Posted tagged ‘Syrian refugees’

Israel and Saudi Arabia: a desert mirage or a new alliance?

November 21, 2017

Israel and Saudi Arabia: a desert mirage or a new alliance? | Anne’s Opinions, 21st November 2017

In the crazy world of Middle East wars, politics and shifting alliances, it is hardly surprising that relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia are warming up from their deep freeze. In fact this is an alliance (“friendship” is too strong a word to use) that has been revving in the background for quite some time, ever since the rise of ISIS and more importantly, the tailwind given to Iran by our “friends” in the Obama administration and their European allies through the JCPOA, aka the Iran nuclear deal.

In the interim there has been some political upheaval in the kingdom, with princes and heirs to the throne being replaced at an eye-watering pace. The newest heir to the throne is determined to drag the medieval country into the 21st century, by whatever means:

(CNN)Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman, first in line to inherit the throne from his 81-year-old father, is not a patient man. The 32-year-old is driving a frenetic pace of change in pursuit of three goals: securing his hold on power, transforming Saudi Arabia into a very different country, and pushing back against Iran.

Mohammed Bin Salman, Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

In the two years since his father ascended the throne, this favorite son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz has been spectacularly successful at achieving the first item on his agenda. He has become so powerful so fast that observers can hardly believe how brazenly he is dismantling the old sedate system of family consensus, shared privilege and rigid ultraconservatism.
In the process, however, MBS, as the crown prince is known, is making a lot of enemies.
Much of the prince’s agenda is laudable and long overdue. He has no interest in democratic reforms, but he does want to introduce social reforms, and is making some progress on that front. That, too, is making him enemies among the old guard.
He has vowed to improve the status of women, announcing that the ban on women driving will be lifted next year, and limiting the scope of the execrable “guardianship” system, which treats women like children, requiring permission from male guardians for basic activities. He has also restrained the despised religious police. And just last month he called for a return to a “moderate Islam open to the world and all religions,” combating extremism and empowering its citizens.
On the economic front, bin Salman wants to reinvent an economy that became complacent from fantastic oil riches — only to see oil prices crash — and bring it into the 21st century with his ambitious Vision 2030 plan.
But the prince’s revolutionary changes require, above all, making sure he remains in charge, and he is letting nothing stand in his way.

The prince is not bluffing. That became startlingly clear last Sunday, when he unexpectedly ordered the arrest of some of Saudi Arabia’s most powerful men.

Read it all, it makes for a thrilling read, even though this is not fiction but real life with very real and dangerous potential consequences if it fails.

Meanwhile, the latest pronouncements and actions emanating from Saudi Arabia give us pause for a cautious hope, though with each country having an influence on the next, there is always the danger of a domino effect, or maybe we should call it the dangers of unforeseen consequences.

The Saudis called on Hezbollah to disarm, threatening to oust it from Lebanon:

Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Thursday called on the Hezbollah terrorist organization to disarm, warning the group that regional efforts were underway to oust them from the Lebanese government.

At a press conference in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, al-Jubeir denounced Hezbollah as “a tool of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards” and “a first-class terrorist organization used by Iran to destabilize Lebanon and the region.”

Saad Hariri, (former?) PM of Lebanon

“Hezbollah has kidnapped the Lebanese system,” he said.

Al-Jubeir added that “consultations and coordination between peace-loving countries and Lebanon-loving countries are underway to try to find a way that would restore sovereignty to Lebanon and reduce the negative action which Hezbollah is conducting in Lebanon.”

The minister’s remarks came as the kingdom rejected accusations that Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was being detained in Riyadh following his shock resignation earlier this month.

In response Hezbollah raised the alert across Lebanon, which further complicates matters for Israel:

The Hezbollah terror group has raised its alert status across Lebanon, fearing threat of attack by Israel and other nations, Kuwaiti newspaper Al Rai reported Saturday.

The news came amid a political crisis between Beirut and Saudi Arabia, sparked by Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s surprise resignation. Hariri cited Iran and Hezbollah’s meddling in the region as the reason he was stepping down. The November 4 resignation broadcast from the Saudi capital is widely believed to have been engineered by the Gulf kingdom.

