What caused the refugee crisis? Obviously, no single factor is entirely to blame. There’s no shortage of reasons why the number of migrants and refugees entering the EU started dramatically rising around 2015. The arrivals come from different countries, and they each have their own reasons for seeking entry into Europe.

Many are fleeing violence. The top three countries of origin for people seeking asylum in the EU are Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq; all three of those countries are facing protracted insurgencies (or even outright civil war). Somebody coming from Eritrea, however, is more likely to be running from that country’s brutal dictatorship. Refugees from Nigeria might be trying to escape Boko Haram. And, of course, there are also economic migrants who are trying to break out of poverty and seek a better life in Europe.

Some of our readers blame the West for that violence. We had a comment from Daniel blaming “Western geopolitics” for destabilising the Middle East and North Africa. It’s certainly true that the intervention in Libya led to the collapse of central authority there, and the resulting chaos has been exploited by people smugglers. President Obama called the West’s failure to prepare for the aftermath of the Libya campaign the ‘worst mistake’ of his Presidency.

Likewise, it’s possible to argue that a series of Western policy failures in Iraq after the 2003 invasion led directly to the collapse of Mosul, when over 30,000 Iraqi soldiers and security personnel abandoned the city to as few as 800 ISIS militants. Others have argued that the policy of Western governments to arm “moderate” Syrian rebels has backfired spectacularly.

We recently had the chance to interview HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, Chairman of the West Asia – North Africa (WANA) Institute. He was speaking at an event organised by Friends of Europe in Brussels, looking at the root causes of the refugee crisis. What would he say to Daniel?

We also had a comment from Irmeli, who believes that population growth is the biggest driver behind the refugee crisis. We’ve already looked at environmental issues and whether climate change might have played a part in the recent refugee crisis, but what about overpopulation? Population growth in the Middle East and North Africa has been faster than in any other region of the world for the past century. Is this sustainable?

How would HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal respond to Irmeli’s comment?

Is Western geopolitics to blame for the refugee crisis? Has population growth contributed to political instability? Or has climate change been one of the the main drivers? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions.

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – The U.S. Army


67 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. Daniel Parvanov

    Progressives believe that no matter what they do it will lead to progress in long run… so Under president Obama they destabilised middle east and africa we live the consequences

    • Vitaliy Markov

      Under Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and now Trump as well.

  2. Αναγέννηση

    If there was a established EU Defense Force , then there would be no migrant crisis in the EU created by the Turkish State Sponsored flood of the European Union with illegal immigrants, since a EU Defense Force , would create a IRON WALL in the Mediterranean , stretching from Bulgaria to Spain , while also contributing to rapidly ending the British State Sponsored Turkish Military invasion and occupation of EU member Cyprus since 1974. The current European Security and Defense Policy unit of the European Union , needs to be immediately expanded , upgraded and transformed into a all professional million personnel EU Defense Force. There is CIVIL WAR In Turkey . Turkey is a Rogue State . Turkey is a State Sponsor of ISIS Terrorism . Turkey is completely unreliable and useless to NATO . Turkey needs to be dissolved into 6-7 pieces with the establishment of a Sovereign Federation Nation State of Kurdistan , uniting the Kurdish regions of BAKUR , BASUR and ROJAVA in one Kurdish Nation State allied to NATO. President Trump is furious with both Britain and Turkey due to the British – Turkish alliance against the Americans in Cyprus since 1950 fortified by the British State Sponsored Turkish Military Invasion and Occupation of EU member Cyprus since 1974, so as to provide the British Military bases in Cyprus , a security advantage for the British Military bases in Cyprus against American efforts since 1950 in trying to expel the British Military from Cyprus so as to establish American military bases in Cyprus , which contributed into making the Bush Administration in 2003 make the American Military invade Iraq and overthrow the Saddam Hussein dictatorial Bathist Regime , on the American fear of conflict between the European Union and Turkey due to the Turkish Military occupation of EU member Cyprus from May 1 2004 when Cyprus became a member of the European Union, creating for the US and the Bush Administration , the worlds biggest foreign policy military disaster not seen since the ancient Trojan War as admitted by American Pentagon officials.

