33 thoughts on “Honors World Regional Geography 2017 – Blog #2

  1. The Syrian civil war beginning in 2011 is a multi-sided and incredibly complex conflict between the Alwaite government and various Sunni rebel groups. The conflict was spurred initially by the Arab Spring demonstrations that protested the torture of students who had put up anti-government graffiti. These protests grew with repression to mass demonstrations, and finally, to armed rebellion. This war has displaced 4.5 million people externally and 6.5 million people internally.
    The Syrian civil war was initially focused on ideas of government and democracy, but it has since escalated to be more about identity. The groups involved include the Alwaite government which is Shiite, and the Sunni rebels. However, the rebels are split into moderate groups and extremist groups such as ISIL. Not to mention, with numerous power vacuums, the Kurds have also stepped up to claim territory in these war-ravaged areas. This conflict has diminished Syrian society, and civilians have been left struggling to find a way out.
    Only 10% of the 6.5 million internally displaced Syrian refugees actually live in Syrian refugee camps/shelters. Most Syrian refugees reside in Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan in the Levant region of MENA. So, a vast majority of Syrian refugees live in host countries, placing a great economic burden upon these governments. Because the distribution of refugees throughout the region is anything but even, countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan are facing great distress in providing these people with shelter, health care, education, and employment. Also, there is a security concern, and some camps have closed since opening due to this issue. Therefore, the Syrian refugee crisis is a huge concern that needs to be more diligently taken care of. With unequal distribution of refugees among host countries, there are great burdens placed upon countries accepting the most refugees. There is no easy solution to this crisis, but increased international support to help civilians is a good place to start.


    Click to access AU-Practicum-Fall-2015-Intelligence-Analysis-1.pdf


  2. Beginning in 2011, the Syrian Civil War has captured the attention of the entire world. What started out as a simple fight for freedom has turned into a bloody mess where the lines between the “good guys” and the “bad guys” are getting blurrier every day. One of the aspects of the civil war that has captured the attention of the West is the Syrian refugee crisis. Refugees from all over Syria are fleeing the war torn country in search of stability wherever they can find it. There has been much discussion in the US and in Europe over what to do with all of these refugees, and while all this deliberation goes on, the people of Syria continue to flee for their lives. The whole ordeal is chaotic, so I hope to provide a brief explanation that sums up what is going on with the Syrian refugees.
    As the Civil War progressed through the years, the number of Syrian refugees has continued to increase significantly. With displaced groups from war-torn countries it is always difficult to account for the total number of refugees, but Mercy Corp estimates there to be around 4.8 million Syrian refugees. To put that into perspective, that is roughly equivalent to the population Arkansas and Nebraska combined. Try to picture everyone in Arkansas and Nebraska having to leave their home and flood into the neighboring states. Most of the refugees are fleeing to neighboring countries. Turkey has taken in 2.7 million refugees, Lebanon has accepted 1 million, Jordan has around 650,000, and Iraq has taken around 220,000 refugees. While Turkey has taken in the majority of the Syrian refugees, there have been numerous reports from humanitarian groups that Turkey is mistreating them. Many are refused education and the right to work, and there have been instances where Turkish troops have shot at refugees try to get across the border. Unlike Turkey, which settles their refugees in camps, Jordan and Lebanon have tried to integrate the refugees into society. The conditions are better than in camps, but many refugee families quickly find themselves debt. Israel has made the decision to refuse almost all Syrian refugees due to security concerns, but they have made efforts to give medical treatment to refugees that seek it. There has also been significant controversy over the limited number of refugees being taken by many of the rich Gulf States: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait. These countries are primarily taking in refugees who have family that live in the country. Countries like Turkey and Lebanon are seeing significant financial strain due to the amount of refugees they have accepted, and many people believe it is not right that the rich Gulf States hardly do anything to help out.
    In the West, there has been significant debate over what to do with Syrian Refugees. Many refugees see Europe as the Promised Land, and will attempt to make the dangerous voyage across the Mediterranean to reach EU countries such as Greece and Italy. Once they reach the EU, they can move freely inside of it. A significant amount ends up in Germany because the country welcomes most asylum seekers. The United States has taken in over 10,000 Syrian Refugees along with giving billions to aid refugees abroad. Islamic terrorist attacks and the threat of economic strain have led to a backlash against Syrian refugees in the West and a rise of Nationalism.
    It is unclear what the future holds for Syria, or for the millions of people displaced by the war. There is a need for the entire global community to help out with the crisis. One can hope that the destructive civil war will end soon, and slowly the refugees can return to rebuild their home country. The Syrian people are resilient, and eventually they will restore their country to its historic and vibrant former-self.