The Kuwaiti paper further reported that Hezbollah leaders have instructed a halt to arms shipments sent to the group from Iran through war-torn Syria.

Israel is widely believed to have carried out airstrikes on advanced weapons systems in Syria — including Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and Iranian-made missiles — as well as Hezbollah positions, though it rarely officially confirms such attacks.

In August a former air force chief said Israel carried out dozens of airstrikes on weapons convoys destined for the Lebanese terror group over the past five years.

Al-Jubeir warned Friday that there will be no stability in Lebanon unless Hezbollah disarms.

The resignation of Saudi-aligned Hariri has thrown Lebanon into turmoil and raised concerns that the country could be dragged into a battle for regional supremacy between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Indeed Israel has been watching Syria’s actions carefully and taking defensive action where necessary. On Sunday the IDF fired on Syrian targets fortifying positions near the demilitarized zone Golan heights:

The IDF fired upon Syrian army positions Sunday evening near the Israeli border in the Golan Heights on Sunday, the IDF spokesperson’s office reported.

IDF in a military exercise near the Syrian border

Syrian forces had been working to fortify a military outpost in the buffer zone, in violation of ceasefire agreements, and an IDF tank fired deterring shots in response.

A similar incident occurred on Saturday, when an IDF tank fired a warning shell near Syrian forces after identifying a Syrian army-built outpost in the demilitarized zone between Syria and Israel, similarly contrary to ceasefire agreements.

According to the IDF, the outpost was located close to the Druse village of Hader on the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights.

Earlier this month, following intense fighting in the village, the IDF said it was willing to provide assistance and prevent the capture of the Druse village by anti-regime forces.

Meanwhile Israel is continuing its humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees. For the first time ever, the IDF permitted Israeli TV Channel 2 News to film the crossing of some refugees, and one Syrian mother of a sick child said “All Syrians want to come to Israel” – a mind-boggling statement considering that Israel and Syria have been deadly enemies since Israel’s establishment and even before:

Extraordinary footage showing Syrian mothers crossing into Israel with their sick children for medical care was broadcast by Israel’s Hadashot news (formerly Channel 2) on Sunday after the Israel Defense Force (IDF) permitted the channel to film for the first time operations part of its ongoing policy of providing care for civilians and select combatants injured in the country’s raging civil war.

In interviews accompanying the footage, several Syrian mothers expressed deep gratitude to Israel for providing medical assistance and said that many Syrians living near the border no longer view Israel as the enemy, while another said that “all Syrians” would come to Israel if given the opportunity.

“Israel was thought of as the enemy… Now that you are helping us, most [on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights] are with you. They love Israel. They see the true face… the reality,” one mother said.

Another added that the real enemies are “Islamic State, Hezbollah, Bashar [Assad]. They’re all the same.”

“I wish we could stay here for good,” another interviewee told the reporter. “I’d be the first to cross [if the border were open]” she said, adding that “all of Syria would follow me. All the civilians left in Syria would come.”

Read their heart-breaking stories of abuse, murder, executions and more at the hands of the various Syrian factions and the regime.

Watch the video below:

With this in mind, Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Liberman called on the Arab nations to make peace with Israel and confront Iran:

“After Daesh, Iran,” Liberman tweeted on Saturday, referring to the Islamic State by its Arabic name. “[Late Egyptian President] Anwar Sadat was a brave leader, who went against the stream and paved the way for other Arab leaders to recognize the importance of strategic ties with Israel.”

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman looking through binoculars during a visit to the Israel’s northern border, November 14, 2017. Ariel Hermoni/Ministry of Defense)

“40 years after his historic visit to Israel, I call on leaders in the region to follow the path of President Sadat, come to Jerusalem and open a new chapter, not just in terms of Israel’s relations with the Arab world, but for the whole region,” Liberman wrote.

Sadat famously flew to Jerusalem ahead of signing the Camp David peace deal with Israel, the first Arab leader to do so. Sadat was later assassinated for his actions.

