    Ah, well, just painting with broad strokes. The new normal? There are precedents.

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