    Mercy Corp. “Quick Facts: What You Need to Know About the Syria Crisis.” Mercy Corp International , Portland, Oregon. Published August 2013, Updated March 2017, https://www.mercycorps.org/articles/iraq-jordan-lebanon-syria-turkey/quick-facts-what-you-need-know-about-syria-crisis , Accessed 2 Oct. 2017

  3. Syria is one Middle Eastern nation currently engaged in a terrifying civil war. The war began as relatively peaceful demonstrations against the government during the Arab Spring. The demonstrators did not support President Bashar al-Assad and his regime. However, when the government began cracking down on these demonstrations, things escalated quickly and turned into an armed rebellion against Assad. Although the more moderate rebel group is calling for more democracy, the extremist rebel group, ISIS, is pushing for a fundamentalist state. Since then, over 4.8 million civilians have fled and 6.1 million more have been internally displaced. The nearly 5 million Syrians who have fled have sought refuge in neighboring nations and Europe. While for some time Europe was seen to be having a migrant crisis, countries such as Turkey and Lebanon have taken in over a million refugees. Recently, Jordan, which has taken almost 700,000 refugees has been accused of expelling refugees. The Human Rights Watch released a report calling Jordan out for deporting refugees. The report states that Jordan is sending Syrians back to Syria even though they cannot verify that the Syrians will be safe. Another nation seeing major displacement is Yemen. Yemen is also fighting a civil war. Similar to the Syrian civil war, the origins of the Yemeni war stems from the Arab Spring’s movement for more representation and democracy. President Ali Abdullah Saleh handed his power over to his deputy Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. Yemen under Hadi was devastating. There was massive unemployment, terrorist attacks, and food insecurity. Fighting broke out between the Hadi loyalist and a group of Shias and Saleh loyalist. In addition to the internal strife, Saudi Arabia has launched massive and indiscriminate airstrikes that have destroyed communities and killed thousands. Yemenis also are dealing with a widespread cholera outbreak. Because of the extreme violence, instability, and risk of contracting cholera, there have been thousands fleeing Yemen. The majority of Yemeni refugees are fleeing to East African nations. Hundreds of thousands have fled to nations like Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Somalia. These nations are close to Yemen and have similar linguistic and cultural backgrounds, so assimilation, if that is what is desired, is easier. Despite the extreme violence and insecurity in Yemen, many people from East African nations have been seeking refuge within Yemen. Historically, Yemen has been open towards asylum-seekers and refugees. People fleeing into Yemen usually do not know how dangerous the nation is. Over 270,000 refugees reside in Yemen today. However, due to the destruction of infrastructure, instability within the government, and massive food insecurity, Yemen is unable to provide total security and asylum to many that have come. East Africans are desperate though. Their vulnerability has lead to smugglers and traffickers exploiting them. People pay extortionate amounts to make a dangerous journey across seas and face the risk of sexual violence during the journey. Compared to Syria, Yemen is receiving far less media attention and most importantly relief. Syria is much larger and is seeing more refugees flee; however, the situation in Yemen is just as dire. Yemen is facing what the UN has described as “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”


  4. As the Syrian Civil War enters its sixth year and the Yemeni Civil War, countries in the region and beyond are experiencing a refugee crisis of almost unbelievable proportions, and the complications that arise from such a massive movement of peoples are far from easy to untangle.
    The majority of refugees fleeing from the Syrian Civil War stayed in the region, flooding neighboring countries like Lebanon and Jordan in the Levant and Turkey in Eurasia. By 2015, Lebanon was home to over one million refugees and asylum seekers, mostly from Syria. Public services and infrastructure were stretched thin. In response to this, the government of Lebanon requested that the UNHCR stop all new enrollments, created difficult residency requirements, and limited access to territory for refugees. Because of the strained resources in Lebanon—for both the Lebanese and Syrian populations—and the new policies of the Lebanese government, political tension in Lebanon is on the rise, and some of that hostility is directed against the refugee population, increasing considerably their vulnerability.
    In 2016, Jordan hosted over 720,000 refugees and asylum seekers, 90% from Syria, but with a significant population from Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan. The refugee caseload in Jordan is now over 10% of the pre-Syrian/Yemeni conflict population. The Government of Jordan has made significant strides to provide refugees with access to education and employment. However, the number of work permits for Syrian refugees is significantly below the number needed, and 86% of Syrians in Jordan still live under the poverty line of $98 per person per month. Additionally, freedom of movement for Syrian refugees has become more regulated lately, as evidenced by an increase in deportations to Syria and forced relocations to the Azraq refugee camp.
    On the Arab peninsula, as a result of two years of civil war in Yemen (largely forgotten on the international stage), famine, and the recent and extremely deadly outbreak of cholera in the country, the humanitarian crisis is rapidly escalating, although it is confined almost exclusively to Yemen itself. Yemen has over two million internally displaced persons and hosts over 296,000 refugees and asylum seekers, with more continuing to arrive from the Horn of Africa by sea. These refugees are trapped in Yemen due in part to its geography, as it is surrounded by sea and desert, bordering countries (Oman and Saudi Arabia) not friendly to accepting refugees. Less than 200,000 people have been able to leave Yemen for another country, with most going to Jordan. However, with the refugee crisis in Syria continuously escalating and humanitarian aid dwindling, opportunities for Yemeni refugees in Jordan are becoming scarce.
    It is clear what is needed is more humanitarian aid to the countries taking the majority of the refugees from these crises. They are not currently equipped with the proper resources necessary to ensure that these very vulnerable and increasingly large populations are provided with proper access to health care and education and adequate opportunities to hold jobs. In the case of countries in the Levant, the solution is funding for humanitarian organizations. In the case of Yemen, the solution is more complicated and would involve diplomatic negotiations to lift the blockade and ferry in humanitarian aid.