“The Middle East today needs, more than anything else, a coalition of moderate states against Iran. The coalition against Daesh has finished its work, after Daesh, Iran,” Liberman wrote in remarks that appeared to be directed in part at Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has in recent days stepped up its efforts to counteract Iran and its proxies in Yemen, and the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon.

All these shifting alliances hold great potential benefit for Israel, especially Saudi Arabia’s turnabout, but Melanie Phillips wonders if it is all too good to be true:

According to the Turkish Anadolu news agency, reported here, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz al Sheikh, has issued a quite remarkable religious ruling. Answering a question on TV about the Palestinian Arab riots over Temple Mount last July, he didn’t merely denounce Hamas as a “terror organisation”.

Much more significantly he actually issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, forbidding war against the Jews; and he said that fighting against Israel was inappropriate.

How can this be anything other than highly significant?

With a religious fatwa coming on the heels of a Saudi realignment as well as their internal political upheaval, it is probably good news – we will just have to be patient, to wait and see:

We can all obviously see the politics behind this. Saudi Arabia is in the fight of its life with Iran, to which end it has forged tacit and not-so-tacit alliances with Israel as well as the US. The new, reformist Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has not only supported this alliance with Israel but, more remarkably, has said that now is the time for the kingdom to get rid of Wahhabi extremism and revert to “what we followed – a moderate Islam open to the world and all religions”.

… the fact that the Prince made such a statement about now getting rid of extremism, in public, followed by this fatwa from the Grand Mufti, in public, surely suggests that the tectonic plates might just be beginning to shift within the heartland of Sunni fundamentalism.

Too good to be true? Just more smoke and mirrors? Of no more significance than a temporary alliance of expediency? Maybe. Nevertheless, a religious statement goes beyond politics. Neither the Prince nor the Grand Mufti needed to open up the religious issue in public at all. Watch this space, eh.

I’m sure the Israeli authorities are proceeding with caution. כבדהו וחשדהו is what they say in Hebrew: Literally: respect him and suspect him. Verify and justify.

Trump cuts Obama’s refugee target in half, takes more Christians than Muslims

September 27, 2017

Trump cuts Obama’s refugee target in half, takes more Christians than Muslims, Washington Times,  September 26, 2017

President Barack Obama meets with President-elect Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Nov. 10, 2016. (Associated Press)

President Trump, in just eight months in office, has succeeded in upending U.S. refugee policy, cutting by more than half the 110,000-refugee target that the Obama administration had bequeathed him and dramatically shifting the demographics of who is accepted.

Gone is President Obama’s overwhelming focus on Muslims, and particularly on Syrians fleeing a civil war that his administration facilitated. Under Mr. Trump, the rate of Syrian refugees has been cut by more than 80 percent, and Christians have overtaken Muslims in total refugees resettled.

“It’s impossible to escape the clear message that there’s a new sheriff in town,” said Matthew O’Brien, research director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates for stricter refugee controls.

 The Trump changes have reverberated around the globe, with the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees drastically cutting the number of refugee candidates it submits to the U.S.

After recommending nearly 35,000 refugee candidates last year, the UNHCR submitted just 3,591 applications from January to July.

Refugee advocates say the U.S. is relinquishing its global leadership and moral standing and have challenged parts of the administration’s policy in the courts, pushing the country to move back toward the goals set by Mr. Obama.

The previous president called for up to 110,000 refugees to be admitted to the U.S. in 2017 and indicated that he wanted Syrians to be a large part of that, with the country on pace for more than 15,000 resettlements this year.

But Mr. Trump, as part of his first “extreme vetting” travel ban executive order, changed all that. He called for cutting the refugee cap from 110,000 to 50,000 and placed a four-month pause on the refugee program and a more lasting ban on Syrians.

Resistance by the courts, immigrant rights activists and Democrats on Capitol Hill dented those plans, but at the end of the fiscal year, it’s clear that the president mostly got his way.

As of Tuesday afternoon, with four days left in the fiscal year, the government had admitted slightly more than 53,000 refugees — less than half of Mr. Obama’s goal but slightly more than Mr. Trump wanted.

