How to solve the refugee crisis

Written 20 April 2016

The refugee crisis in Europe cannot be solved unless Europe solves the Middle East. Blocking refugees at the border or forcibly repatriating refugees back to their home countries will only create more problems than it will solve. It will create more crises around Europe’s periphery (and within) and thus, as paradoxical as it sounds, create more refugee inflows. The reality is that borders are not difficult to bypass for those who want to cross them, even if you build a thirty-foot wall.  Smuggling, ladders, ropes, and tunnels can bypass borders easily and you would need to mobilize an army (very expensive) to have any chance at stopping refugees.

So instead of dealing with the symptoms of a problem, why not just deal with the problem itself? The problem is the instability of the Middle East. And the problem exists largely because of the Sykes-Picot borders that were set up after the partition of the Ottoman Empire. Including various different sects and ethnic groups into two states (and with the creation of Lebanon, three) is really just a recipe for future instability. Brutal conflicts in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq in the past three decades prove this.

Therefore, the rational solution is to split up these three states into at least six. The details of this are very complicated and by no means will it guarantee the end of all conflict. But it will mitigate some of the most violent conflict. If you were to look at the current map of the Middle East, you would see that the countries in question have already been split up along sectarian lines. Legitimizing these borders — and eliminating the terrorist groups involved — will help solve most of the armed conflicts.

So I will describe the six states that must be created in order to solve this conflict. In these descriptions, I will describe the demographic makeup and territory of these states, and whose interests these creations would serve.

Below is a very rough map of what I described:

Meanwhile, an international (preferably UN presence involving Europe, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the US) on the ground needs to be created to keep the peace. Once stability is established, refugees should be allowed to return to the state of their choosing. Bashar al-Assad should also be transitioned out of power as he has lost his legitimacy even among many Alawites. From this point on, a regional balance of power would work to secure stability in the Middle East.

Easy as pie…