  5. Since the beginning of the Syrian Civil War in 2011 refugees have fled the unstable nation for safety in the surrounding territories. This influx of people channeled into the Levant and Saudi Peninsula raises problems for the local populations, straining their resources and elevating tensions between the immigrants and the host nations. In total, nearly 11 million refugees have left Syria. Most currently reside in refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon, with many in Saudi Arabia. In many cases, they live in camps that host poor conditions and prevent them from permanent resettlement.
    Jordan has accepted over 600,000 refugees across its borders and Lebanon has taken over 1,000,000. Research suggests that the refugee crisis is causing depletion of their resources. Problems associated with mass immigration are also starting to surface. For example, the influx of refugees is causing a change in demographics for these nations. Their growing population of young people is unsustainable in the job market and other areas for the youth to assimilate into the local environment. This is cause for concern because disenfranchised young people are more likely to become associated with violence and extremism. Jordan and Lebanon are trying to prevent the spread of violence in Syria from crossing the borders into their countries. The fear of refugees’ potential to transmit that violence and instability has caused conflict. Evidence concludes successful efforts by Jordan and Lebanon to prevent conflict and the willingness to protect refugee populations from extremist influence have resulted in refugees not becoming militarized.
    Estimates suggest Saudi Arabia has accepted between 500,000 and 2,500,000 refugees. While numbers are inexact, the government in Saudi Arabia reports favorable conditions for the refugees they have welcomed. They, along with Lebanon, claim to be educating 100,000 children in their school system. However, conditions reported at some Jordanian refugee camps are far more troubling. The government is struggling to meet the basic needs of refugees in Rukban camp across the Syria-Jordan border. Inhabitants must sacrifice necessities to trade for food. They are without running water and electricity. The shortages in supplies are reportedly due to the difficulty of climate and terrain to navigate. Even though the refugees settled might be better suited elsewhere, they feel safe from aggression that they experienced in Syria and do not want to leave their relative safety despite their suffering.
    The Syrian refugee crisis has significantly impacted the surrounding territory. While they attempt to support the survivors, border countries must also prioritize the protection of their own citizens. Their split priorities result in difficulty meeting the needs of any group. While some conditions in camps are misrepresented in the media, many refugees face difficult circumstances where they end up. The highest priority in the Levant and the Saudi peninsula is to reduce conflict and the treatment of refugees can have a significant impact on reaching this goal.


    Click to access AU-Practicum-Fall-2015-Intelligence-Analysis-1.pdf


  6. Half of the country of Syria has become displaced due to the ongoing conflicts in the regions. Over 14 million people have been driven from their homes due to the conflict, a majority of which have no place to go. And even before the war, Syria was a fragile country with almost it’s entire population in poverty. In 2010, over a third of the population was living on less than $2 a day. This means that the Syrian’s literally have nothing, and are scrambling to find a place where they at least know that they can be safe. With so many displaced and angered people, this also serves as a feasting ground for radical Islamic groups who add to the chaos. These organizations such as the Muslim brotherhood are competing to recruit these angered young people who have no other place to go. This leaves two simple options, flee or risk being killed at any moment.
    As you may of guessed a majority of the population has decided to flee, but the areas surrounding Syria were not economically or politically stable enough to take in such a large amount of refugees over such a short period of time. Lebanon has taken in the most refugees, and they have estimated that refugees have cost their country over 20 billion dollars, which is over half their country’s gross domestic product. The Levant as a whole has spent an estimated 35 billion dollars on refugees, which in turn has economically devastated the region. A bulk of these refugees are living in Jordan and Lebanon, and have been since 2012. Five years later these countries weak infrastructure and limited resources are becoming a problem, and it is becoming evident that further action needs to take place in order to be able to maintain such a large amount of refugees. Whats even more disturbing is the fact that a majority of the refugees who are in need of help are still trapped in Syria, and we are already having problems with the amount of refugees that have already successfully escaped. To make matters worse, in the Saudi Peninsula, countries such as Saudi Arabia were originally taking in some refugees and using them for work, but they are now deporting refugees because refugees were beginning to compete for jobs with local citizens. These citizens have now been booted from two homes and are again left with nowhere to go. But can we really blame these countries? They have all of a sudden been forced to take in millions of extra citizens that they weren’t expecting and were forced to find a way to make it work, with almost no help from stable, first world countries. The U.S, Europe, UK, and Germany have donated a total of 9 billion dollars to solving the refugee crisis, which won’t even pay for a third of the cost of what Lebanon has had to spend in order to take care of the millions of refugees it has taken in. In the end, these larger countries are going to have to step it up and help solve this problem.