Perhaps the bigger impact was within the demographic breakdown, where Muslims dropped from nearly half of refugees under Mr. Obama to slightly more than a third. Christians, meanwhile, went from 43 percent to 53 percent under Mr. Trump.

Syrians, who represented a stunning 15 percent of all refugees under Mr. Obama, dropped to just 8 percent under Mr. Trump.

The State Department didn’t respond to an inquiry from The Times for this article.

Officials at the department are rushing to put together a recommendation for a refugee cap for fiscal year 2018, which begins Sunday.

Under the law, the administration is able to set an overall cap each year. It was set at 80,000 for the end of the Bush administration and beginning of the Obama administration, dropped to 70,000 in 2013, rose to 85,000 in 2016 and then to 110,000 this year.

Mr. Trump proposed cutting this year’s number to 50,000 and came close to fulfilling that, likely ending up just a few thousand over.

Courts had intervened, saying Mr. Trump couldn’t stop the arrival of refugees who had “close” ties to American entities, exempting them from his 50,000 cap.

The president is expected to suggest an even smaller refugee cap for 2018, analysts said. Several reports Tuesday put the figure at 45,000. The administration must conduct official consultations with Congress this week before finalizing the number.

Rep. Randy Hultgren, Illinois Republican and co-chairman of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, said he was disappointed by the low figure.

“I believe we can balance both compassion and security and remain the world’s shining city on a hill,” he said in a statement, adding that he believed the U.S. should “trust our long-standing and rigorous vetting system” to weed out dangers while allowing the pipeline of refugees to flow.

Top Democrats, meanwhile, prodded the White House Wednesday over reports that it nixed a study that would have shown refugees were a net plus for the U.S. economy.

“It appears that the Trump Administration may have rejected these facts in order to present a biased, incomplete, and ultimately false political narrative,” the Democrats wrote in a letter demanding documents.

Advocates say the U.S. puts refugees through stricter screening than any other category of visitor or immigrant to the U.S. and that fears of terrorists using the program to exploit weaknesses are overblown.

But security analysts say countries such as Syria are so broken that the U.S. doesn’t have access to databases or on-the-ground information to vet the stories of would-be refugees.

Mr. O’Brien said his group doesn’t oppose refugees, which he said are part of America’s moral obligation. But he said the government simply can’t vet all cases.

“In those situations in the past, the default position has been to look to the interests of the refugee. I think after Sept. 11 that is an impossible circumstance,” he said. “There are some people where it’s just not going to be possible.”

Mr. O’Brien said Mr. Trump is flexing the powers that the law grants the president, learning that he doesn’t have to work through Congress to make major changes.

Even as some in the U.S. protest Mr. Trump’s changes, the rest of the world is adjusting.

The UNHCR — which screens and recommends to the U.S. potential refugees from some of the world’s hot spots — has drastically slowed the pipeline.

The number of Syrians submitted to the U.S. for resettlement screening is down more than 80 percent so far this year. Similar drops were recorded for Somalia, Iran and Afghanistan. Iraq had an even bigger drop in submission rate by the UNHCR.

Trump says Syrian Christian refugees will be given priority

January 27, 2017

Trump says Syrian Christian refugees will be given priority, Jihad Watch

(Please see also, Immigration Priorities: Translators, and Victims of Genocide. — DM)

“Pew Research Center said last October 38,901 Muslim refugees entered the United States in fiscal year 2016 from all countries – almost the same number of Christian refugees, 37,521.”

Reuters is being deliberately misleading. From Syria in 2016, the Obama administration admitted 12,587 refugees: 12,486 Muslims, 68 Christians, and 24 Yazidis. Trump is ending this obvious social engineering and saying that Syrian Christians, who have borne the brunt of persecution from jihad groups there, will be given priority.

This also shows the falsity of establishment propaganda media claims that Trump’s immigration ban would keep out non-Muslim victims of persecution by jihadis.

trumpwithpen

“Trump says Syrian Christian refugees will be given priority,” Reuters, January 27, 2017:

WASHINGTON, Jan 27 (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Friday that Syrian Christians will be given priority when it comes to applying for refugee status in the United States.