  3. Marko Martinović

    Partly, there are many factors to account for. They did not want to go to other Arabic countries that have simmilar culture. This crisis would not be that bad if refugees would not come from such opposing and violent culture and their refusal to integrate. Also EU politicians who destroyed Schengen and participated in covering refugee and migrant crimes should be charged as acomplices to those crimes and terror.

    • Iván Marsh Whateley

      Do you know how many millions of refugees hace Jordan Lebanon Egypt or even IRAK?

    • Marko Martinović

      They hve the same culture and middle east could have handled them all. Also it would be closer to them. Refugees trecked accross 10 safe countries. They could have stopped there, and be helped by EU. Shengen was broken for no reason. Now terror, assault and rape is our new normal. People are being killed for no reason. EU leadership needs to answer for this, they are accomplices and enablers of terror

  4. Jose Marcal

    Let me think… What did they leave in Lydia after the nice speeches? What is left of Iraq? What are we offering as a solution in Syria? Did I mention Egypt? Afghanistan? Right…

  5. Spiros Pythagoras

    There is no doubt…. Indians,Aboriginals, and other genuine habitats were perished by western politics.History is repeating.Only in this case we- the western citizens- are the ones will be perished…

  6. Spiros Pythagoras

    There is no doubt…. Indians,Aboriginals, and other genuine habitats were perished by western politics.History is repeating.Only in this case we- the western citizens- are the ones will be perished…

  7. Spiros Pythagoras

    There is no doubt…. Indians,Aboriginals, and other genuine habitats were perished by western politics.History is repeating.Only in this case we- the western citizens- are the ones will be perished…

  8. Christos Mouzeviris

    Partially… Middle Eastern geopolitics are the main source of trouble, but the West is engaging and meddling to promote its own interests, so we are equally to blame.

  9. Adrian Rodríguez Molina

    Anyone who says yes needs to brush up on the history of Islam and the Middle East. Of course the West has some responsibility, but blaming us for everything is, at very least, ridiculous.

    • Astrit Disha

      It is West regardless of the short glorious era of the Maori..

    • Adrian Rodríguez Molina

      As I said before, the West has some level of responsibility, but it would be naive to ignore all other factors involved. Western intervention in the Middle East and Norther Africa has in many cases been justified for the wrong reasons and w have failed to carry out our actions completely, so tyrants have been toppled (most notably Saddam, talibans in Afganistan, Gaddafi) but nations have been left in disarray, no clear direction for progress and constant fighting between sectarian groups for power. Some questions going forward should be ¿can our future interventions be successful? ¿how can we ensure success? ¿what can we do with current interventions and their failures? Looking to assign blame without offering clear solutions to present and future issues is a waste of time.

    • Adrian Rodríguez Molina

      That’s why we need to address the questions I posted… what’s done is done, we can’t just pick up and leave the Middle East, it’s not that easy. There are positive things we can do now, obviously they require political agreements that are unlikely to happen in the short term. All I’m saying is that we have a problem, but we’re not going to solve it simply by pointing fingers at who’s to blame.

    • Παυλος Χαραλαμπους

      You have a point on this, we have to clean up the mess that west and especially us created in that region even if we are not equally responsible for it but if we are really want to do something we have to take out the radicals and stay there for years if not decades it’ll they are black on their fits again. .

    • Adrian Rodríguez Molina

      Agreed, a strong and coordinated presence in areas of conflict would, in the long run, probably help stabilize. Of course it will be a long process but it would be best if we learn from past mistakes. Afganistan, Irak and Libya are, in my opinion, the best examples of what the West considered “easy” and quick operations. All three are facing militant threats as a result of a lack of coordination between coalition nations, especially relative to the aftermath of armed conflict.