  7. The Syrian civil war began in 2011 and has made little progress toward finding an end. Mass blood shed has risen from three groups, the Sunni, Sunni extremists, and the Alawite, all of whom are attempting to navigate religion and politics. Each group is willing to kill for their rightful claim to power. Syria is unarguably a war zone to the highest degree, and this hostile and broken environment has driven eleven million people from their home land. Of this, four million have left the country entirely.
    Half of Syria’s population has been displaced, and the majority of the refugees have fled into the surrounding countries, such as Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey. These countries have felt the strain from this massive influx of foreign population. Lebanon took in close to a million refugees, despite their own population being close to five million, and their debt-to-GDP ratio being 120 percent. Jordan, too, took in close to these numbers of displaced and desolate peoples, despite being one of the most water-scarce countries in the world. Destabilization of these states, and some neighboring ones, is becoming more likely as these countries that are accepting such high volumes of refugees come closer to reaching an economic saturation point.
    A great percentage of the refugee population are young people. This presents a unique problem in itself. More than half of the children in Lebanon are now Syrian. This high percentage of youth leads to the development of excess unemployment. This group of disaffected youth are at risk for recruitment into extremists military groups, which only fuels the original problem. The age dynamic of the countries that are hosting these young refugees risk delayed maturation of their populations, which leads to an increased risk for destabilization of their economies.
    One in three Syrians are displaced within their own country. The largest refugee camps in Syria, Yarmouk, and Damascus are in close proximity to hostile zones and have devolved into war zones themselves. This in-house civil war is forcing the civilian population to displace. However, these people are finding it increasingly difficult to leave the ruin of their country as those neighboring countries come closer to reaching their saturation point and become more selective about the entry of refugees.
    Originally, refugee agencies like UNHCR have made a decent effort to support Syrians. But as the civil war continues and strain builds, most Syrians now receive little to no support of any kind. This puts the burden entirely on refugee host countries, who also cannot sustainably support the massive numbers of the displaced.
    Destabilization seems imminent for those countries that are not economically supported by their oil profits or are not one of the gulf state. It was estimated by Jordan in 2016 that housing Syrian refugees would cost 4.2 billion dollars. Lebanon stated that housing refugees has cost their government 20 billion dollars.
    The Syrian civil war shows no sign of resolution in the near future, and the crisis for refugees and the countries that have agreed to house them will certainly only worsen until one side bends until it breaks.


    Click to access AU-Practicum-Fall-2015-Intelligence-Analysis-1.pdf

  8. In order to grasp the severity and reality of the Refugee Crisis in the Levant it is important to understand the environment that made this level of crisis possible. The first demonstration started back in March 2011 after the arrest of a 13 year old boy who was tortured and killed for anti-government graffiti. Initially the protests were for democracy and the release of political prisoners. The push for democratic reforms quickly turned into a desire to overthrow the entire Assad government in Syria. Unrest increased through the next year and armed militant groups became more involved in opposing the government. More recently the rise of ISIL has created an even more hostile situation, forcing Syrians to take refuge in other countries.
    This brings us to the crisis the Levant is experiencing as huge numbers of people are looking for refuge outside Syria. Unofficial estimates put the number of Syrian refugees in Jordan around 1.3 million, maybe more, which does not include the 30,000 refugees already living there from other countries. This huge influx has obviously created a number of issues for both the host government and its citizens. Competition for jobs has been a concern for many Jordanians, along with higher prices and public services that are stretched thin. This situation has also put a great deal of strain on relationships between the national and local governments over resources and legislation. There are also issues from the Syrians; besides being torn from their homes and lives they are not protected under any kind of domestic refugee legislation and thus are often exploited in their work place.
    Turkey hosts the largest Syrian community and has identified some of the serious issues facing the refugees and their own country in the midst of this crisis. In the past there has been a lack of communication on the legal status of those fleeing from Syria. Turkish Law does not recognize these people as refugees but instead grants them temporary protection status. Access to jobs has also proven difficult as they cannot easily obtain work permits, though Turkey is working towards promoting work and education among the Syrians there. There is now a whole generation of Syrians who have been out of school during their formative years due to the conflict and unrest in their country and their following relocations. Turkey is hoping to combat this issue but have run into a language barrier with those non-turkish speaking Syrians. Assimilating the youth who have had no stability in the wake of turmoil will likewise be a challenge to host countries.
    With over half of Syria’s population displaced, the burden has fallen heavily on surrounding countries in the Levant and the Arabian Peninsula. Unrest will undoubtedly continue heavily because of the escalating conflict and hostility among ISIL and the Syrian government. Additional conflicts regarding the Yemen Civil war orly adds to the density of the issues focused in this area. Countries will have to continue coming together to protect human rights and dignity around the world.