“If you were a Muslim you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody but more so the Christians,” Trump said in an excerpt of an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Pew Research Center said last October 38,901 Muslim refugees entered the United States in fiscal year 2016 from all countries – almost the same number of Christian refugees, 37,521….

EXCLUSIVE: Syrian Refugee School Sex Assault

January 18, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Syrian Refugee School Sex Assault, The Rebel MediaFaith Goldy, January 17, 2017

A fourteen-year-old Canadian girl has been sexually assaulted by a Syrian migrant.

It was supposed to be a night of innocent fun and giddy excitement — her first high school dance — but for one girl at New Brunswick’s Fredericton High School, the night would go on to haunt her well after the last song was played.

The young girl’s mother (who asked that she and her daughter have their identities protected) reached out to TheRebel.Media.

She told us that her daughter was approached by two Syrian migrants who are enrolled at the Canadian high school. Both attempted to grind with the fourteen-year-old girl before one of the migrant students came up behind her, and aggressively touched her — her body and her breasts — before forcing his hand down her pants, touching her vagina from inside her underwear.

Through emails and a recorded phone interview, the Fredricton mother told me that, at first, Fredricton High School belittled reports of the sex assault against her daughter, and was told to consider things from the Syrian migrant’s perspective — to consider how western girls’ clothing has the potential to create cultural tension.

The girl’s mother informed me that the the police were aware of the sex assault and that she had hoped to press charges; however, following a questionable interaction between the young girl and one detective, there is now no sign that charges will be pressed.

According to the girl’s mother, the Syrian migrant student was suspended for just one week and is now back at school — with her daughter. Meantime, the 14-year-old girl has missed several weeks worth of school and is now seeing a mental health professional to help her cope with the trauma.

And it would seem this young girl isn’t alone. Her mother told me that there have been complaints from other girls, too. More reports of “Syrian boys groping and touching girls’ breasts and trying to touch girls’ vaginas at previous school dances.”

She also told me that the much older Syrian students at FHS are permitted to attend school dances, which she describes as “unfair to the younger students.” But, for reasons unclear to her, the issues — despite being well known — are not being reported.

Now, Rebel Media sought to verify the sex assault allegations before presenting this young girl’s story to you. And so, we followed up with the school. We filed an access to information request. We informed Fredricton High School of our tip and asked that they provide any information regarding the alleged sexual assault in question.

We received shy of one dozen pages of email transactions between teachers and school administrators, all of which authenticated our source’s story.

Over the course of the past eight months, I have presented a dozen reports, based on over three thousand pages of documents, covering five different Canadian provinces on the topic of Syrian students abusing their peers.

In our ongoing investigation into allegations of abuse and sexual harassment perpetrated by Syrian migrant students on Canadian children, these stories out of FHS were some of the most disturbing. Some two-thousand and seven hundred pages of email transactions between teachers, administrators, and school board members painted a picture of ongoing physical abuse and sexual harassment within their walls:

Syrian men in their twenties enrolled in the high school, successfully hitting on the much younger girls; requests for gender segregation and prayer spaces; expressions of excitement over the Brussels bombings and hobbies that included rocket propelled grenades.

It’s happening. There’s evidence, evidence that we here at TheRebel.Media have made publicly available. Every page of every Access to Information request we’ve filed is posted in full on our website.

And yet, there is a country-wide cone of silence on the subject.

If you believe in our journalism and want to see the full list of my reports on the subject of Syrian migrant students bullying, harassing, and abusing their Canadian peers, VISIT SchoolyardScandal.com.

And, if you or someone you know has a story of their own, send us a note at tips@therebel.media. We’ll look into your claim and, if it’s true, we’ll tell your story.

Because, unlike the mainstream media, we here at The Rebel won’t ignore the young girls and boys who are ultimately being affected by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s sloppy Syrian refugee policy.

