Why American people are scared of Syrian refugees.


Americans want to shut the door on Syrian refugees. According to one poll, 53 percent of Americans disapprove of allowing them into the country while another 11 percent would admit only Syrians who are Christians. Most governors have said that they will not allow Syrian refugees into their states (though they have no legal authority to block them), and now Congress has gotten into the act. By a vote of 289–137, the House passed a bill that would impose substantial hurdles on further refugee settlement.

The liberal commentariat has gone berserk, accusing opponents of nativism and xenophobia. The criteria used to admit refugees are strict, so the risk that any of them will commit crimes is very low. As Alex Nowrasteh points out, almost 1 million refugees have been admitted into the United States since 2001, and none of them has successfully carried out a terrorist attack. Moreover, given the infinitesimal number of Syrian refugees to be let into the country out of the millions of people who would qualify, it would be crazy for a professional terrorist to try to enter this country by pretending to be a refugee. It would be easier to obtain a tourist visa.

Source: Why American people are scared of Syrian refugees.

Alabama, Michigan Governors Vow to Bar Syrian Refugees From Their States – By Daniel Politi NOV. 16 2015 12:08 AM


People disembark from a raft moments after arriving from Turkey on October 15, 2015 in Sikaminias, Greece. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

People disembark from a raft moments after arriving from Turkey on October 15, 2015 in Sikaminias, Greece.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley is not waiting for any kind of evidence. Just a hint of a suggestion that one of the people who unleashed terror on Paris on Friday may have entered Europe as a refugee is enough to make him take action.

“After full consideration of this weekend’s attacks of terror on innocent citizens in Paris, I will oppose any attempt to relocate Syrian refugees to Alabama through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program,” Bentley said in a statement. “I will not stand complicit to a policy that places the citizens of Alabama in harm’s way.”

Sure, no Syrian refugees have been relocated to Alabama so far, but one of the State Department’s nine domestic refugee processing centers is in Mobile and it could theoretically happen. How Bentley plans on stopping the federal government from relocating refugees in Alabama is far from clear, but he seems determined.

And he’s not alone. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder also released a statement Sunday saying that the state would no longer accept Syrian refugees until there is a full review of screening procedures. “Michigan is a welcoming state and we are proud of our rich history of immigration,” Snyder said in a statement. “But our first priority is protecting the safety of our residents.”

Earlier in the day, deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said the United States was not halting its plans to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the current fiscal year. “We have very expansive screening procedures for all Syrian refugees who have come to the United States,” Rhodes said on NBC. “There’s a very careful vetting process that includes our intelligence community, our national Counterterrorism Center, the Department of Homeland Security, so we can make sure that we’re carefully screening anybody who comes to the United States.”

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http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/11/16/alabama_michigan_governors_vow_to_bar_syrian_refugees_from_their_states.html

Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria – Vice News Published on Nov 11, 2015


VICE News filmmaker Medyan Dairieh gains exclusive access to the Syrian branch of al Qaeda, al Nusra, a jihadist group fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and the Islamic State (IS).

Spending more than a month with al Nusra and exploring their expanding territory, Dairieh meets the highest-ranking members of the organization, who reveal their identity on screen for the first time and discuss their military doctrine.

Al Nusra, which swore allegiance to al Qaeda two years ago and is now emerging as a powerful force to rival IS in Syria, has seized several strategic towns in the northwestern province of Idlib. While it supplies water, electricity, and food to the local population, a school run by al Nusra is also grooming young boys to become the next generation of al Qaeda and preparing them for jihad.

VICE News also secures exclusive access to the frontlines of the battle for Abu Al-Duhur airport in Idlib, a major airbase held by Assad’s forces, besieged by al Nusra for two years. Aided by dust storms during the attack, the airport was the last remaining government stronghold in the region. Dozens of government soldiers were subsequently executed, according to the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Watch “The Islamic State (Full Length)” – http://bit.ly/1IwDeVY

U.S. to Send Special Forces to Syria – By Adam Entous,  Gordon Lubold and  Carol E. Lee Updated Oct. 30, 2015 7:35 p.m. ET


Deployment of up to 50 commandos would be first sustained U.S. ground presence in Syria

Screen Shot 2015-10-31 at Oct 31, 2015 5.56

The Obama Administration on Friday announced the deployment of up to 50 Special Forces troops to Syria to advise on a new military campaign against ISIS. This is the first sustained U.S. ground presence in the country.

WASHINGTON—The U.S. is sending special-operations forces to northeastern Syria, a shift in strategy that establishes the first sustained American military presence in the campaign against Islamic State in the war-ravaged country.

Up to 50 U.S. special-operations troops will assist Syrian rebel units spearheading what the Pentagon says would be a new military offensive against the militant group, marking a sharp escalation in the level of direct U.S. involvement on the ground inside Syria. The American forces are to link up with local forces in Kurdish-controlled territory whose mission will be to choke off supply lines to Islamic State militants in their Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.