    SOURCES: http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/culture/the-palestinian-precedent-and-the-syrian-refugee-crisis_44193

    Click to access AU-Practicum-Fall-2015-Intelligence-Analysis-1.pdf

  9. The Syrian civil war has caused unrest throughout the middle east and has caused millions of Syrians to flee. The Syrian refugee crisis has become a hot topic in global politics. While western media has mainly focused on refugees in Europe and the United States, they haven’t spent much time on the ones in the Levant and Saudi Peninsula. These regions house millions of refugees with Lebanon and Jordan having the most. The refugees include Sunni Muslims, being persecuted by the ruling Shiites, and Christians who are persecuted by the radical Islamic groups (ISIS). The countries accepting the most refugees have experienced strained resources and increased conflict in the cities close to refugee camps.

    The city of Arsal in Lebanon provides a great example of the effects that refugees have made. Its population has tripled due to its proximity to the Syrian border. When it was a town of only 30,000 (before the Syrian refugee crisis), it already had poor infrastructure and lacked basic services. One can only imagine how strained its resources became when the 30,000 people quickly turned to 90,000. More problems arose when some refugees were thought to be joining the radical Islamic groups. These assumptions caused huge amounts of conflict between the people of Arsal and the refugees. The Lebanese government has used these assumptions to discriminate against the refugees, making their lives much more difficult. The government has also increased security around the town, screening refugees as they enter the camp to ensure they are not with the radical groups. This is just one town of hundreds that are experiencing the extreme impacts of the refugee crisis.

    The refugees have not just increased social tensions, but have also caused problems in host countries’ economies. Donor countries are simply not aiding enough and host countries are forced to pick up the slack. Rather than focusing their resources on education or healthcare, which would eventually help stimulate their economy, they must focus them on food and housing for the refugees. There are not enough jobs to accommodate the refugees meaning they must rely heavily on government aid. Some countries even have to build refugee camps with their own money rather than having aid from the UN or donor countries. This has put a strain on the economy of many countries. Water has also become a crisis in many of the countries. The Levant is already facing water shortages as water sources become more overused and scarce. Countries must, therefore, pay more for water and buy more of it to accommodate for the thousands of refugees that enter their borders.

    The solution to the refugee crisis is not as complicated as it seems. Rather than having a relatively small amount of countries accept refugees, all countries that are capable should open their borders. When the refugees are spread out, their implications are lessened and more money can be used per refugee to ensure they will be successful within the country. Less resources would be used for refugee camps and water scarcity would be less of an issue. If Lebanon, a country of four million whose economy was not great even before the refugee crisis, can house over a million refugees, then rich western countries can easily take pressure off of them buy housing thousands of refugees each. This crisis is a global one and not just the problem of a few countries. The crisis would have much less of an impact if countries would be more open to accepting refugees. With extreme vetting, terrorists would be kept out and only refugees who are genuinely seeking a better life would be admitted. The world must open its eyes to this crisis and provide help when and where it is needed.

    Arsal in the Crosshairs: The Predicament of a Small Lebanese Border Town.” Crisis Group, 24 July 2016, http://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/eastern-mediterranean/lebanon/arsal-crosshairs-predicament-small-lebanese-border-town.

    Goldhill, Olivia. “Two charts show why the Syrian refugee crisis is only going to worsen.” Quartz, Quartz, 21 Sept. 2015, qz.com/506168/two-charts-show-why-the-syrian-refugee-crisis-is-only-going-to-worsen/.

  10. For the past six years, the Syrian Civil War has ravaged throughout Syria and its neighboring countries, and has gained attention from the entire world. President of Syria Bashar al-Assad has fought off multiple opposition forces who have sought to overthrow his regime by using a variety of tactics, including attacking his own citizens which has caused millions of Syrians to flee the country, and has left the region with one of the greatest humanitarian crises in recent history.
    With estimates of over six million refugees, this conflict has resulted in one of the largest population of displaced people seen in recent years. On top of that, this is one of the most volatile regions in the world, which has caused foreign aid to be next to nothing, and in some cases, basically nonexistent. For the west, diplomatic relations with the middle east have been difficult to create, and have proven to be even more difficult to maintain. One wrong move in the region could completely sever foreign policy relations with a whole host of countries, while a move in the direction would upset all the remaining countries. None of this would be much of an issue, if these counties did not sit on one of the largest oil reserves in the world, and if these countries did not supply over half of all oil in world markets. All of this has resulted in the main issue, the concentration of over sixteen million displaced people, two thirds of whom still have no home to return to, and nowhere to go. Aside from a few hundred thousand who have been granted asylum outside of the Middle East, and parts of Northern Africa, almost all of the refugees have been housed inside the levant and Sinai Peninsula. Lack of formal foreign involvement has led to large involvements by nongovernmental organizations and the United Nations. But even with these efforts, far too little aid is being offered. Many of the neighboring nations have offered asylum, and have accepted refugees, but have declined to offer financial support, and with large numbers of refugees already living at or near the poverty line, moving to a more developed, more expensive country just simply is not an option. This has led to large numbers of refugees flocking to shelters and camps, which were intended to be temporary solutions to a problem that will ultimately need a permanent solution.
    Overall, this is an awful situation, with western aid not likely to increase, and a conflict that is becoming more and more complex, and more and more destructive, the situation does not appear to be any better in the near future. Unfortunately, this conflict does not appear to end any time in the near future, nor does it appear that any new support will be shown to any side. One can only hope that this situation can be ended soon, or that foreign powers can find a way to involve themselves in the conflict without disrupting the entire region.