  10. Franco Suarez

    Debating Europe; The answer is obvious, but the question is absurd. Of course, European vassal forces, know as, NATO are responsible for the refugee crisis and the destabilization in the Middle East. This people (REFUGEES) are coming to Europe, because we have destroyed their infrastructure, poisoned their lands, water, and air to satisfy AmeriKKKan war profiteers and psychopaths. Your question reveals the magnificent stupidity, ignorance and inhumanity in Europe; especially, by those member nations that created this misery, and have resorted to false flagged attacks and character assassination to justify and fuel hate against our victims in this KKKrusade. Better questions to ask are, who benefits from the carnage, who authorizes these war crimes in our governments, and how soon can we end those military officers and government officials careers, if not their lives.

    • Tony Muñiz

      LOL…. We can smell your anti Americanism and as well as your ignorance. You must be a leftwing bording on communism. Are you aware that the KKK was founded by democrats? And the so called Arab springs promoted by Europeans? Lybia was all EU. Yeah, the left leaning governments in the EU.

    • Franco Suarez

      I liked your previous post Tony, Colores de sangre y oro lucen en nuestra bandera, no hay oro para comprarla, ni sangre para vencerla! Orgulloso de ser Español!!! #VivaEspaña #NoALaTricolor🇪🇸️ Too bad you cannot see how your misguided, duplicit allegiance is detrimental to Spain and all of Europe. There are 360 degrees in a sphere, but there are more than 800 AmeriKKKa bases and torture chambers around the globe and inserted in NATO, some of them are aiming to fire at our heads. This is not about parties, it is about repudiating tyranny. This is about their diplomacy “Fuck the EU, fuck Europe”. Yes, I am anti-AmeriKKKan.

  11. Franco Suarez

    Debating Europe; The answer is obvious, but the question is absurd. Of course, European vassal forces, know as, NATO are responsible for the refugee crisis and the destabilization in the Middle East. This people (REFUGEES) are coming to Europe, because we have destroyed their infrastructure, poisoned their lands, water, and air to satisfy AmeriKKKan war profiteers and psychopaths. Your question reveals the magnificent stupidity, ignorance and inhumanity in Europe; especially, by the population of those member nations that created this misery, and have resorted to false flagged attacks and character assassination to justify and fuel hate against our victims in this KKKrusade. Better questions to ask are, who benefits from the carnage, who authorizes these war crimes in our governments, who is complicit in the media, and how soon can we end those war profiteers, military officers and government officials careers, if not their lives.

  12. catherine benning

    What you have to ask is, would hundreds of refugees be coming to Europe if we were not bombing the shit out of their homeland? And why are we there spending billions of our ‘Inland Revenue’ bombing their land in the first place? Anyone got a straight answer?

    However, all the refugees coming from places that are not being bombed are on an opportunist trail. And there are thousands of them. For example those pretending to be children when they are in their late thirties. Hundreds of them. Why are they not sent back to country of origin prior to entry?

    Another reason these fleeing their own land is, their relatives and friends already in Europe have told them what a scam it is. How they are fed and housed and receive legal aid so they cannot be returned no matter the level of illiteracy. How, if they arrive sick and with a myriad of complaints in their health, they cannot be returned under EU law. How our police forces have been told to keep it quiet if they appear to be terrorists as they don’t want the citizens of each state to have a reason to demand they be deported. How the same state cover up any horrific treatment this low life brigade treat our females. How mutilation of women and children is hidden from view. And, officials do this because they do not want to admit their idiotic policies of free movement is a shambles in a civilised society.

    In other words, politicians do not want to accept they are all, without one excuse, unfit for purpose.

    It is not the fault of the refugees, it is the fault of the traitors we have in our collective governments who allowed this to happen. They should be forced to resign and atone for their deceptiveness by being made penniless and homeless without the possibility of ever having a job again. And any of them that came in as refugees themselves, or, were offspring of those entering, should be returned to their family country of origin. With no chance of ever being admitted again.

    If you look into it you will find most of them build palaces in their homeland for them to return their anyway. Especially if they are Pakistani, Bangladeshi and so on. It is an eye opener.