The move marks a change for President Barrack Obama who had long promised not to send ground forces to Syria.

“They are not being deployed with a combat mission,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. “The mission of our men and women on the ground has not changed.”

If the initial deployment bears fruit, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Friday that he would be open to deploying more forces.

“We are going to continue to innovate, to build on what works,” Mr. Carter told reporters on a military jet as it landed in Fairbanks, Alaska, for the first leg of a trip through Asia. “Our role fundamentally and the strategy is to enable local forces. But does that put U.S. forces in harm’s way? It does, no question about it.”

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http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-to-send-special-forces-to-syria-1446216062

The End of Pax Americana – By Steven Simon and Jonathan Stevenson November/December 2015 Issue


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The Obama administration has clearly pulled back from the United States’ recent interventionism in the Middle East, notwithstanding the rise of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) and the U.S.-led air war against it. Critics pin the change on the administration’s aversion to U.S. activism in the region, its unwillingness to engage in major combat operations, or President Barack Obama’s alleged ideological preference for diminished global engagement. But the reality is that Washington’s post-9/11 interventions in the region—especially the one in Iraq—were anomalous and shaped false perceptions of a “new normal” of American intervention, both at home and in the region. The administration’s unwillingness to use ground forces in Iraq or Syria constitutes not so much a withdrawal as a correction—an attempt to restore the stability that had endured for several decades thanks to American restraint, not American aggressiveness.

It’s possible to argue that pulling back is less a choice than a necessity. Some realist observers claim that in a time of economic uncertainty and cuts to the U.S. military budget, an expansive U.S. policy in the region has simply become too costly. According to that view, the United States, like the United Kingdom before it, is the victim of its own “imperial overstretch.” Others argue that U.S. policy initiatives, especially the recent negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, have distanced Washington from its traditional Middle Eastern allies; in other words, the United States isn’t pulling back so much as pushing away.

The long period of American primacy in the Middle East is ending.

In actuality, however, the main driver of the U.S. pullback is not what’s happening in Washington but what’s happening in the region. Political and economic developments in the Middle East have reduced the opportunities for effective American intervention to a vanishing point, and policymakers in Washington have been recognizing that and acting accordingly. Given this, the moderate U.S. pullback should be not reversed but rather continued, at least in the absence of a significant threat to core U.S. interests.

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https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/middle-east/2015-10-20/end-pax-americana

Caught Between the Islamic State and the Kurds: Exiled From Tal Abyad – Vice News Published on Oct 22, 2015


In June 2015, Kurdish forces — supported by the Free Syrian Army and US-led coalition airstrikes — drove out the Islamic State (IS) from the northern Syrian town of Tal Abyad — a strategically important gain in the battle against the jihadists. Yet the fighting also forced waves of refugees to cross the border into the Turkish town of Akcakale.
The advance on Tal Abyad, containing a diverse population of Arabs, Turkmen, and Kurds, provoked the Turkish government and a coalition of rebel groups to accuse Kurdish forces of “ethnic cleansing” and displacing Arabs and Turkmen — an accusation strongly denied by the Kurdish forces.

Yet allegations of forcible displacement persist among refugees, with some telling VICE News that their hometown is now under another hostile occupation, and others stating that life under IS rule was better.

Many refugees in Akcakale have had to set up camp in parks, or rent overcrowded housing. There is a lack of food and a number of children require immediate medical attention.

VICE News meets the refugees and activists of Tal Abyad, where they describe their new life in Turkey, as well as their fears for the future.

Watch “Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria (Trailer)” – http://bit.ly/1OySUxB

Exclusive Video of the Desperate Boat Crossing (Excerpt from ‘My Escape From Syria’) – Vice News Published on Oct 16, 2015


Syria’s brutal civil war has created hundreds of thousands of refugees, civilians who have been forced to leave everything behind at home and travel in search of a new life in Europe.

Ismael, 25, filmed his journey to Germany with 19-year-old Naeem, capturing the most dangerous parts of a perilous trip, including the boat crossing from Turkey to Greece where hundreds of refugees have died this year.

In this excerpt from “My Escape From Syria,” exclusive first-hand footage reveals the horror of crossing the rough Mediterranean Sea in an overcrowded inflatable boat, as refugees attempt to navigate their way to Greece in the dark.

Watch “My Escape From Syria: Europe or Die” – http://bit.ly/1LiVIJk

Inside the Battle: Al Nusra-Al Qaeda in Syria (Trailer) – Vice News Published on Oct 12, 2015


VICE News filmmaker Medyan Dairieh gains exclusive access to the Syrian branch of al Qaeda, al Nusra, a jihadist group fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and the Islamic State (IS).