  11. The Syrian Civil War has resulted in the displacement of many Syrian citizens, this large-scale movement of people has led to a refugee crisis, wherein many innocent families are struggling to find amnesty during the troubling and dangerous times at home. Many of the states directly bordering Syria have been hit severely by the influx of refugees among these are, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey; however, one cannot dismiss the effects of internal displacement as well. Displacement is at an all-time high within Syria, wherein nearly 7 million people have had to move internally as a direct result of the civil war. The situation inside of Syria is worsened by the crippling infrastructure and the various factions who are fighting against one another in this, extended, multilayered civil war. Directly outside of Syria is where one can see the highest numbers of external refugees. Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan have all allowed extensive amounts of those seeking refuge to enter their borders; however, with limited outside support, the stress which these nations have been placed under is considerable. Large refugee camps which struggle to provide the needs of their inhabitants have spread all along the borders those nations bordering Syria, these camps while providing the necessities to refugees have grown to a scale which is placing considerable stress on the countries providing them. The struggle of Syrian refugees can be further highlighted by attempts to sail across the Mediterranean Sea, to European nations like Greece and Italy. Those seeking refuge who have tried to sail to European nations have been exposed to other problems, along with the dangerous journey, which many don’t survive, many of these refugees are met a cold reception from European states and citizens. While Syria’s neighboring states in the Levant are struggling to provide for refugees due to their large numbers, many wealthy European nations have declined to allow sanctuary for minuscule amounts of refugees. The hesitation to support those seeking asylum has led to much controversy throughout the EU. As nations like Germany and Sweden hoped to find interchangeable terms for the acceptance of refugees with other countries, in order to limit the stress of refugees throughout Europe, many of the European states have refused. This has resulted in substantial amounts of refugees traveling to Germany and Sweden, along with the stressors of dealing with displaced peoples other countries such as Greece and Italy have had to deal with the landings of refugees on their shores. These refugees are typically refused and sent on their way to continue their journey to Northern European states. The lack of coordination between EU states highlights fundamental differences in European policies which have come to fruition from these stressors, and one of the most prominent victims of this lack of coordination has been the innocent people who have lost everything due to the civil war. As the nations of the Levant are being pressured by the influx of Syrian refugees, the EU should have been able to come to terms and formulate a plan to efficiently provide the necessities of life to these refugees in a well-balanced manner. Instead of placing individual nations under the stress of Syrian refugees, such as Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, and in Europe, Germany, and Sweden. Ideally, the international community should have been able to work together to guarantee asylum to those who needed it most throughout the Levant.

  12. The refugee crisis in the Levant and the Saudi Peninsula often seen as the wars pushing refugees into Europe, but this analysis ignores the refugee resettlement issue that exists within the Levant and Peninsula itself. Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Egypt and even Afghanistan have taken in some of the refugees from primarily the Syrian Civil war, but also DAESH activity in the Levant. Countries within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have significantly failed to grant asylum to refugees and have instead been absorbing them as migrant workers, severely underpaying them and denying them the rights that asylum status would grant the Syrian refugees. Now, with the Yemeni crisis worsening daily, the problem can only get worse.
    It must be noted that the GCC are giving billions of dollars toward Syrian aid and refugee resettlement, which is dearly needed. However, it does not mask the human rights abuses against migrant workers in GCC states, particularly Qatar as the nation prepares to host the 2022 World Cup. Amnesty International reports that one in four migrant workers have feared reporting health and safety concerns, in addition to migrant workers being forced to work days on end without days off and nearly four in five workers being required to pay recruitment fees.
    The few refugees allowed into GCC states have been granted special residences or partial citizenship, and granted, their lives are likely considerably better than the lives of their brothers and sisters forced into European camps.
    The little that the GCC has been doing has been overall good, but minimal. They are unlikely to expand their refugee intake, especially for Yemenis thanks to political conflict.
    The GCC has been initiating indiscriminate air shelling in Yemen against Houthi forces, displacing and killing civilians as “collateral damage.” Yet the GCC will not fund resettlement or allow Yemeni refugees into their countries. This is further complicated by the fact that Syrian refugees (among others) have been fleeing into Yemen. Yemen has a reputation for being generous and hospitable, and refugees are understandably desperate. However, the nation is gaining little aid and now facing the issue of internally displaced citizens alongside the refugees that they are already unable to adequately host. The conflict in Yemen is turning the area into a prime targeting zone for human traffickers, who focus on women and children. Work opportunities are limited and the likelihood of refugees finding work (or even being able to get into) neighboring Gulf states is slim.
    This is a problem of population and conflict, food insecurity and government inefficiency, workers rights and aid management. Every facet of the continually growing refugee crisis is connected and incredibly complex, and salvation is not to be found in Europe. Gulf States must become more responsible, but overall, conflict must end, which is easier said than done.