    In the UK we have criminals in the House of Lords who are immigrants, living in social housing, fiddling expenses they take to build these palaces, yet keep the places that were built for the poor and still find they are able to remain sitting in the Lords after they have been rumbled. Astonishing abuse of tax payers largesse.

    Read all about it.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/baroness-uddin-can-return-to-lords-91385

    And the Mansion she built in her homeland.

    http://www.wow.com/wiki/Baroness_Uddin

    Of course there are list of others. this is just a soupcon. there are a few more of them we are still paying for. Laughable.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Pirvulescu Florin
      SO Germany and France don’t exist then?

    • Bódis Kata

      Leave some room for the age-old conflicts within the islamic world too.

    • Παυλος Χαραλαμπους

      Hmmm…i think we have to always to think what we can do to make better our position or at least not make it worse , i mean we always accept the U.S. policy in that region unconditionally and we are the ones at the end of the day that pay the price. To make things worse we don’t have a common strategy to deal with the problem EVEN Turkey is bulling us around. ..

  13. Bódis Kata

    The greed of the transatlantic oligarchs. They run their politicians, they run their wars and make more and more money on other people’s misery.

    • Bódis Kata

      The single most responsible is the petrodollar, I think.

  14. Wolfgang Mizelli

    aftermath of imperialism and still colonial attitudes towards african and asian regions. and profits before politics.

  15. Dagmar Ueberfeld-Lang

    Difficult to seriously question it. The West has for decades interfered in the ME for their own political and financial gain, leading with the US. What’s currently happening with Qatar and how the US is happily jumping to Saudi Arabia’s side refueling the flames against Iran is appalling.

  16. EU Reform- Proactive

    Yes! BUT- the 1,400 year old schism in the Muslim world between Sunni and Shia is the root cause of today’s oldest and bloodiest unresolved global dispute.

    No single non Muslim (Western) institution or none Muslim politicians should interfere or intervene to solve Muslim problems. It has to emerge within their leadership. Meddling in their affairs only worsened their feud and (self) destruction- resulting in a stream of refugees to non Muslim countries.

    The global Muslim communities need first to unite under ONE Muslim philosophy and ONE Muslim religious figure. Unconditionally accept peaceful coexistence with the rest of the world and end their schism- before asking others to uplift their society. They would have enough petrodollars in their own kitty.

    Better advice for HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal would be to canvass his fellow Muslim leaders to unify their faith, instead asking the productive West or East for (more) money. In the meantime their oil will remain their most valuable export & income to play hide & seek with. Not to be wasted on religious feuds, insurgencies, terrorism & destruction.

    The atheist EU need to be aware it is not just welcoming & importing Muslim refugees- (“as a pure workforce”), but also their religious schism, feuds & habits as practiced at home.

    If not made explicitly to adapt, adopt and subscribe to European values they will automatically (aggressively) choose a similar way of life as the only one known to them since generations. What will it be?

    http://www.pewforum.org/2009/10/07/mapping-the-global-muslim-population/

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-04/just-became-most-important-map-geopolitics

  17. Kialee Kajar

    Western geopolitics is definitely one reason, but not the only one. Saying that everything is fault of the West is simplifying things very much, as if countries of the Middle East would be some puppets that can be manipulated to fight against each other. Believe it or not, those countries are capable of making independent decisions. They make their own politics, pursue their own interest and make war on their own.

    As to what Irmeli said, I agree. Population growth is one reason too – it effects everything.

  18. Sandra

    Every EU country is willing to be a transit point for migrants, not the settlement point. Poland is a typical EU country in this context. Now, I’d prefer Ukrainian migrants not stay in Poland but rather go to the Scandinavian countries or Germany or other places in EU space. Frankly, I’m scary of the domestic nationalistic elements that can start a real hunt on the Ukrainian migrants. We don’t need any street squabbles and all that you know. Visa free regime with Ukraine is just madness imo.

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