 

After one year, only half of Syrian adult refugees [in Canada] are working

December 12, 2016

After one year, only half of Syrian adult refugees are working, CIJ News, Ilana Shneider, December 12, 2016

syrian-refugees-arriving-in-toronto-1-photo-screenshot-youtube-citizenship-and-immigration-canada-620x330Syrian refugees arriving in Toronto. Photo: screenshot YouTube Citizenship and Immigration Canada

During a debate on Global News between Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration Arif Virani and Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel, Virani admitted that only 9,000 people, or about half of the adult Syrian refugees who were resettled in Canada in 2015, entered the Canadian labour force.

The numbers contradict Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship John McCallum’s assertion that the immigration policy of the federal government which welcomes more refugees “will help diversify the Canadian economy and create sustainable growth.” At a press conference on March 8, 2016, McCallum said: “As we continue to show our global leadership, Canada will reunite families, offer a place of refuge to those fleeing persecution, and support Canada’s long-term economic prosperity”.

Speaking to students at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario on October 21, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reaffirmed his commitment to resettle more refugees in Canada because of the social and economic benefits when he said that “Canada and countries around the world need to do more in welcoming people who are fleeing for their the lives, and that’s why I’m so proud of the fact that Canadians stepped up over the past year and welcomed in Syrian refugees to their communities right across the country, because we know that bringing in people and giving them an opportunity to succeed and build a better life for themselves, it’s good for them but it’s also good for the communities…, it’s good for our economy and it’s good for the world.”

During the Global debate, Rempel said that because the Liberal government was so focused on the numbers, they lacked a plan in terms of looking to the future in order to successfully integrate the refugees. She also told the host that witnessed who appeared in front of Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration complained about a lack of funding for schools and language training.

A report by the Senate Committee on Human Rights released last week found that many refugees are struggling to meet their basic needs because they are not receiving certain benefits in a timely manner, even though the government allocated $900 million towards resettlement of all newcomers, of which $30 million was allocated specifically to Syrian refugees, and which amount was increased by an additional $18 million last month.

When asked whether Virani expected that one year later only half of the Syrian refugees would be working, he said that the number is consistent with other refugee populations, and that it takes a “number of years for refugees to attain the same economic levels as other Canadians who have been here for multiple generations”.

Rempel said she wants the government to put forward a solid plan that’s transparent to the Canadian taxpayers on the true cost of the refugee resettlement programs. “When the government was running on a promise of 25,000 refugees during the campaign, they said in their ‘fully costed campaign document’ that it was only going to cost $250 million. And we now know that it’s going to be well above that”, Rempel told host Tom Clark.

Virani told Clark that Canadians want to see “more refugees, not less”, which echoed a claim made by Minister of Immigration John McCallum, who last September said “I have been hearing a lot of input, and all the hundreds of people I’ve spoken to across the country, most of them, almost all of them, have advocated [for] more immigrants, whether for demographic reasons or for job-shortage reasons”. However, both Virani and McCallum’s assertions are inconsistent with the findings of a recent Globe and Mail/Nanos survey which revealed that only 16% of Canadians think Canada should accept the same or more immigrants, while 39% think Canada should accept fewer and 37% think Canada should accept the same number of immigrants in 2017.

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, fewer than 50 percent of all Syrian refugees who were resettled in Canada have completed high school, fewer than 10 percent have a university degree and the vast majority don’t speak either official language. The probability of finding employment without education and language skills is very low, which means those who relied on federal assistance for one year will now become the responsibility of the provinces where they reside.

On October 12, 2016, McCallum told reporters that the federal government had no idea that the Syrian refugees have many children, and this is why the provinces are still facing challenges related to finding proper housing and teachers for language training classes.

A recent study released by HungerCount – the only comprehensive annual national report on hunger and food bank use in Canada – found that almost 13% of all people helped by food banks in 2016 were immigrants and refugees.

In 2015-2016, a report released by the federal government revealed that in 2015-2016, the government spent $384.7 million on the Syrian resettlement initiative.

Syrians will soon receive EU money deposited into ‘credit card’

September 30, 2016

It is a prominent part of the migration agreement between the EU and Turkey: European money for Syrian refugees that they get paid monthly on an electronic debit card.

From October 1 this should enter into force, but what should we imagine ?