  13. Beginning in Tunisia in 2010 with the self-immolation of a fruit vendor in order to protest government corruption, the Arab Spring protests swept across much of North Africa and the Middle East. Such protests were sparked in Syria after the arrest and torture of fifteen young men who had spray-painted anti-regime sentiments on a school wall in the town of Deraa. The first protests were peaceful, but with backlash from the Syrian government, they grew in intensity. Eventually, the government laid siege to the city of Deraa, cutting it off from electricity and other resources for eleven days. As protests took place in various other cities, the Assad regime continued to use similar tactics, despite chastisement from the international community. As tensions grew, the situation devolved into a civil war that has proved devastating for the Syrian people.

    The bloody civil war quickly gained international attention, with multiple external states backing either side of the conflict. The United States, Turkey, and the Gulf States support rebel factions opposing the Assad regime, while Russia and Iran supported the regime. From the chaos also arose various extremist groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra, a Syrian branch of al-Qaeda, which rallied against the Assad regime. In 2013, the Islamic State emerged in Iraq. Within the span of several months, the group gained control of territory in eastern Iraq and western Syria. Interestingly, the Assad regime actually played a part in the rise of these extremist groups when they released hundreds of Islamist militants from prisons in 2011.

    As both Assad’s forces and the rebels have been known to target civilians, millions of Syrians choose to flee the violence and destruction. Of Syria’s pre-war population of twenty-two million, more than half have been displaced. Of those who choose to leave Syria, a few hundred thousand have been resettled in the Gulf states. However, it is Syria’s neighboring countries in the Levant region which have received the majority of Syrian refugees. While it is uncertain exactly how it will affect these regions, the immense influx of refugees into these countries has the potential to create several complex problems for the region.

    Lebanon and Jordan, which have accepted the largest proportion of refugees in relation to their own populations, are particularly concerned about the potential for refugees to become politically motivated. Should refugees in these countries begin to facilitate the spread of rebel networks, they could potentially destabilize their host countries. Also, the influx of refugees has changed the demographics of the countries in the Levant region, creating a “youth bulge”. Since some countries like Jordan don’t allow refugees to work, there is the concern that rampant unemployment among the young populace could lead to an increased number being recruited into rebel or extremist groups.

    Ultimately, the refugee crisis in the Levant region is largely a result of the Syrian civil war. With more than eleven million people displaced from their homes, it is the largest refugee crisis since the second world war. It is a humanitarian crisis that has captured the attention of the rest of the world, and it will likely be many years before the region is able to regain its former level of stability.


    Click to access AU-Practicum-Fall-2015-Intelligence-Analysis-1.pdf


  14. The Levant is a region in the Middle East encompassing the countries of Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Turkey. The Levant countries, along with the Saudi Peninsula, has experienced an influx of refugees, mostly from Syria, following recent Syrian developments and the onslaught of the Syrian refugee crisis.
    The Syrian refugee crisis began in 2011 with the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War. This war, fought over differing political ideologies and their threats and implications for society, has become one of the most violent wars of the 21st Century, and has caused by far the greatest refugee crisis. Since March 2011, 11 million Syrians have left their homes, possessions, and sometimes, their families behind in order to escape the violence of their home country. Those who can not flee for various different reasons are forced to stay in a war torn country, and risk their lives daily. Currently, there are around 13.5 million Syrians considered refugees in their own country, spurring a need for humanitarian work to aid Syria.
    These refugees seek asylum in almost every surrounding country, but only a few states are willing to take in refugees. Refugees who escape tumultuous and dangerous lives in Syria are often met with oppression in other Levant countries, spurring them to try to make the perilous and often harsh journey across the Mediterranean to Europe, where they still may not be offered asylum. The countries of Jordan and Lebanon have taken in many refugees, but are not always able to support and help them. On the other hand, wealthy Saudi oil nations such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are much more equipped for taking in large amounts of refugees, but have done little to alleviate the strain put on other countries who are accepting refugees.
    These Gulf countries, who claim that they are willing to take in refugees, have very stringent visa processes, which make it difficult for Syrian refugees in crisis to cross into Gulf countries, and seek a safe place. Furthermore, some Gulf states are already brimming with foreigners, which has stirred up a sense of xenophobia, and of not wanting to take in Syrian refugees.
    In the Levant and Saudi countries that do accept Syrian refugees, the circumstances once they escape Syria are not always the best. For example, many of the states’ infrastructures and education systems are not prepared for an influx of refugees, meaning that, even if they make it out of Syria, refugees could face no access to education or to jobs.
    The Arab country accepting the majority of the Syrian refugees, Lebanon, is now facing it’s own problems. Because of the influx of refugees, 1 in 5 people residing in Lebanon are now a Syrian refugee. Further, Lebanon has banned the construction of refugee camps, causing the majority of refugees to live in makeshift shelters, and to rely heavily on foreign aid efforts and organizations.
    The refugee crisis in the Levant and Saudi Peninsula stemming from the Syrian Civil War has meant that many Syrians currently do not have a safe, stable place to call home, and has driven up tensions in an already tumultuous area. Although this war and the ensuing refugee crisis has been active for 6 years, the Middle East, and the world in general, are far from solving this crisis.


