What happens when 60 million refugees become state less people?

The article states: “Nearly 60 million people have been driven from their homes by war and persecution, an unprecedented global exodus that has burdened fragile countries with waves of newcomers and littered deserts and seas with the bodies of those who died trying to reach safety.”

“The new figures, released Thursday by the United Nations refugee agency, paint a staggering picture of a world where new conflicts are erupting and old ones are refusing to subside, driving up the total number of displaced people to a record 59.5 million by the end of 2014, the most recent year tallied.”

In The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas P.M. Barnett, a Senior Strategic Researcher at the U.S. Naval War College, proposes an interesting model of his interpretation of the post-9/11 world. Barnett divides the world into two primary regions; the “Functioning Core” and the “Non-Integrating Gap.” The Core is comprised of those prosperous sovereign states which have become integrated into a globalized economy. These countries typically feature a recognized government capable of enforcing the rule of law. The remaining countries of the world constitute the Gap. The nations in the Gap are typically either in a state of anarchy while factions struggle for control or under an oppressive government practicing strict cultural and economic isolationism. It is at the intersection of these two geographical regions, says Barnett, where one should expect to see future conflicts.

The problem with the refugee issue is that in the majority of the cases in Africa, India, Latin America, and Asia, the refugees that were created were due to localized conflicts.  However, the majority of the refugees who live in the “Non-Integrating Gap” which fall in the larger “Muslim world” were created due to multiple conflicts over numerous years.

As an example the Assyrian families who escaped the 1933 Simele massacre in Iraq ran into Syria and established the 37 Assyrian villages of Khabour River Valley.  On 23 FEB 15 when those villages were cleansed out by ISIS forces, the children of the 1933 Simele massacre ended up having to disperse to Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, and Iran.  The majority of the children of the fathers, who were children during the 1933 Simele massacres, are now born in refugee camps and have no state that they can call their home state.

Jordan itself is made up of 67% Palestinian refugees from the 1967 Palestinian exodus from Israel. By December 1967 245,000 refugees has fled from the West Bank and Gaza Strip into Jordan.

Today Jordan also has major issues with the current number of refugees moving into its territories. The 2015 UNHCR country operations profile summary states: “Jordan has granted Syrian refugees access to services, such as health and education, in host communities. The Syrian refugee camps of Azraq and Zaatari were built on land provided by the authorities where they also ensure security.”

“Jordan is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention. Nonetheless, the Government refers to Syrians as refugees, and the protection space is generally favourable, although fragile owing to the country’s own socio-economic challenges.”

“The overall budget for Jordan in 2015 is set at USD 404.4 million, with the largest portion devoted to the emergency response for Syrian refugees. A shortfall in funding would require the reduction of core activities for refugees with critical needs, both in camp and urban settings, such as health, CRIs, cash assistance, and protection including services for women and children.”

These people who were refugees in Jordan do not associate themselves with the state given their relationship and loyalties to Jordan were forced as conflict consumed their homelands. Jordan and other states in the “Non-Integrating Gap” and their people are becoming more stateless due to the fact that Syria and Iraq’s borders will morph from the boundary lines they are currently occupying.  If the war in the Middle East is not settled and settled decisively over the next few years, then 90% of these refugee tracked by UNHCR will become stateless and a burden on the world community economically and politically.

It is possible that Jordan will become destabilized and its government will fall over the next few years given these realities.



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