Thursday, December 3, 2015

Syrian Refugees

Generally, I favor more "liberal" immigration policies.

I am troubled by moving Syrian refugees into the U.S.

Some suggest that it is cruel not to welcome refugees from ISIS into the U.S.

Some worry that they are too dangerous and that some ISIS supporters might sneak in with all of those Syrians that are fleeing ISIS.

There have been questions about why so few Christian Syrians are being allowed into the U.S.

It seems to me that these concerns are fundamentally confused.

For several years now there has been a civil war in Syria between a the long standing government--a  secular dictatorship.    The dictatorship is dominated by a small Islamic sect.  

The opposition has been mostly been dominated by conservative Sunni Muslims--for decades.

Most Christians have supported the dictatorship, preferring that to Sunni rule.

The regime has committed many atrocities against their "own people."  That is, areas dominated by Sunni Muslims that oppose the regime.

That is where the refugees are coming from.

ISIS supports the Sunni Muslim majority against the regime.   So does the Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda.  

Of course, that doesn't mean that all Sunni Muslims being victimized by the regime (that is supported by many if not most Syrian Christians as the lesser of evils,) support either ISIS or Al-Queda.

But it is horribly wrongheaded to see the Syrian refugees as refugees from ISIS or Al-Queda.

They are not for the most part.   Given the longstanding political situation in Syria, they are a highly fertile recruiting ground for both groups.

(And, of course, ISIS and Al-Queda are enemies with one another and the Muslim-Brotherhood traditional opposition to the Syrian regime is rejected by both of the newer groups.)

I generally think it is a good thing to welcome victims of anti-U.S. regimes as refugees to the U.S.   But the Syrian civil war is so complicated, with anti-U.S. groups dominating all sides, I don't think that rough rule of thumb applies.


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