  15. The Syrian Civil war, which started due to pro-democracy groups emerging and demanding an end to the oppressive and unfair practices of the Asaad regime, has caused many casualties and many more to leave their homes and hometowns in an attempt to flee the turmoil that is going on all around them. These individuals/families/groups are filing out of Syria for many different reasons, whether it be the violence and the risk involved with where they are living, the collapsed infrastructure throughout the country leading to lack of resources, or just simply to try their best to save their children, even if the parents themselves do not make it. These refugees typically make their way to the surrounding countries of Syria, such as Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and many others while deciding whether to stay in the bordering country to wait out the war and make a return when it ends, or to uproot their entire family and plant themselves elsewhere, starting completely over as citizens in a place that they are completely new to. As they arrive in these surrounding countries and are out of harm’s way (presumably), they encounter an entirely different beast that is the poor treatment and funding of refugee camps, if that is where they’ve fled to. Also, more and more countries are becoming overcrowded in their camps and are unable to provide treatment to the vast amount of civilians flooding into their countries, and with the overpopulation comes the deterioration of the living conditions and resources, which in turn can lead to fatalities which was what the Syrians left their homeland to avoid in the first place. These people leave their homes and all of their resources they have hoping to be taken care of in the next country over because they often have no other choice, and these housing countries are making their best effort to care for the newcomers, but fall short in the provision of funds and resources to these suffering people.

    More often than the camps, however, the Syrians are forced into residing in unfamiliar places and communities where they are not well accommodated for either. There may be a case where some refugees know people outside of their country to stay with who can show them the landscape of the place in which they are living, but for the most part, the refugees are forced to integrate themselves into a community or city that they know little to nothing about, having to find shelter wherever they can. They then have to find ways to make money and provide for their families, which oftentimes includes finding jobs not regulated by the government and accepting horribly low wages. Also, the language barrier between the refugees and the locals poses a huge issue for the refugees and their ability to support themselves because the lack of the ability to communicate with others typically translates to the lack of assistance due to the effort required to understand the refugees not being worth the employers’ (and local people in generals’) time. The fact of the matter is that most of these towns accept the Syrian refugees, but have little ability to completely care for all of them, which is why the Syrian Refugee Crisis is being considered the greatest humanitarian crisis since World War II. These civilians are in need of food, water, shelter, clothes, and decent funds to provide all of this, but are receiving little to none of it. Many efforts have been made by many different people and organizations to allocate funds to these people in despair, but it is being said that with all the donations and the outside help along with the internal help from governments, the Syrian refugees are only receiving approximately half of what they need to healthily sustain themselves.

    Many countries are making amendments to their refugee policies in order to benefit the people who were forced out of their home country, but this crisis is one that, at this point in time, has no foreseeable solution should the fighting in Syria continue.


  16. The refugee crisis in the Levant and the Saudi Peninsula is a major world problem that is very complex in nature and does not seem to have any simple solution to solve it. Currently, there is a large number of people who have been displaced from Syria due to a grueling civil war. SUch a large number of people have been displaced in such a short amount of time that the places that these people have migrated to do not have the resources or sometimes the willingness to care for the refugees.
    Around 13.5 million people have been officially identified by the United Nations as being a Syrian refugee. Understanding just where these 13.5 million individuals are going is important in order to comprehend the scope of the current refugee crisis. The majority of the Syrian refugees are residing in those countries that directly neighbor Syria. These countries include Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq. However, there are also a good majority of refugees that have been internally displaced within Syria itself. Also, a good number of refugees have sought refuge in countries in the European Union. The refugees have fled Syria with very little belongings and often no way to care for themselves so they rely on aid from the countries that they are hosted in. This makes it complicated because sometimes these host countries resent having to provide resources to these refugees. Also, the camps in which these refugees are hosted in are often cramped, harsh, and miserable. The largest Syrian refugee camp is Zaatari in Jordan. This camp at one time help about 83,000 people. This was almost 20,000 more than the maximum capacity if that is any indication of the cramped conditions in the camp. Recently, Zaatari has become somewhat of a city of its own. Just several days ago a solar power plant was implemented in order to provide power to the city-camp. However, there are still many problems to be looked at with Syrian refugee camps. Among one of the concerns for the conditions of these camps is the possibility that disease will spread. There have been disease scares for diseases like polio and measles. The Syrian civil war came about when the President Assad vowed to crush an anti-government uprising that called for him to step down as president. The president began ordering the military to bomb and gas his own people. Around a half a million civilians were estimated as being murdered by President Assad. These conditions within Syria itself explain why 13.5 million people would flee their homes in order to escape the government.
    The Syrian refugee crisis is one of the largest global issues in recent history because of the magnitude of the number of people who have been forced from their home country into fleeing to new countries where they may not have basic human needs met. Understanding the Syrian refugee crisis is essential in order to figure out a solution to the issue.

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