Guess How Many Refugees the Rich Gulf States Have Taken In?

Article posted on September 8th, 2015 by WhatAmIMissingHere

Saudi Arabia and refugees from # 168448By Rick Moran

The refugee crisis continues to haunt the countries of the European Union as tens of thousands of desperate people try to escape war, famine, and chaos in their home countries try to reach the wealthy democracies of Europe.

Germany plans to take in 800,000 refugees this year with other EU countries being urged to take in a bigger share. But one group of nations that would, on the surface, appear to be an ideal destination for the refugees has held back giving any support to the migrants. They are rich, they are Muslim, but they have closed their doors to the crisis.

In fact, the Arab Gulf States have yet to take in a single refugee. You read that right; zero migrants taken in by the fabulously wealthy autocratic monarchies of the Persian Gulf.

Washington Post:

Some European countries have been criticized for offering sanctuary only to a small number of refugees, or for discriminating between Muslims and Christians. There’s also been a good deal of continental hand-wringing over the general dysfunction of Europe’s systems for migration and asylum.

Less ire, though, has been directed at another set of stakeholders who almost certainly should be doing more: Saudi Arabia and the wealthy Arab states along the Persian Gulf.

As Amnesty International recently pointed out, the “six Gulf countries — Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain — have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees.” 

What makes their reluctance to take in any refugees so maddening is that several of those states – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UEA – are bankrolling Islamist rebels in Syria that are the cause of this mass migration of people. 

To varying degrees, elements within Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the U.A.E. and Kuwait have invested in the Syrian conflict, playing a conspicuous role in funding and arming a constellation of rebel and Islamist factions fighting the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

None of these countries are signatories of the United Nations’ 1951 Refugee Convention, which defines what a refugee is and lays out their rights, as well as the obligations of states to safeguard them. For a Syrian to enter these countries, they would have to apply for a visa, which, in the current circumstances, is rarely granted. According to the BBC, the only Arab countries where a Syrian can travel without a visa are Algeria, Mauritania, Sudan and Yemen — hardly choice or practical destinations.

A spokesperson for UNHCR, the U.N.’s refugee agency, told Bloomberg that there are roughly 500,000 Syrians living in Saudi Arabia, though they are not classified as refugees and it’s not clear when the majority of them arrived in the country.

Like European countries, Saudi Arabia and its neighbors also have fears over new arrivals taking jobs from citizens, and may also invoke concerns about security and terrorism. But the current gulf aid outlay for Syrian refugees, which amounts to collective donations under $1 billion (the United States has given four times that sum), seems short — and is made all the more galling when you consider the vast sums Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. poured into this year’s war effort in Yemen, an intervention some consider a strategic blunder.

As Bobby Ghosh, managing editor of the news site Quartz, points out, the gulf states in theory have a far greater ability to deal with large numbers of arrivals than Syria’s more immediate and poorer neighbors, Lebanon and Jordan:

The region has the capacity to quickly build housing for the refugees. The giant construction companies that have built the gleaming towers of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Riyadh should be contracted to create shelters for the influx. Saudi Arabia has plenty of expertise at managing large numbers of arrivals: It receives an annual surge of millions of Hajj pilgrims to Mecca. There’s no reason all this knowhow can’t be put to humanitarian use.

Another factor that prevents these rich countries from taking in foreigners is that it would only add to their problems with guest workers – mostly from East Asia – who do all the work that citizens refuse to do. Almost 90% of residents in the Gulf States are imported guest workers, who work under conditions akin to slavery and who are sometimes horribly mistreated. Many of them are indentured servants, unable to leave until they fulfill their contract. Adding a couple of hundred thousand more foreigners to this incendiary mix would only exacerbate the problem.

Still, the Saudis et. al. could, at the very least, contribute a lot more cash to the effort not only in the EU, but in the region itself where the international aid commuinity just slashed food rations to a third of Syrians who have fled to neighboring Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq.

It’s the least they can do to contribute to a crisis spinning out of control.   (my emphasis)

By Rick Moran for American Thinker

By permission American Thinker

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