By Tom Reijner

27 sep 2016

( translation from original Dutch article by JK  )

http://www.elsevier.nl/buitenland/achtergrond/2016/09/zo-krijgen-syriers-straks-eu-geld-gestort-op-creditcard-368393/?utm_medium=website&utm_source=nieuwskoerier.nl

The utility is officially launched Monday by the Cypriot Commissioner Christos Stylianides (Humanitarian Aid).
‘Biggest EU aid project ever’

Not without any triumphalism: “Today we launch the largest and most comprehensive humanitarian project that the EU has ever supported. It will ensure that 1 million Syrian refugees have a kind of basic income, “said the Commissioner at a press conference. The project, according to him the “ultimate proof” how the EU is involved in solving the migration and refugee crisis. But what about this aid money system exactly work?

The debit cards – similar to a type of credit or prepaidpas – provided by the so-called Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN). This is a special program of the EU for refugees and set up in collaboration with the World Food Programme of the United Nations, the Turkish authorities and the Turkish Red Crescent (the Islamic equivalent of the Red Cross).

In the words of the Commissioner “a system that combines the Turkish welfare of a humanitarian response.” The ESSN project has been allocated EUR 348 million, to be paid from the big pot of money (3 billion euros), which Ankara had pledged to help the refugees in their own country. Meanwhile, paid 652 million – though Erdogan complained bitterly that it is all not enough, and where the rest of the money actually remains.

It sounds like a fraud sensitive system

But not everyone will benefit from EU funds. Only the ‘most vulnerable’ among the more than 3 million Syrians in Turkey may make purchases “so they can feed their families.” Brussels hopes that therefore the local economy is supported, as they embark on fruit and vegetable markets. These people, who are outside the refugee camps, may decide that they spend the money. So they can keep “their dignity, and they are not condemned to begging on the streets.

It sounds like a fraud sensitive system. How do the EU officials assured that the money is well spent, and not in bags reaches of shady characters, whether or not within the Turkish government itself?

Namely, there is also cooperation with the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policy. The European Commission ensures strict control: “We will ensure that every euro is spent properly,” says Stylianides.

Lebanese Insist Syrian Refugees Go Home, Now

September 20, 2016

By: JNi.Media Published: September 20th, 2016

Source: The Jewish Press » » Lebanese Insist Syrian Refugees Go Home, Now

Syrian refugees and migrants pass through Slovenia, October 23, 2015
Photo Credit: Wikipedia commons

Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam on Monday warned that his country was in “serious danger” to the point of facing collapse under the ongoing rush of Syrian refugees, the Daily Star reported Tuesday. Salam said the burden is straining Lebanon’s already struggling economy and infrastructure, to the point where it is threatening their very stability.

Speaking in NY on the occasion of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on the global refugee crisis, Salam said: “My country is in serious danger. What the Lebanese have done by harboring one million and a half Syrians for a population of four million is unprecedented. What the Lebanese have done by spending close to 15 billion dollars they do not have in three years to serve the displaced Syrian population is unprecedented.”

Salam insisted that the UN “draft within three months a detailed logistical mapping of the return in safety and dignity of the Syrians now in Lebanon to Syria, specifying transportation needs, departure locations, and all associated costs.” Salam suggested that “raising the financing required for this plan should be started immediately. This will allow, when circumstances permit, a swift implementation.”

As of March 31, 2016, Lebanon is hosting 1,048,275 registered refugees from Syria, 53% of whom are children, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  The Lebanese government chose not to establish camps for Syrian citizens fleeing the civil war into Lebanon, and they have settled instead throughout country. Most of the newcomers rent lodging in about 1,700 towns and villages, but an estimated 18% live in squatter communities near the border.

According to the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, the Lebanese government is making it difficult for Syrian refugees to renew their residency permits, and as a result, according to Shelter Working Group-Lebanon, the number of households in which all members are legally in the country has dropped from 58% in 2014 to 29% in 2015. The same NGO has reported that refugee households living below the poverty line increased from 49% in 2014 to 70% in 2015. The percentage of refugee households with debt jumped from 70% in 2013 to 89% in 2015.