Daily Current Affairs – 4th April, 2016DEVENDRA VISHWAKARMA
Why migrants are Europe’s litmus test?
After the terror attack in Brussels on March 22 morning, two claims are being made on the European land by few of the political leaders as well as the angered public.
- The immediate association between the attacks and the migrant crisis, the argument being that the Islamic State (IS), which claimed responsibility for the attacks, was sending in armed jihadists with the vast migrant flow coming into Europe.
- The hardening of Euroscepticism and mounting criticism against the open border policy of the Schengen bloc.
Conflict over migrant policy supports jihadist project:
- The above positions are not representative of majority public or political opinion yet, but with the IS expected to step up its acts of targeted terror in Europe as a response to the reverses its forces on the ground in Syria and Iraq are facing, the misconceptions have gained considerable traction.
- The conflict over migrant policy within the countries of the European Union can only strengthen the jihadist project, as commentators have pointed out, and threaten the safety of the thousands who are fleeing from conflict and jihadist terror in West Asia and northern Africa.
Rising anti-migrant sentiment:
- The first sign of the spurt in anti-migrant and, more worryingly, anti-Muslim sentiment was the appearance of the hashtag #StopIslam which started trending on social media worldwide.
- The Polish government announced that it was suspending its commitment to take in its share of migrants, and reports of attacks against immigrants in the country and elsewhere in Europe surfaced.
- In the U.K., which is due for a referendum on June 23 to decide whether it will stay or leave the EU, the United Kingdom Independence Party, which is in the forefront of Brexit, used the Brussels attack to reiterate its anti-immigration and anti-migrant policies.
Looking into the new focus:
The new focus is on three things
- Islam in general and the conflation of 1.6 billion people with the acts of three people in Brussels.
- The worrying association of the attacks with migrants.
- Threats to the Schengen area, an alarming one.
However one important thing to be noted here if one travels freely between different countries, it doesn’t mean that he will penetrate an act of terrorism.
Right wing parties starting to gain ground in Europe :
- In Europe, where job insecurities have fed into threat perceptions on the erosion that immigration poses to national identity, right-wing xenophobic parties have gained ground.
- An incident of sexual abuse of women on New Year’s night in Cologne (Germany) by migrant youth was linked in public perception to the terror attacks, strengthening the popular belief that the EU has no effective policy to address either terrorism or migrant flows.
- In Germany, which has promised to relocate the largest number of the 1.3 million asylum applications in the EU, the liberal immigration policies of Chancellor Angela Merkel have contributed to the defeat of her party to the hard-right Alternative for Germany party in two of three regional elections held two weeks ago.
Foreign policy of western governments owes responsibility for the act:
- The big waves of recent migration into Europe are a direct response to Western foreign policy interventions in West Asia.
- The migrant surge first came from Afghanistan and Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
- This was followed by migration from conflict zones in North Africa through Libya that followed the intervention of Britain and France in Libya in 2011.
- Most recent is the migrant exodus from Syria, which began after Western intervention in that country in 2013.
- The common denominator is the foreign policy of Western governments.
- They are ultimately responsible for the appalling attacks in Brussels and Paris.