Spending more than a month with al Nusra and exploring their expanding territory, Dairieh meets the highest-ranking members of the organization, who reveal their identity on screen for the first time and discuss their military doctrine.

Al Nusra, which swore allegiance to al Qaeda two years ago and is now emerging as a powerful force to rival IS in Syria, has seized several strategic towns in the northwestern province of Idlib. While it supplies water, electricity, and food to the local population, a school run by al Nusra is also grooming young boys to become the next generation of al Qaeda and preparing them for jihad.

VICE News also secures exclusive access to the frontlines of the battle for Abu Al-Duhur airport in Idlib, a major airbase held by Assad’s forces, besieged by al Nusra for two years. Aided by dust storms during the attack, the airport was the last remaining government stronghold in the region. Dozens of government soldiers were subsequently executed, according to the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Watch “The Islamic State (Full Length)” – http://bit.ly/1IwDeVY

My Escape From Syria: Europe or Die – Vice News Published on Oct 6, 2015


Syria’s brutal civil war has created hundreds of thousands of refugees, civilians who have been forced to leave everything behind at home and travel in search of a new life in Europe.

Ismail, 25, filmed his journey to Germany with 19-year-old Naeem, capturing the most dangerous parts of a perilous trip, including the boat crossing from Turkey to Greece where hundreds of refugees have died this year.

In this exclusive footage, VICE News gives an insight into a desperate trek, as Ismail and Naeem give first-hand accounts of their journey, the life they left behind, and their hopes for the future.

Watch “Libya’s Migrant Trade: Europe or Die (Full Length)” – http://bit.ly/1V943t1

Russian Airstrike in Syria Targeted CIA-Backed Rebels, U.S. Officials Say – By DION NISSENBAUM and ADAM ENTOUS in Washington, NATHAN HODGE in Moscow and SAM DAGHER in Beirut Updated Sept. 30, 2015 11:07 p.m. ET


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to the media about the situation in Syria at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, left, and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to the media about the situation in Syria at the United Nations in New York on Wednesday. Photo: andrew kelly/Reuters

Russia launched airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday, catching U.S. and Western officials off guard and drawing new condemnation as evidence suggested Moscow wasn’t targeting extremist group Islamic State, but rather other opponents of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

One of the airstrikes hit an area primarily held by rebels backed by the Central Intelligence Agency and allied spy services, U.S. officials said, catapulting the Syrian crisis to a new level of danger and uncertainty. Moscow’s entry means the world’s most powerful militaries—including the U.S., Britain and France—now are flying uncoordinated combat missions, heightening the risk of conflict in the skies over Syria.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Russia’s approach to the Syrian war—defending Mr. Assad while ostensibly targeting extremists—was tantamount to “pouring gasoline on the fire.”

“I have been dealing with them for a long time. And this is not the kind of behavior that we should expect professionally from the Russian military,” Mr. Carter said at a Pentagon news conference.

Secretary of State John Kerry met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and said he raised U.S. concerns about attacks that target regime opponents other than Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. In Syria’s multi-sided war, Mr. Assad’s military—aided by Iran and the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah—is fighting both Islamic State and opposition rebel groups, some of which are supported by the U.S. and its allies.

Speaking alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that the United States and Russia have agreed to hold a military meeting as soon as possible to avoid any direct collisions or exchanges of fire in Syria, where both the U.S. and Russia are now conducting airstrikes. Photo: AP

Mr. Kerry said the U.S. and Russia need to hold military talks as soon as possible and Mr. Lavrov said he agreed.

The U.S. and its allies were angry at the Russians on many scores: that they are supporting Mr. Assad; that they aren’t coordinating their actions with the existing, U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition; that they provided terse notice only an hour before their operations; that they demanded the U.S. coalition stay out of Syrian airspace; and that they struck in areas where anti-Assad rebels—not Islamic State—operate.

“It does appear that they were in areas where there probably were not ISIL forces, and that is precisely one of the problems with this whole approach,” said Mr. Carter, the U.S. defense chief.

U.S. officials said it was unclear if Moscow directly targeted a location held by the CIA-backed fighters in western Syria because of their association with the U.S.’s covert program to fund, arm and train the rebels.

Officials said it was also unclear if any U.S.-backed fighters were killed in the strike. A CIA spokesman declined to comment.

Russia said its initial strikes inside Syria on Wednesday were aimed at Islamic State targets. But senior U.S. officials cast doubt on those claims.

The U.S. spy agency has been arming and training rebels in Syria since 2013 to fight the Assad regime. Rebels who receive support under a separate arming and training program run by the Pentagon weren’t in areas targeted by Russia in its initial strikes, the officials said.

The combination of unpredictable, unilateral action that flouted Western exhortations posed an unmistakable resemblance to Ukraine, where Mr. Putin moved to annex the Crimea region and has defied international demands to halt its support for separatists.

 

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