The millions of refugees flooding from war-torn Syria into Europe may not be an accident. Could it be that Vladimir Putin saw the refugee crisis as a way to destroy Europe and therefore exacerbated the situation? Foreign policy analysts believe that Putin’s objective in attacking the last rebel stronghold in Aleppo, Syria is twofold: to keep Presdient Bashar al-Assad in power and to weaken German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
If Putin’s ultimate goal is to destroy the European Union, flooding his enemies with refugees could very well be part of his strategy for the future.
“Merkel’s latest plan is for Turkey to stop the flow of refugees to Greece, which can no longer cope under the strain,” said Judy Dempsey, editor and chief of Strategic Europe. “But outsourcing the refugee problem to either Greece or Turkey is not a sustainable option. In return for Turkey’s assistance, Merkel said EU countries, many of which have already refused to take in refugees or are closing their borders, would have to be willing to accept quotas of migrants.
Putin’s actions in Syria are seriously testing the strength of the 1985 Schengen Agreement, which allows passport-free travel within the 26 nations of the EU. With over one million refugees flooding into the continent through Greece and Turkey, the pressure is intensifying for EU governments to enact a provision within the agreement that would restrict travel between countries for up to two years, “dealing a potentially terminal blow to a scheme that has been in place for more than 20 years,” reported the London Guardian.
As of January 1st, the total recorded number of asylum seekers that arrived in Greece via Turkey was 924,015. Germany accepted just over 1 million refugees in the year 2015. Those numbers will only grow if Putin’s aggression against Syrian rebels is not thwarted.
“The integration effort isn’t going smoothly at all. Even if the integration effort were going smoothly, the task would be well nigh impossible,” reads the economic blog Zero Hedge. “A wave of sexual assaults blamed on men ‘of Arab origin’ swept the bloc on New Year’s Eve and since then, a rising tide of nationalism threatens to destabilize the entire region and thrust the likes of Germany, Sweden, and Finland into social upheaval.”
If you read my article published earlier this week about protests throughout Europe, you know that social upheaval is exactly what our enemies want.
The aerial image above shows a Russian airstrike against a militant base in Latakia, Syria. The image was published on the Russian Defense Ministry official website this week. The ministry reported that its airstrikes have hit approx. 1,900 targets in Syria during the past week. These attacks have sent tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing towards Turkey.
But Turkey does not want them. This Wednesday, Turkey aggressively rejected demands that it open its borders to 30,000 Syrians as they fled from the Russian attacks against Aleppo. As Russia continues to support President Bashar al-Assad, the resulting conflict is pushing over half of the country’s pre-war population out of Syria and into countries already overflowing with refugees.
At least Saudi Arabia has finally made the decision to send military forces into Syria to support the Sunni militants holding Aleppo. As reported by Al Arabiya, Saudi Arabia’s decision is “final” and “irreversible.” But as Riyadh joins the US in fighting ISIS militants, pressure will increase on Germany and Chancellor Merkel – just as Putin may have planned.
“Back in December 2015, when it became clear that refugees from the Middle East would continue to head toward Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel reassured her conservative Christian Democratic Union party that everything was under control,” wrote Dempsey. “All she needed, she told party members, was more time. Germany could manage the influx of over 1 million refugees and asylum seekers.”
“Merkel was banking, naively or not, on two things: peace talks that would end the five-year-long war in Syria; and cooperation from Turkey to stop sending refugees to EU countries, improve the conditions for refugees, and strengthen the EU’s external border,” she continued. “Neither has materialized. Merkel’s task of reassuring her party and voters is becoming trickier by the day.”